As time hurtles onward and our lives become more compressed with each passing year, certain undeniable truths begin to arise within ourselves about ourselves as individuals and as a society -- particularly around the holidays. In this Age of Information, we have greater access to data, facts, figures and historical timelines. However, if we do our searches with proper key words in full bandwidth at lightning speed, we run the risk of stripping away our most comfortable lifelong assumptions perhaps too quickly for the community psyche to assimilate.
Case in point: the origin of Thanksgiving Day. Real history dictates there was far less romance, much more bloodshed, and plenty of alcohol.
Some might say this is still well represented at our family gatherings.
But that’s not the issue.
Last year, I watched my five year old son’s kindergarten class put on a play about the first Thanksgiving. There were no massacres of the natives, no hangings, no murderous double-dealings, no chains of slavery. Just children in construction paper pilgrim hats welcoming other children in construction paper feather headdress. They shared saltines and jelly beans and at the end of the play, they all coupled up and danced The Turkey Tango.
To the children, this interpretation of the story had meaning. It was a lesson in everybody getting along.
Thank goodness they chose not to represent Thanksgiving as it really was in the 17th century.
So perhaps we need to view Thanksgiving as a promise renewed every year. Not to candy coat atrocities against native peoples with an annual buffet, but as a promise to continue to try to work together and to get along as best we can.
And then we can all dance The Turkey Tango together.