The First Thanksgiving
On the Air
It's the Yard Yeti Radio Show...
"Tick tock goes the clock...time won't stand still...but we can...let's catch up. (my signature opening line)
It's Yard Yeti Time!
Cue the Noon Whistle!
Greetings friends and neighbors from across the globe. It's me, your favorite Yard Yeti, welcoming you from my studio upstairs above Ace Plumbing with my window on Main Street, where I can see the world from Coast-To-Coast and as far as the Flickering Flame can flicker.
I am on my own this Thanksgiving Eve...as my pet parakeet Pepper is in hiding. On a secret assignment, or so he told me before he flitted out the window, a mashed fedora pulled down over his brow and the belt to his London Fog trench coat cinched tight. Secret Agently accessorized in wrap around designer sunglasses.
Sometimes, as with all good, treasured and feathered friends, it is important to provide cover. To come up with an alibi. A realistic excuse. A note from mother...Pepper will not be in today as he is under the weather. I do this for Pepper because I know he would do the same for me.
On second thought, considering his closing remarks, taunting me just as I opened the program and had to hit the Bleep button for the ten second delay, let's just say his language was extremely salty and FOWL and could get my radio license revoked.
So I will tattle.
It is my job.
Pepper hangs out with a feathered friend. Let's just call him Tom, to protect his identity. Tom has been known to hang out with his buddies under my back porch in the middle of the night about this time of year.
Gobble. Gobble. Gobble.
So here we all are, the Yard Yetis and I, prepping for the special Top Chef Edition of the Pre-Thanksgiving Program. The aroma of pumpkin pie wafting through the air. Pepper and Tom, sleeves rolled up, aprons on, chopping veggies and whipping cream into a frenzy...
the door opens...
It's Yard Yeti Extraordinaire...
Rampaging, raucous, ravishing, regal, robust, rowdy and ruthless... Raquel clutching a stainless steel roasting pan in one hand and a turkey baster in the other.
Tom swoons mid-gob.
The birds take flight.
Pepper and Tom exit the building just as Raquel preheats the oven to 450 degrees and breaks out the melted butter.
Raquel Rhododendron. A Yard Yeti one woman army. Not one to retreat, to back down. Rather, a leader. A loud and pushy broad of a woman. On the forefront of women's issues, she may not be listed in the Women's Movement Annals...but the truth is Raquel was the first Yeti to burn her bra and stood at the head of the line leading for the rights of women everywhere. It was quite an inferno, as I recall, as she is a Double D, buxom beauty.
Her headpiece makes her tower almost a foot over all the other Yetis. She is formidable and bold. Raquel believes in the right of women across the globe to stand tall, to make their own choices, to give peace a chance, and to fight for freedom when oppressed. She is a believer in the magnificence and dignity of each and every female on the planet. It is not her style to wait her turn, to follow close behind, nor bend to another's will.
Raquel is a flamboyant flaming redhead with a fierce focus on the right of every woman to be seen and to be heard.
It is, however, occasionally, a bit difficult to get a word in edgewise when Raquel is raging.
Thus...the argument ensued.
Originally, I planned to bring in the Yetis for a Thanksgiving cook-off. My studio is littered with piles of favorite recipes for pecan pie, sage stuffing, orange and crushed cranberry salad, marshmallow and cream mashed sweet potatoes. We even had the cutest Yard Yeti aprons made with little yellow wellies printed on the front and matching oven mitts.
A traditional Thanksgiving with all the traditional fixings.
Instead, Raquel, realizing what she had done, threw hot water on all our plans. Literally. She stuck out her chest, her formidable chest, and cried foul.
...Thus in fowl solidarity and in a bit of a foul mood, the Yard Yetis agreed to celebrate...
...a politically correct and historically accurate Thanksgiving Feast....
...however, with Raquel in charge, this will be a somewhat hysterically correct version...
Raquel is a woman who always gets her way or she will get up in yours.
We honor the Native American Yard Yetis, the Women of the Wampanoag Tribe, for the warm welcome on the shores of Plymouth. Sisters in the Sisterhood of the Garden. Celebrating the bounty of the Earth is not just a custom of the Americas, but a recognized ritual around the world by those ever grateful for the second helpings of the harvest.
In fact, maize, beans and squash are called the Three Sisters.
Do not think for a minute that these women were relegated to setting the table and doing the dishes.
The Wampanoag Women and the Pilgrim Women stood shoulder to shoulder giving thanks.
No silverware. No cookies, cakes or pies.
No fancy ovens.
Food for the soul.
Here's where I put my foot down.
I've heard the folklore.
About what truly happened on that day.
It might not have been in November, but it was cold outside.
There might have been venison instead of turkey. Plums, grapes and dried fruit instead of pie.
It might even be true that they didn't even pass the food around, that the social pecking order determined your place at the table, and those on the lower rung of the social ladder ended up with the stewed pumpkin at the end of their elbows.
This is what I do know.
It was a celebration.
A giving of thanks.
A joining of hands.
Heads bowed or faces turned to the sky, in each and every heart, the simple and eloquent words of grace.
And so dear Yard Yetis across the pond, across the lake, beyond the river and across the seas.
Thanksgiving is not just an American tradition.
It is not a new idea or a badly worn tale.
Thanksgiving for the bounty of harvest, the celebration of the seasons, the endless effort from seed to table, the spirit of gathering, is in us all.
We gather together to ask for a blessing.
As I sign off, your secrets safe with me, except for the ones I posted on the Internet,
I wish you all...
Happy Thanksgiving from the Yard Yeti Women, Raquel Rhododendron, Wanda Wisteria, Ida Impatiens and so many many more....
and from Tom and Pepper in their secret location...
...the sound of a distant gobble and the clink of glasses...
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