I’m from New Hampshire…and I’m really glad I live in Alabama today : seventy five degrees warm!
On Thanksgiving, I usually take a moment to think a bit about the pilgrims and the Native Americans in Massachusetts….it must have been blooody cold!
During dinner, somebody made reference to my smidgen of Iroquois blood. It surprised me because it hardly ever comes up at all down here. I only know that my Indian ancestress was my great-great-grandmother – not ever her name has come down to us. For so long, it was considered somehow shameful to be “white” and have Indian heritage……so that by the time it wasn’t seen as shameful, no one knew anything. I heard from my mother that maybe a particular great aunt might know something, but by the time I asked her about 25 years ago, she said she didn’t know anything (or perhaps did not want to tell what she knew……..).
So I am thinking about Squanto and how he taught the pilgrims to plant corn. According to Wikipedia, his name was Tisquantum and he was a Patuxet Indian – part of the Wampanoag, who were Algonquin. Algonquins being part of the Iroquois, I guess I look on him as my very distant kinsman. He didn’t get to be very old – mid-thirties at most. When he was about 13, the first English came and Tisquantum started hanging out with them and learning English. When this batch of Englishmen went back to England in a couple of years, they asked if he wanted to come along and he did, though his mother begged him not to go. He eventually came back to Plimoth Bay. Then, at about the age of 19, Tisquantum was kidnapped by another white guy (one of John Smith’s lieutenants), shipped across the Atlantic to Malaga, Spain where he and other Indians were to be sold for about 20 pounds sterling each. Some local clergy got wind of this and somehow managed to get Tisquantum and some others away….to teach them to be Christians of course. It took him five years to get home, at which point he had to go live with the pilgrims because there had been an epidemic plague in his abscence -possibly smallpox- and all of his people were dead. You can read the rest of his story here, here and here.
I have mixed feelings about this holiday, and remembering the ancestors is how I ease whatever anxieties I have. I am grateful, truly I am, but it is not pure & simple. I could go on…..but I won’t. Suffice it to say that I will ask for prayers of gratitude for all of those who went before us and whose land we live upon. If you wanna go a skosh further, try taking this quiz.
The Indian is on my mothers’ side of the family; my dad was adopted so we know loads less about his biological heritage. Nearly a year ago, I got an online deal for a cheek swab thing and I finally got around to sending it off. Once I have the results, I’ll be certain to let y’all know. I wonder if the Native American heritage is really there along with the English, Irish, Scot, Welsh, French & German. I wonder what else may be there?
Oh and I am very thankful too that my dad has not had a cigarette in ELEVEN DAYS!!!!!! This is after 50+ years of smoking. Please say prayers for him too. Just call him “Topjob” – God will know who it is.
I promise that – barring anything else major coming up to prevent it – the next post will be about KNITTING and I hope to have it up by Sunday.
I am thankful for so many things – I won’t bore you with a long list – I will say that I am thankful for the silly! Here’s a little bit:
Hugs & kisses.