The pretentious headline isn’t mine. It comes from an editorial in a small town newspaper I read last Thanksgiving, before it all went to hell. At the time the paper complained of the ongoing war in Iraq, the increasingly high levels of mercury in snowmelt (?) and the general loathing of the United States by the rest of the world. I’m celebrating in a different place, so I can only imagine what they’ve come up with this year. But it’s not hard to imagine.
It got me thinking about Nathaniel Philbrick’s Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community and War. He describes in detail the horrors of the crossing and initial years in a windswept, desolate new world. Between the Pilgrims’ arrival in November and the following March, only 47 of the original 102 passengers survived, and half the crew died. The survivors were so sick that only six at a time were well enough to care for the rest. And yet, when all was said and done, they still found quite a bit to be thankful for.