My Irish Up: The real story of Thanksgiving

Mike Corrigan

Mike Corrigan

By Mike Corrigan

BN Columnist

Remember those November-time plays you performed in elementary school, the servers in paper Pilgrim’s hats, all the third graders running around like wild Indians, an early form of type-casting? Well, Thanksgiving wasn’t actually like that in 1621 — though today it is, provided you take the family out for dinner to McDonald’s.

The history you read in school is all a pack of lies. The following scenario sets straight at last the real history of the First Thanksgiving.

A small gathering hunches around two picnic tables, praying over a pile of corncobs and a roast wild turkey. John Alden has the grill going in the background. From the nearby forest, glittering eyes monitor the proceedings (no bodies, just glittering eyes, monitoring, monitoring.) A young girl runs past, rolling a small hoop with a stick.

Miles Standish: Stop frolicking, She-Devil!

Girl: Yes my lord! Throws herself on the ground and dies.

Miles Standish: That’s better.

All: Amen!

John Alden: Man, this maize is delicious!

Squanto: It tastes even better if you cook it.

John Alden: Really? We’ll have to get the recipe. Taters, please…

Squanto: Gravy?

Sir William Gravy: What?

Squanto: Not you. Sorry.

Charles Sorrie: What?

Squanto: Cursed homonyms!

Sir Joseph Gay: Now don’t start in on me!

Gravy, Sorrie and Gay leave in a huff, a small Indian cart with three wheels.

Miles Standish: So, I see you’re a diplomat. Sign this.

Squanto: Sure. Signing. What is it?

John Alden: It appears to be… fine print.

Squanto: Zaba-dee! My dream! Still signing. How many k’s in Squanto?

Miles Standish: As many as you like, my man. Grabs paper. Mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!

Now we own all the way to Oregon!

Squanto: What? But this is our land. We use it to hunt game, we move our towns around in order to rotate the crops. Someday, there’ll be casinos…

Miles Standish: Silence, heathen! Remove your bonnet. Were you brought up in a barn?

Brass band enters. Plays The Star-Spangled Banner.

Miles Standish: It’s official. We own it all now. We claim this land of Pilgrim’s pride where in due course our fathers will have died. Or someone's fathers… hmmm, that would probably be us… Anyway, here’s the deed. You signed.

Squanto: I guess I did. But… Maybe we could share?

Miles Standish: Indian giver!

To cap off the day of goodwill and thanksgiving, the Englishmen break out a bottle of brandy. Squanto, in a funk, gets absolutely hammered. Soon, weaving, he passes around his own comestibles. 

John Alden: What’s this?

Squanto: You give me alcohol, the curse of my people for the next three hundred years; returning the favor, I give you something we call to-mah-to.

Standish (taking a puff and smiling): Hmmm. You say to-mah-to, I say to-bac-co.


Mike’s story of the first Arbor Day also blows the lid off American history. Can’t wait till April!

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