As the guests assembled and took their seats at rough-hewn plank tables, Rev. John Endicott rose to speak. A tall man, he was even more imposing in his black hat with its big silver buckle.
“We are gathered here today to thank our maker for the bounty of this, our first harvest in our new land,” he intoned. He bowed his head in prayer, enumerating the dangers and setbacks the small band had suffered since leaving England, and thanking God for delivering them safely and allowing them to raise food, with the help of lessons in corn planting from the native Americans.
After Rev. John’s prayer ended, others chimed in to express thankfulness for the good harvest of corn, the right to worship as they chose and the friendliness of the native Americans whose land they were about to steal.
“And I,” said Prudence Pennyworth, “am thankful for the doorbuster specials at Wal-Mart, Target and Best Buy. Canst thou imagine, one has a flat-screen TV for $199?”
“Truly?” asked her sister, Patience.
“Indeed, it is true, and there are many electronics on special sale. I have seen the advertisements with mine own eyes.”
“Ah, I shall have to arise early and go forth, for I know my son Jeremiah will be transported with joy by a new video game,” Patience said, helping herself to a slice of venison.
“No, thou need not even go to bed this night, for many of the stores shall fling wide their doors at midnight. If we go together, thee can cruise the aisles picking up bargains while I hold a place for us in the checkout line,” responded Prudence.
“Hold!” exclaimed George Pennyworth, Prudence’s husband. “Thou dost not need a flat screen TV. The average American home won’t even have electricity for three more centuries. How dost thee think we’re going to plug the darned thing in?”
George’s words touched off a heated exchange. Pilgrims rose from the benches to argue about whether they should participate in the great Thanksgiving Day buy-a-thon. Plates were shoved aside. Boys and girls picked up yams to start a food fight.
“These people are crazy,” One Who Walks in Light said in his own language, which none of the Pilgrims had mastered. The other native Americans nodded.
Then Priscilla Seer, respected by all for her gift of prophecy, rose to speak. She spread out her hands for calm, and waited until the babble quieted and people resumed their seats.
“There will come a time in this great land,” Priscilla said, “when we shall make nothing with our own hands, but shall buy all that we need or want from a faraway place where it can be made cheaper. When that time comes, the only way to keep the economy of our nation from plunging into a pit beyond imagining will be for each of us to go forth and stand in long lines in the cold dark, awaiting the opening of the doors to the merchandise bounty. We shall have to buy not just flat-screen TVs, but netbooks and Nintendos, smart phones and e-books. Some of these items, we may not even want. But we must buy them, to save our nation by spending it into prosperity. Some will see that there may be other ways we could keep our nation afloat. But Congress, which will be invented in the next century, will dither without cease and in the end do nothing.”
Priscilla paused, looking out over the saddened faces of her listeners. Stunned, the Pilgrims and native Americans fell silent, thinking.
Priscilla spoke just one more sentence. “But we are not there yet,” she said.
“Thanks be to God!” the chorus rose above the treetops.
© 2011 by Donna Engle