Sunday, November 19, 2006
Part 1: White Trash Boat People
...The weather started getting rough,
the ship was tossed.
...If not for the courage of the fearless crew,
the Mayflower would be lost..
the Mayflower would be lost.
The history of the first Thanksgiving that we learned in school was actually a revisionist account. Even then, publishers knew that they had to "spice" up the events if they were to sell any books.
....Where should we begin? Why at the beginning, of course. First of all, they weren't pilgrims. They wouldn't be referred to as such until 300 years later, when John Wayne coined the word in one of his movies. Secondly, they didn't flee England in pursuit of freedom of worship. Indeed, they had set out on a three-hour tour to Monaco. They were gamblers and their ship was on a course beyond the 12-mile limit to international waters.
Caught in a maelstrom, the drunken Captain Standish missed the cutoff to Gibraltar and turned due West instead of North. Despite the passage of time, the crew and passengers weren't concerned, if aware at all. There was much gambling, drinking and debauchery going on below decks for them to worry about being a few thousand miles off course. Little did they know that they would soon land on the shores of a land of opportunity.
....Being legless on dry land is one thing, but on a small ship in rough seas is quite another. It didn't take them long to learn that it was not a good idea to be down ship and downwind of someone hurling over the side. The same logic held true if someone was taking a leak!
When they ultimately reached land, it wasn't a wilderness they'd found. They had run aground on a quaint piece of beachfront property. (Even sober, Standish left much to be desired as a seaman.) Overlooking the beach was a modest mansion with a large expanse of unkempt lawn. Several pink flamingos flanked a dandelion garden. Next to the structure there sat a '49 Plymouth without tires on a large rock. Yes, that was the original Plymouth Rock before it would be romanticized by historians!
....Though they couldn't read the native language at the time, they would later learn that a sign that greeted them before the lawn, read: "Sailors Keep Off The Grass."
....Their arrival had not gone unnoticed. The old man shook his head as the group disembarked from the crude little ship. "There goes the neighborhood," he muttered. "The next thing you know, the French and the Spaniards will be moving in." The last thing the New World needed was the influx of these white trash boat-people.
....After securing his house, hiding the silverware, his Kate Smith music collection and other valuables, he reluctantly greeted the wayfarers. He introduced himself as Chief Hobomok, the first of the Mohicans.
....The man whom Hobomok assumed must have been their leader, called himself Miles Long Standish. It was a strange name for a man who was barely able to stand at all! The man said to him, "You must be an Indian?"
....He grimaced at the mention of that name. "No," he answered, "they live in Cleveland."
....Just then a lovely young woman walked into the reception room. Standish was immediately smitten. The Chief introduced them to his daughter, Dances Scary Polka. Because of the language barrier and the poor job of translation by some inept linguist, it was she who would come to be known as Pocahontas. (One can only assume that they thought the name meant "her polka haunts us.")
....A brief and unconsummated courtship followed between Standish and the Indian princess. Apparently Pocahontas had invited him to the lake to watch the Indian version of submarine races. A curious passage would be discovered years later in her personal journal: Him not Miles Long!
Part 2: A Historic Gamble
....At first, Hobomok had been concerned that the strange visitors would tax their already weak economy. His fears were abated when he observed them playing Sussex Hold'em one night. He realized that just maybe these people dressed like dapper penguins would be a boon instead.
....It just so happened that in addition to being Chief of his tribe, he was also the owner, proprietor, and the CEO of the Mohican Moon Gambling Club and Emporium. (In later years the establishment would be restructured into the current Mohegan Sun Casino.)
....If the lure of gambling wasn't enough to get the boat people into his casino, it also featured live entertainment. The featured attraction was that of Pocahontas herself, performing the very erotic Moon Bath routine.
....It wasn't long before Hobomok's casino was filled virtually every night. One of the men, however, never sat down at the tables. Every night he would take the closest seat to the stage to watch the Indian Princess' act. The man who called himself John Smith and Pocahontas seemed to be attracted to each other, the Chief noted. He decided to keep a close watch on the man. He found it hard to trust a white man who used the name Smith.
