Thursday, November 29, 2012

We Gather Together: The Frugal and the Spendthrift

It's hard to talk about the upcoming holiday with out a discussion about food. I can wax nostalgic over Thanksgivings past and all of the traditional meals: Dad's first rate gravy and Deb's excellent pie crust.  I have reached a point in my life when I can even distance myself from the disturbing memories of the post turkey family drinking. Yep, hardly remember it at all. Oh, those were the days! We were innocent and spoiled by the idea that good times would just never, ever end. Anaheim in the 60's? Just the epicenter of California dreaming Suburbia. We had Disneyland in the backyard and everything was new and bright. Thanksgiving was truly a holiday to thank God for our blessings!

I recall a poster from my 3rd grade classroom titled "First Thanksgiving",  an inspirational depiction of tidy, freshly pressed, robustly healthy Pilgrims reverently bent over with hands clasped in prayer.  A large golden turkey sat at the center and ears of multi-colored corn were piled high. At this bountiful table were the happy Native Americans, squeaky clean and modestly dressed, with their hands held up flatly, as if to say "How".

"How" indeed did it morph from this 'feel good' pot luck into a reign of brutality?' How' are we to forget the introduction of sweeping plagues and a geographical disenfranchise that nearly extinguished these people from the planet? Maybe my gloom is just good old fashioned White American guilt. Years later in my life I heard about the Trail Of Tears and the California Mission system. Today's teachers who try to put together a history lesson must get sort of confused, sort of, I don't know, evasive when it comes to giant chunks of the American story. Chipping away the veneer to expose the real story has got to be exhausting.... given the pay scale, probably not worth it.

Just try to recall that history has a way of repeating itself, Pale Face! Try not to notice that all of our wampum is coming from China, cuz while we accumulate our trinkets, we want to retain our innocence by distorting the story in a way that will always keep us the good guy/winner. Simply not noticing that the land underneath us is being yanked away doesn't make it any less real. And how! 

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