The Reluctant But Thankful Governor Bradford

Full of turkey, and dozing during a football half time, one nameless American who had taken it all for granted had the following dream:

He was in the fall of 1621, dressed in a buckled hat and sitting in the corner of the Bradford cabin.

First Puritan (entering breathlessly with Second Puritan): Your worth, the Indians are outside.

Governor Bradford: Tell them to go home.

FP: I think they’ve come for dinner, sir.

Bradford: I suppose they’re going to freeload again.

FP: Not this meal, sir. They’ve brought buzzards and cob grains.

SP: Those buzzards and cob grains are called turkeys and corn.

Bradford: Turkeys? They eat those things?

FP: I’m afraid so, sir, with cornbread.

Bradford: Haven’t these savages ever heard of brisket, barley, and trifle? Why, back in Bristol [enter Miles Standish] …

Standish: Beggin’ your pardon, Governor, but back in Bristol we couldn’t even hold our own worship services. And if you remember, the new Stuart kings kept us reading those state-supported liturgies. Turkeys aren’t all bad.

Bradford: Bah, Humbug! What’s that smell, Miles?

Standish: Goodie Standish is boiling cranberries, sir. The Indians taught her, sir. They always eat boiled cranberries with their turkeys.

Bradford: Boiled cranberries and baked turkey and corn bread—what will they think of next? Making pies out of pumpkin squash?

Third Puritan (entering with two yellow pies): Sir, the Indians brought dessert and they’re setting up a big dinner over by the log church.

Bradford: Anybody bring beef, barley, and trifle?

TP: I’m afraid not. Squaw Massasoit brought venison and wild apples.

FP (cautiously): Miles, tell him what we decided.

Standish (stiffening with resolve): Sir, you recall how most of us died of sickness ...

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