Stinky is more excited than ever for Periwinkle’s arrival. He thinks he has planned a first-rate adventure for them, and is thrilled when she arrives a bit early. With the usual whoosh from the teleportation tunnel Periwinkle tumbles out into his waiting paws. After the usual whisker kisses and paw hugs, Periwinkle asks for details of their destination. Stinky refuses to tell her, grabs her paw and leads her back into the tunnel.
The First Thanksgiving
When they arrive at their destination, Periwinkle blinks several times, as it appears that they have traveled back in time a few hundred years.
“Where are we, Stinky?”
“This is what is now known as Plimoth-Patuxet, previously Plimoth Plantation. It is a replica of Plymouth Colony, the site of the first Thanksgiving in 1621,” Stinky explains.
“Wow, this is the 400th anniversary of the first Thanksgiving. That is very cool!”
“Yes, it is. It was a celebration of the Plymouth colonists first autumn harvest and took place over three days sometime between late September and mid-November,” Stinky tells Periwinkle. “Fifty-two colonists and 90 Wampanoag native Americans celebrated together.”
“This garden doesn’t look very well tended, Stinky? Is this where they grew their pumpkins and sweet potatoes and green beans?”
“Periwinkle, this is a replica from the 17th century, and the Pilgrims didn’t have any of those things to grow or eat,” Stinky tells Periwinkle.
“That doesn’t sound right. Those are traditional Thanksgiving foods. Please tell me that they at least had turkey,” replies Periwinkle.
“Maybe. Though wild turkeys are native to the area, it is just as likely that they ate ducks, geese or swans. The only first-hand account of the feast says they did eat fowl. The birds would have been stuffed with herbs, onions or nuts. They also had venison, as the Wampanoag killed five deer for the occasion. There really is no first-hand account that lists other food they might have had.”
“Interesting. So, how come we celebrate for only one day at the end of November if the first feast took place sometime between late September and mid-November and lasted for three days?” asks Periwinkle.
Stinky tells Periwinkle that the Continental Congress and several Presidents, including Washington, Lincoln and FDR were involved in proclaiming a day in November as Thanksgiving, with the first being in 1777. It was not until 1863, however, when President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving to officially fall on the last Thursday of November. That’s when the modern holiday was first celebrated nationally.
With some deviations, Lincoln’s precedent was followed annually by his successors. In 1939, Franklin D. Roosevelt departed from tradition by declaring the next to last Thursday that year as Thanksgiving Day. He did that again for two more years, but some Americans refused to honor his declaration. So, on November 26, 1941, FDR admitted his mistake and signed a bill into law making the fourth Thursday in November the official national holiday of Thanksgiving Day.
“Wow, Stinky, that certainly was a long and drawn-out process. Thanks for the history lesson, but can we look around some now?”
“Of course, I have lots of additional information, but I can walk and talk,” Stinky tells her.
Periwinkle gives Stinky an eye roll and look of exasperation, which he doesn’t see either.
“Stinky, their houses sure were shabby looking. I don’t think they had heat or A/C,” Periwinkle exclaims.
Stinky points out the chimneys to Periwinkle and tells her they heated in fireplaces with wood. Also, he tells her that temperatures are cooler here in Massachusetts, and especially were 400 years ago, and they didn’t need A/C. Not to mention, they didn’t have electricity.
Stinky then asks Periwinkle if she’d like to see a replica of a wetu. Periwinkle gives him a quizzical look, and Stinky explains that wetu is the Wampanoag’s word for house.
“Sheesh, Stinky, I don’t think I would like to live here either,” blurts out Periwinkle.
Stinky giggles before telling Periwinkle that families erected these houses at their coastal planting grounds and lived in them throughout the growing season. But when the weather turned cold, the Wampanoag returned to the protection of inland villages. Dwellings in the villages were either long (50 to 60 feet usually), multi-family residences or smaller, round wetuash (plural of wetu). He knows Periwinkle wouldn’t enjoy that.
Stinky can see that Periwinkle is getting bored and says, “I will tell you how they constructed the wetu some other time.”
“Oh thanks, Stinky, as I do not ever plan to build one of these wetu-thingies I’d prefer not to hear about it.”
Visiting the Mayflower Replica
“In that case, lets head to the Mayflower II,” Stinky replies.
“Stinky, this reminds me of the pirate ships from Meow Like a Pirate Day. But I don’t understand why it’s called the Mayflower II.”
Stinky tells Periwinkle that Mayflower II is a reproduction of the 17th-century ship Mayflower. It was built in England in 1955 and ’56. It was sailed to America in 1957, recreating the original voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. As they tour the ship, Stinky refrains from telling Periwinkle more about the ship. Instead he decides to regale her with some information he has learned about turkeys.
“Periwinkle, do you know to what extinct creature the wild turkey is related?”
Periwinkle thinks for a moment before answering with a question in her voice, “The Dodo bird?”
“You know that is not a bad guess, but the Dodo did not live in America. It is actually the T. Rex and the Velociraptor,” Stinky tells Periwinkle.
“I remember hearing that before, Stinky. I just forgot.”
“An adult wild turkey has 5,000 to 6,000 feathers, and turkeys have been around for nearly 10 million years; though, they almost went extinct twice. Also, wild turkeys can fly up to 55 miles per hour, and they sleep in trees.”
Periwinkle tells Stinky that those are all interesting facts, but that she knows something that will really surprise him. “Male turkeys are known for their gobbling sound. Female turkeys, however, cluck like a chicken, yelp when agitated or excited or purr like a cat when they are contented. Isn’t that the coolest thing, Stinky?”
“Wow, Periwinkle, I would love to hear that.”
“Me too, Stinky!”
“Periwinkle, I think I’m ready to head home and get some noms. How about you?”
“Oh, yes please. I am famished.”
Paw-in-paw the tabbies head back to the teleportation tunnel. Moments after entering, they arrive at Stinky’s house and Stinky’s mom fixes them some Fancy Feast turkey and giblets with some treats on the side. When they’re full, they visit with Stinky’s fursibs and take a nice long nap.
Finally it is time for Periwinkle to head home. The tabbies share lots of whisker kisses and paw hugs and wish each other a happy Thanksgiving. Then Periwinkle is gone in a whoosh.
The tabby turkeys are joining the Happy Tuesday blog hop at Comedy Plus.