It’s hard not to notice that the predictable Indian summer of fall has waged its final battle of the season. Frost has formed on the pumpkins once or twice already, and those geraniums still blooming on the back deck? Well, even they know they are on borrowed time but, mum’s the word. So now that I have cashed in my super saver points for a free Thanksgiving turkey at the supermarket, it’s time to turn my thoughts to those heroes of November, the pilgrims. Here’s why.
Every Thanksgiving Day, I take some time to do a little reflection of my life. I quietly recall all the things for which I am grateful and then I prioritize all the things I want to do to become a better person. Now this might seem like something that is usually done on New Year’s, but I don’t think I have ever kept a New Year’s resolution for more than two days. If I had, I’d be looking a lot more like Heidi Klum instead of Corinne Wnek. So I changed ‘resolution’ to ‘reflection’, moved this exercise to Thanksgiving and this makes me feel like I have a fighting chance at change. But real change moves at a snail’s pace and that’s the problem.
If I could change one thing about myself, I would want to have more patience. Sometimes I feel like a Ferrari on a Ford lot, not that there’s anything wrong with Fords. In fact, my daughter drives one. It’s just that I’m always racing around so much and moving at warp speed through my days that, by the laws of Physics, I should have had an out of body experience by now.
If I were on the Mayflower with the pilgrims, I’d be the one whining, “Are we there yet? Are we there yet?” because for me, it’s definitely the destination, not the journey. But the pilgrims perfected the art of being patient because waiting was a way of life for them. They waited for dinner to be caught, for vegetables to grow and for clothes to be made. Modern life gives us everything instantly and sometimes that’s not even fast enough for me.
I would also like to be a more courageous risk taker, like the pilgrims. But crossing the treacherous Atlantic in a poor excuse for a boat and living mostly below deck with a hundred or more of your not so closest friends, would not appeal to me. And don’t forget that once they boarded the Mayflower, there was no guarantee that the freedom loving pilgrims would ever make it to their intended destination. Just knowing that would have made me back up slowly and say, “Maybe next time, guys”. But the pilgrims had limitless courage and could embrace risk more easily than I ever could. I guess when there is real hope and faith in a better future, risking everything for the unknown is worth it.
Although the pilgrims were foreigners to our shores, they have come to embody the American spirit of perseverance, thriftiness and hard work. They were indebted to the Indians of Massachusetts who taught them how to hunt, plant and prepare food in their rugged, new land. The freedom to practice their religion and the desire for a new way of life brought the pilgrims to America. But the Indian welcome wagon that rolled into the new colony one November day loaded with duck, pheasant, turkey, sweet pumpkins and good will, surly sealed the deal for the pilgrims, who never looked back after that first Thanksgiving Day. From them, we got our first lesson in manners: remembering to say “thank you”.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
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