....In only a couple of months, the casino had taken practically every penny from his new found customers. This was a heap of big trouble for Hobomok. The only thing worse than white trash, was white trash with no money! He would've thrown the lot of them out on their white asses, but he hadn't been made Chief for acting brashly.
....He had no recourse but to hire them so that they could earn their keep. He couldn't have them sleeping just anywhere, and that meant he would have to provide shelter for them. Using a cart from their ship, he had temporary housing hauled to a spot just on the outskirts of the Indian village. He couldn't have known, but he'd built the first trailer park.
....As it turned out, Pocahontas wasn't the only woman who could put on a show. Priscilla Mullens debuted on stage one night with a lively dance wearing only a skimpy breech cloth and some well-positioned wampum beads. She was a big hit. Of course her act caught the attention of Miles Standish. As it turned out he had made acquaintance with Priscilla's stage manager, John Alden. Barely five tall to Standish's six feet, Little John Alden was confronted by the taller man with a request to be fixed up with the woman. Having been rejected once by Pocahontas, he'd decided to use a go-between.
....Priscilla agreed to meet Alden's friend and after her performance, she went to a quiet wooded spot to meet him. She was taking part in the America's first recorded blind date.
....(The historians almost got this part right.) After about ten minutes of groping each other in the dark, Priscilla rejected Miles' advancements saying to him, "You sir, are not miles long!" Later there was that fateful moment with Alden, "Speak for yourself, John Alden." In the same wooded spot, Priscilla accepted the advancements of Alden. You see, Little John Alden wasn't so little after all. Eventually they would marry and live a happy life together. As for Standish, he had his name legally changed, dropping the middle name.
Part 3: They Gave Us The Bird!
The peaceful existence between the Indians and the whites was soon brought to a test. Inexplicably, Pocahontas had put on some considerable weight. Hobomok's wife, Swings Heavy Skillet went through the roof of their teepee. The Chief had gotten too many bumps on the noggin in the past to ignore his wife. He'd been right all along in not trusting a white man named Smith!
....So it came to pass that with a band of his braves, he captured John Smith. Unlike the courts of the future, he was adjudicated guilty the same night. He was sentenced to be put to death by clubbing.
....In the nick of time, Pocahontas threw her herself across Smith's body to prevent the club from striking his head. She pleaded for his life and admitted that Smith was not the father of her baby. She told them that Smith didn't love her anyway. She told her father that Smith had a thing for the braves, especially young Hung Like Pony.
....Outraged, and seeing his wife standing nearby with skillet in hand, he released Smith and then demanded the name of the father! Pocahontas stood and motioned for another white man to step forth. It was John Rolfe. Still one unhappy warrior, Hobomok grabbed his daughter's pet turkey by the neck and threatened to chop off it's head.
...."Hobomok tired of eating crow. Tonight Hobomok eat turkey!" He looked at Rolfe and Pocahontas. "Give me a reason not to eat this bird."
...."John Rolfe and I will get married if you spare my bird," she cried. "Right, John?" She noticed that Rolfe wasn't showing the same enthusiasm as she. She kicked him in the shin and said again, "Right, John?"
...."Sure thing, toots," he answered quickly with a yelp. (Though not recorded in the annals of history, Rolfe was probably one of the first chauvinists.)
...."All is good," said Hobomok with a smile of accomplishment. "Soon it will be time for the fall harvest. We will have a large feast to celebrate the wedding of my daughter and the arrival of my first grandchild." He looked around at all the happy faces, but he could only shake his head when he saw Smith and the young brave holding hands at the back of the crowd.
....It's not known if that feast was actually held on the third Thursday of November, but it is more important to know how and why it occurred in the first place. Don't you find it interesting to know that the first Thanksgiving was actually a combined Buck & Squaw wedding and baby shower?
....After the huge feast, Pocahontas went looking for her pet turkey, but she would never find it. For the remaining days of her life she would think that it had just run away.
....As for Chief Hobomok, let's just say that he did not eat crow that day!
Revisionist history be damned! I prefer my history to be told as it really happened. Don't you?