Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, November 20, 2021

MVNews this week:  Page B:4


 Mountain Views News Saturday, November 20, 2021 


Thanksgiving has 
always been my 
favorite holiday of 
the year. Even moresothan Christmas. 
It is our uniquely 
American holiday 
where the family 
gathers, where we 
remember our roots, 
we share a meal, and 
we give thanks.

But look how 
quickly such simpleand profound 
holidays getperverted. Today, we hardly know what “givingthanks” even means, and so the act of givingthanks is lost on most of us. Newscasters talk 
about “turkey day,” as if all there was to theday was eating turkey. Interestingly, most folkswould not know whether or not they were eatingturkey, or eating crow, and most of the time we’redoing the latter, figuratively speaking. Then,
when we have barely taken the time to considerthe notion of “giving thanks,” we get up earlyon the following “black Friday” to rush aroundwith the mobs “looking for a good deal” to helpus celebrate the consumer-driven commercial 
craze into which we’ve morphed “Christmas.”

Wow! How did we get here? What can we doabout it? Let’s take a moment to look at the roots 
of Thanksgiving.

In the history of North America, we are toldthat the first historic Thanksgiving Day was inOctober of 1621. After a successful harvest that 
year at the Plymouth colony, there was about 
a week of celebrations. The local Indians and 
the colonists joined together, with the Indiansgenerally showing the colonists (mostly cityfolks) how to hunt for the meal which consistedof fowl, deer, duck, goose, and fish. Corn bread, 
wild greens, plums, leeks, and many othervegetables (wild and domestic) were sharedin this celebration. Interestingly, there is noevidence that wild turkey or wild cranberries(totally unpalatable without cooking and addingsweeteners) were part of the menu.

In fact, some historians question whether ornot there were any religious overtones at all onthis “first Thanksgiving,” citing such evidenceas the archery and firearms games, and therunning and jumping competitions, which theysay would never be done at religious ceremoniesby the Puritans.

Some say that the “first Thanksgiving” wasjust another Harvest Festival.

What then is it, if anything, that sets the 
American (and the Canadian) Thanksgivingcelebration apart from any of the other myriadof Harvest Festivals? 

The pilgrims experienced a severe droughtin the summer of 1623. That season, they weretotally dependent on wild game and wild plants,
and owed their survival largely to the English-
speaking Indian Squanto. In their lack, theyrefocussed upon their real purpose for comingto this new land. They sought to establish a timeto give thanks for their spiritual bounty, in spiteof the fact that they had no material bounty that 

A harvest festival implies revelry and fun 
because of the material bounty; by contrast, 
a day of thanks is intended to remind us that 
there is more to life than the physical bodies andmaterial food. The day of thanks is set apart sothat we do not lose sight of our spiritual heritage,
which is the real bounty.

Both Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July are 

THANKSGIVING -Revisited from 2014 

the times that Americans have traditionally setaside to reflect upon the concepts of “freedom”
and “giving thanks.” The purpose of such 
special times of reflection is to see how well wehave done during the past year, and determinewhat corrections we should make if we find that 
we are veering away from our chosen path. Itshould not be a time of merely “having fun.”

As long as we confuse “giving thanks” with“eating a lot of really good food,” the practicaleffect is that Thanksgiving today is little morethan a Harvest Festival. “Giving Thanks” is aparticular attitude which accompanies specificactions. Perhaps sharing our bounty with the 
needy would be a better Thanksgiving activitythan eating large volumes of food. More to thepoint, perhaps we should use Thanksgiving togive thanks where it is due -- to the American 
Indians who have become the “forgotten 
minorities.” Rather than “eat a lot,” perhaps we 
could send blankets, food, or money to any ofthe American Indian families or nations who 
today live in Third World conditions.
To me, the essence of Thanksgiving was thecoming together of two cultures, trying to worktogether under trying circumstances. Yes, theyshared a meal. Food sustains us. But it was not 
about food, per se. They practiced with their 
bows and guns, a sign of mutual preparedness.
And in their own ways, they “prayed to God,” inthe ways that were appropriate to each culture.
By the way, much has been said about the term“Indian,” supposedly because Columbus thoughthe was in India when in fact he never got beyondthe Carribean islands. But not everyone agreeswith that linguistic conclusion. For one, Indiawas not called “Indian” in the late 1400s. Some 
have suggested that it was the phrase “en Dios”
(with God) that Columbus used to describe howthe native, who lived simply and were perceivedto be “close to God,” was the actual root of the 
term “Indians.” It is still debated. 

There is much to be thankful for on 
Thanksgiving, whether we give thanks to friendsand family, thanks to God, and thanks for ourrelative bounty.

But we really should not forget our national 
roots. Don’t just give lip-service thanks to theNative Americans whose land was taken. Rather, 
find those organizations that are actuallyproviding real assistance to Native Americansin poverty, such as many of those living in thethird world conditions so prevalent on today’sreservations. (IF you have trouble locating suchorganizations, contact me and I will make somesuggestions). 

