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Thursday, 24 November 2011


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The Pilgrims called themselves Separatists, and the "Indians" called themselves Wampanoag, People of the East.

The Europeans? These people were English. If you think about it, Thanksgiving -- despite its American connotation -- is an English innovation.

I am English and celebrating my eleventh Thanksgiving since moving to the USA.

Happy Thanksgiving to you as well. Being a Yankee who spent most of his years in Southeastern Massachusetts and knows the town of Plymouth like the back of my hand I got a kick out a preserved story I read at Plymouth Plantation.

Seems the woman were quite upset because the original native men often wore no clothes at all. Even in the winter they would cover their bodies with a thick animal based grease that would help insulate them from the cold and allow them to still walk around around naked. To the bundled up puritan types these so called heathens were a major shock.

How much holidays do you get for it?

It's a sweet day. Much to give thanks for. One of those things is TOP. Enjoy the day. Come back soon.

One of the things I'm thankful for is reading your blog. Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

"How much holidays do you get for it?"

Lazy Aussie,
Two days for most people--Thursday (Thanksgiving is always on the fourth Thursday in November) and Friday. Some people get Wednesday off too.

Friday is now known as "Black Friday," a heavy Christmas shopping day because everyone is off work and looking for something to do. It's a relatively recent term. The myth is that it's the heaviest shopping day of the year; that's not true, but it does usually rank in the top ten. This year there's a sort of desperate or hysterical tinge to all the Black Friday advertisements and sales--it's as if most retailers expect Black Friday to magically deliver them into prosperity. Maybe it should be called Black Magic Friday.

Me, what I want for Christmas is a shiny penny for every time someone uses the term "Black Friday." I'd be rich, and retire to Hawaii.


Happy Thanksgiving from the land of Massasoit (today Barrington Rhode Island).

Being a history buff, I love reading historical facts. Did the Indians and the Pilgrims eat Turkey too or this a modern phenomenon?

Happy Thanksgiving Mike and to all the TOP US readers.

Enjoy the break.

"Did the Indians and the Pilgrims eat Turkey too or this a modern phenomenon?"

They most likely did. My six-times great grandfather William Bradford, who wrote down almost everything that happened, neglected to record the menu of the First Thanksgiving. But we can reconstruct the likely menu from accounts of several similar feasts. I can't give you all the details from memory, but it's very likely that the main protein source for most of the celebrants was "pasty venison," a pie or stew of deer meat. Wild turkeys were a canny and elusive prey, very difficult to hunt for both the native Americans and the settlers. There was probably turkey served at Thanksgiving, but it would have been scarce and a delicacy, probably reserved for the attendees of the highest status. I believe that at the feast to celebrate William Bradford's wedding to his second wife Alice Southworth (his first wife, Dorothy, either fell from the deck of the Mayflower into the sea or committed suicide on the journey), there were only two turkeys served. Not everyone would have gotten some.


Mike I work in retail and Black Friday is a dreaded time of year. I worked late last night setting up and get go back to work at 4:30 in the AM on Friday. My Thanksgiving is about this long. (short distance between my thumb and pointer) Greedy hoarders will grab all the good stuff in the first hour and I'll spend my time after that explaining to angry folks why they can't have the featured items. Now if they would only let me photograph documentary style the goings on it would make the whole experience more enjoyable.

And a Happy Thanksgiving to you, too, turkey.

I toast two wonders this year; Mike Johnston's TOP and EZ Pass.

Sadly, due to prevailing internet memes I scanned the picture in your post several times looking for the pepper spray guy before realizing this was just a regular post...

(happy thankgiving)



I have long been fascinated by the fact that you are a direct descendent of William Bradford, the Governor of the original Plymouth settlers. Makes me wonder what part you got to play when you were a kid in the inevitable Thanksgiving story re-enactment play performed every year at elementary schools at this time. You must have played a settler from the Mayflower. I always tried to play a native American myself (we, of course, called them "Indians" back in the politically incorrect late 50's and early 60's).

In honor of your distinguished lineage, I have asked PayPal to render my TOP subscription payments to you in Wampum from now on. I trust this is OK?

Happy Thanksgiving to you and Z!


a happy thanksgiving to ya


Nice history lesson. I wonder if they used rangefinder cameras to document the event. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.


Happy Thanksgiving, Mike (and everyone). Thank you for TOP.

Mike, with the greatest possible respect for your intrepid ancestor, Mr. Bradford, may I recommend the following as curative viewing for that fantasy of a painting?


A pleasure to see a classic American painting this week without a pepper-spraying cop.

I am truly grateful for TOP and the fine writing of Nathaniel Philbrick! I am reading his book "Away Off Shore" right now and consider "In The Heart Of The Sea" one of the best books I have ever read. Why am I not surprised you enjoy his writing as well? Happy Thanksgiving Mike!

Happy thanksgiving Mike and ctein et al, and thanks for providing this wonderful TOP pages.

Hi Calvininjax,
don't we have here that good old splendid isolation again? Happily we here 'on the continent' provided a safe haven to the Pilgrim Fathers from 1609 till 1620, when religious persecution made it impossible for them to stay in Albion.

Here's an article on the origins of Black Friday saying that “the name's origins (the accepted story is that the one-day shopping blowout puts stores ‘in the black’ profit-wise for the year) aren't what most people think.”

I see I'm not the only one who immediately checked around the painting for the cop with the pepper spray!

eh by gum, I like the chair...

I love Thanksgiving. It's the least dysfunctional holiday of the year. It's great to hear people refer to a "dried out old bird" and not be talking about me.

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