The year: 1987
The location: Grandma and Grandpa Mac’s house, Nevada City, CA
The holiday: Thanksgiving
The “why” of it all: cruel and unusual punishment. Belly-aching laughter for the grown-ups who just sat there with their glasses of vino, soaking up the moment. Because the internet didn’t exist yet. Your choice.
The victims: all eight of the poor, precious little cousins.
Maybe it’s just me, but when I was little, even though I knew my family was a little, well, creative, I just though we were perfectly normal – and the things that we did [or in this case, were made to do] were perfectly normal as well. So, as an eight-year-old, when I was told that I wasn’t allowed to eat Thanksgiving dinner until a re-creation of the Pilgrims and Indians was performed, I rallied. What, no mashed potatoes and gravy? (I’d scream the same thing today). And as eldest female cousin, it was important that I ensure that no cousin be left behind for want of food. Thus, play practice began.
I recall the following:
*Being divided into the two camps of Pilgrims and Indians – I do remember leading a rather warlike chant, but this could also be a memory of 2nd grade P.E. tag, and really, I was just left to the wash.
*No wait, the washing was left to the four-year-old cousins, Aleah and Meghan, who pretended to scrub the laundry on the Mayflower, of course.
*The rest of the Pilgrim cousins all crowded onto said boat [aka: grandma and grandpa’s couch] for their grand entrance into America: “And the waves splashed! And the ocean roared! And ahoy! The white man had reached land!”
*With newspaper fisherman hats, the pilgrims greeted we peaceful and loving Indians (who too got to don costumes made out of grocery bags – paper, not plastic, of course). “Come, let us all eat a meal together!” That was probably said by my oldest cousin Cameron, since, as a 4th grader, he was best at memorizing and delivering long, laborious lines like that.
*Meanwhile, the baby*, cried in the bow of the ship. Feed the baby! Feed the baby! “We’re all hungry – let’s eat!”
And thus, the Thanksgiving dinner commenced, and we all ate happily ever after.
James, Mr. Darcy and I are heading back to Nevada City on Thursday morning – are we going to be made to recreate the near-Mayflower disaster? …or will it be left up to the new generation of cousins? [Insert evil laugh here] One can always dream.
Happy Thanksgiving, folks!
*Nat is now 24 years old, I do believe – and I, by the way, am not in the third grade anymore.