[Nyerges is the author of “How to SurviveAnywhere,” “Foraging California,” “Self-
Sufficient Home” and other books. He leads 
courses in the native uses of plants. He can bereached at Box 41834, Eagle Rock, CA 90041,] 

Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285Email: Website: 


Do take another look at this 
very handsome boy. Doesn’t 
he look dis-tinguished with 
his gray coat and white shirt! 
Felix is a gray (blue) & white 
shorthair, age 3. 

This handsome boy was treated very poorly, when the only 
home he knew and loved was sold, and "his people" moved 
away without him! He spent a few nights crying to be let in, 
to no avail. Luckily, a neighbor reached out, and one of our 
volunteers went and scooped him up. Felix needs a calm and 
stable environment, where he can feel safe and loved. He might be best as an only cat or if 
carefully introduced to another. He's mellow, very sweet, and would love to sleep on your 
bed. He will become more affectionate daily and will do anything for chin scratches! He's 
very friendly and also loves to play! Felix will come vetted, tested negative, and flea-free. 

Please put in your application for Felix and make this boy feel loved again. www. 

Pet of the Week 


 Twelve-year-old Boba, along with her cat friend Jelly,
were brought to the shelter when their owner could nolonger care for them. Both cats are super friendly, lovebeing pet, and will meow for attention. Boba will evendrool when she’s happy! This sweet senior girl wouldlove a home where she, and Jelly, can get lots of love andcuddles.

 The adoption fee for cats is $100. All cat adoptionsinclude spay or neuter, microchip, and age-appropriatevaccines.

New adopters will receive a complimentary health-and-wellness exam from VCAAnimal Hospitals, as well as a goody bag filled with information about how to care for 
your pet.

 View photos of adoptable pets and schedule an adoption appointment Adoptions are by appointment only, and new adoptionappointments are available every Sunday and Wednesday at 10:00 a.m.

 Pets may not be available for adoption and cannot be held for potential adopters byphone calls or email. 


Last year the media went into a frenzy over the 400th anniversary of 
the Mayflower’s arrival in North America, but the festivities were just 
This Thanksgiving marks four centuries since the 1621 harvest festival held by the half of 
the Plymouth Colony that survived that cruel first winter. 

(“Forget corn mazes and hayrides! I’m bobbing for antibiotics!”) 

What a milestone! Even though our gaiety may be muted by acknowledgment of the 
injustices done to indigenous peoples since that fateful shared meal, this still calls for a 
large-scale commemoration. 

Perhaps you could ponder the 400 greatest Thanksgiving-related quotations, such as 
“Pumpkin spice isn’t everything; it’s the only thing” or “God must have loved the common 
man, because he made so many ways to re-gift fruitcake” or “Genius is one percent 
inspiration and 99 percent telling your mother-in-law that your daughter’s sleazy new beau 
loves anecdotes about bunions and varicose veins.” 

Maybe you could reminisce over the 400 greatest Thanksgiving-related song lyrics, such as 
“Stairway to the upstairs bedroom where the dog has shed on everyone’s coats,” “You can’t 
always baste what you want,” “Smells like leftovers spirit,” “I still haven’t found the interstate 
exit I’m looking for,” and “People get ready, there’s a nap a-comin’.” 

Maybe you could explore the 400 biggest historical inaccuracies in Thanksgiving pageants. 
The Pilgrims’ menu and the attire of the Native American guests leap to mind immediately, 
but I’m sure you can find other examples. (You doubtless always harbored suspicions about 
Great-uncle Bob’s insistence on using blackface to portray the Wampanoag Nation. And his 
compliments to the cooks, such as “The cranberry sauce was delectable, and the white meat 
is superior.”) 

How about taking a stab at writing down your 400 favorite Thanksgiving memories? Maybe 
your fondest recollection is of eating with your cousins at the children’s table and boasting 
about the time when you would be all grown up and could do whatever you wanted — 
pending the approval of your future spouse, your employer, an assortment of restraining 
orders and the doctor who is strangely fixated on head-turning and coughing. 

Most importantly, try verbalizing 400 things for which you’re thankful. (I’m preparing to 
launch a year-round thankfulness spot on my Facebook page, “Tyree’s Tyrades.” Please 
check it out.) 

Yes, despite our problems, we have a lot to be thankful for, including electrical appliances, 
modern plumbing and vast online resources. I mean, sites such as let you trace 
your illustrious lineage all the way back to New England’s upper crust, all from the comfort 
of your parents’ basement. 

Let’s not forget that the “dressing versus stuffing” holiday war hasn’t involved tactical nukes 

– yet. 
Ah, but many of us take Mother Nature and the marvels of science for granted. Someone 
could make a fortune opening Ingrates R Us franchises. (“Yeah, well, what have you done 
for me LATELY, Jonas Salk?”) 

Seriously, even those of us who still credit a Supreme Being with our comforts have gotten 
spoiled by The Way Things Work In the 21st Century. 

“Your blessings are very important to us. All our thoughts are currently focused on other 
things. You’ll get your prayers of thanks when the first spare moment is available. If you’d 
prefer, you may self-scan our warm wishes.”
Yikes! Anybody compiling a list of the 400 species of locusts waiting to be unleashed on us? 

Danny Tyree welcomes email responses at and visits to his Facebook 
fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades.”