Thanksgiving. A day that in the United States commemorates the feast of the Pilgrims and the Indians sitting down to a feast of thanks and giving, or so we were taught.
Thanksgiving has another meaning to many Natives. For some, it is a time of mourning, for some, it is a time of reflection, for others it is a time to gather family and feast. I personally like to use the time to feast with my family. Growing up, we always observed Thanksgiving as a feast day. We didn’t think too much about the fact it was about Pilgrims and Indians. We just ate and celebrated with one another that we had a day off from school.
In school, we were told about how Squanto saved the white people. We dressed up in paper feathers. One time we ate pumpkin pie. I didn’t know any other truth than what I was told. I went to an all-white school. I learned what they learned. I was the product of that culture. As an Indian, I wanted to be a Pilgrim more than an Indian as the Indians all died out, as we were told. They never said massacred.
When I got to high school, I learned a bit more about the true Thanksgiving. When I got to college, I REALLY, learned the depths and depravity and horror of the true Thanksgiving. I learned how the thanks the Pilgrims were giving was for the destruction and massacre of the Indians they had slaughtered, not the feast they shared as part of the harvest celebration. Those bastards gave thanks for killing the Indians.
I became conflicted about this in college. My professor always told us, “Have a happy harvest feast.” Never a Happy Thanksgiving. I started using that.
In past years, we had huge feasts, up to twenty people at times. This year, it’s just me and Patrick. I’m not sure how to cook a feast for just the two of us, but I’m gonna try. He wants dinner, so I’m not about to disappoint my firstborn.
My moms are away, Jesse is working. We are the only ones left.
I woke up today sad that it was just going to be the two of us. All week, it hadn’t really sunk in that my parents were not going to be here. In the past, Sara has not been here. She has gone to visit her family. My mom has always been here. I have never had a Thanksgiving away from my mom. This is strange. I don’t like it.
Tom and I learned to cook a turkey one time when my mom got called into work. Tom and I cooked the entire meal together, just in time for my mom to come home from work. I don’t remember if it was any good, but we figured it out.
I feel like I’m figuring it out all over again, with just the two of us, me and Patrick. Except, I’m all alone with the dogs. Patrick won’t be over until this afternoon.
I guess this is what it is to have grown children and older parents living their lives. I’m the only one who seems stuck. It still seems strange to me to be parted from my family today. I was used to one of them being gone but now three of the four are gone. It seems like they all just left me. I know they had to go. My parents are visiting relatives. Jesse is working on the mountain. I’m just sad I don’t get to see them. At least, Patrick will be my guest at my first vegetarian Harvest Feast.