The “First Thanksgiving at Plymouth,” as envisioned by Jennie Augusta Brownscombe…
* * * *
I posted the painting above at the end of On the first Thanksgiving – Part II, in 2014. (And an FYI: I included a footnote – featuring Dirty Harry – which asked the rhetorical question, “So, punk, do you feel like getting chastened and liberated?”)
Which had to do with pilgrimages in general.
And which seems especially appropriate, given my own recent pilgrimage to Spain and the Camino de Santiago. (See “Hola! Buen Camino!”) And incidentally, the “Santiago” in that pilgrims’ route refers to “St. James the Greater.” He in turn is the “patron saint of pilgrims and pilgrimages.” Further on, the post on St. James included this:
“In the spiritual literature of Christianity, the concept of pilgrim and pilgrimage may refer to the experience of life in the world (considered as a period of exile) or to the inner path of the spiritual aspirant from a state of wretchedness to a state of beatitude.”
I don’t know about that “state of beatitude” at the end of my Camino trip. However, I do know that I was pretty darned happy to be back in the ATL and “God’s Country.” Anyway, I ended the St. James post with this: “you could say that – in a sense – we’re all Pilgrims…”
Bear with me.
As noted,* the Pilgrims who landed at Plymouth Rock suffered greatly for their faith. 49 of the original 102 died between 1620 – when they landed – and that First Thanksgiving in 1621. Of the 18 adult women, only four survived that first winter. And they did all that just to get the hell away from “conservatives” back home!
In his book, Of Plymouth Plantation, Bradford wrote about whether they should return to England, from their stay in Holland. He noted that he and his compatriots “had the opportunity to return to their old country but instead longed for a better, heavenly country.”
Anyway, Bradford also wrote about conditions that made that decision easier:
[The “Pilgrims” in England] were hunted & persecuted on every side, so as their former afflictions were but as flea-bitings in comparison of these which now came upon them. For some were taken & clapt up in prison, others had their houses besett & watcht night and day, & hardly escaped…
There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword.
And all of which – arguably – came at the hands of conservatives. The same “conservatives” who threatened to stone Moses, who insisted the world was flat and threatened anyone who disagreed, and burned people at the stake in the form of the Spanish Inquisition…
* * * *
Of course some of the foregoing is mere hyperbole: “exaggeration as a rhetorical device… In poetry and oratory, it emphasizes, evokes strong feelings, and creates strong impressions. As a figure of speech, it is usually not meant to be taken literally.”
The problem is that today’s conservatives – in both politics and religion – have used hyperbole so long and so often that they do take it literally. They ignore the fact that “If Jesus was a Conservative, how come we’re not all Jewish?” (See The “Bizarro Rick Santorum” says.)
Which leads to this thought: It’s time for all of us to take a long pilgrimage away from our gross overuse of hyperbole – to the point where far too many people take it far too literally. Enough of “strong feelings” and “strong impressions.” Let’s all tone it down a bit.
Meanwhile, those of us who aren’t “conservative Christians” still have reason to give thanks on this holiday. Those of us who dare call such conservatives to account aren’t “hunted & persecuted on every side,” we aren’t “taken & clapt up in prison,” and we aren’t “put to death by stoning,” “sawed in two,” or “killed by the sword.” (Not yet anyway…)
* * * *
“A whole new world, A new fantastic point of view, No one to tell us no, Or where to go… Unbelievable sights, Indescribable feeling, Soaring, tumbling, freewheeling, Through an endless diamond sky…”
All of which could describe the feelings of any pilgrim setting out for any “new world.” But finding that New World necessarily entails getting the heck away from the conservatives!
But finally, to all y’all out there, liberal, conservative, and way too “moderate and nicey-nicey:”
Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!!
Or as it says in Deuteronomy 26:11, “Then you, together with the Levites and the aliens who reside among you, shall celebrate with all the bounty that the Lord your God has given to you and to your house.” But of course, the “emphasis” brings up a whole ‘nother subject entirely…
* * * *
Mayflower Pilgrims, leaving conservatives back home, looking for a “whole New Wo-o-o-orld…*”
* * * *
Note also that an asterisk in the main text indicates a statement supported by a reference detailed further in this “notes” section. Thus as to the phrase “As noted,* the Pilgrims:” This year’s post was gleaned – in reverse order – from past posts: On Thanksgiving – 2016, On Thanksgiving 2015, On the first Thanksgiving – Part I, and On the first Thanksgiving – Part II.
The caption for the map to the right of the paragraph beginning “See Pilgrims (Plymouth Colony) – Wikipedia,” is captioned: “Samuel de Champlain‘s 1605 map of Plymouth Harbor, showing Wampanoag village Patuxet, with some modern place names added for reference. The star is the approximate location of the 1620 English settlement.”