Blog,  Love Letters,  Reflections

Thanksgiving (in a series of soundbytes)

Well, it’s that wonderful time of year again where we look back and reflect on all the things we’re thankful for! I’m definitely thankful that I have this blog, and that technology has evolved to the point where this was possible </nerd> Of course I’m thankful for the world’s rich history of storytelling in all its forms, but more importantly (and more corporeally) I’m thankful for friends, family and a loyal readership like you (thaaank yoooou!) who encourage me so much in my writing endeavors!

Today I wanted to tell you about my favorite Thanksgiving book,  Squanto and The First Thanksgiving.

This has been a family favorite in my house since my sister and I were small. Even though I’ve never read the actual book, we owned a visual retelling of it on VHS (catching a trend?).

It was distributed by Rabbit Ears, which is an amazing company;

A good story can take a child on a voyage into the imagination and change a life forever. Combining today’s brightest stars with top musicians, we at Rabbit Ears Entertainment, LLC are committed to restoring the lost art of storytelling through our videos, books, and audio recordings. The result is award-winning entertainment that’s as enjoyable for adults as it is for children.

I believe we heard first heard this story read on Rabbit Ears radio, which is the same thing without the movie’s visuals. It’s narrated appropriately by Native American actor Graham Greene, and his subtle, warm, scratchy grandfatherly voice matches perfectly with the beautiful haunting score and the colorfully painted modern illustrations, floating Ken Burnsianly across the screen like on an episode of Reading Rainbow. Unfortunately the internet is devoid of clips, save this one, which is too short:

Every child who went through elementary school knows the story of the first Thanksgiving with the pilgrims and Plymouth Rock, the hard winter and their friendship with the Indians that led to the great feast, but Squanto reveals historical details that no one ever tells you.

I don’t want to spoil the story, but it’s nothing short of miraculous to see how the unexpected events that forcibly took Patuxet Indian Squanto from his native home, ultimately brought peace and comfort to lonely, hungry pilgrims trying to scratch out a living in a new land.

Honestly, it makes me all the prouder to be an American, and even though I know this land was founded on harsh cruelty and oppression (though, what country wasn’t?), it was people like Squanto and the pilgrims who knit us all together with their caring attitude of generosity to all good men, even if they were from the other side of the world. Whenever I watch this movie (an annual tradition at the Nelson household) I remember that even though the world around me is screaming for me to buy Buy BUY OMGCHRISTMASBUYSTUFF!, I need to pause and remember just how amazing our heritage is, and insistent commercialism can’t push that away.

I know I’ve been on my soap box a little bit in the last  few entries, but something about this cluster of holidays rouses something in my heart I often forget is there.

I’m gonna leave you with two things: another childhood favorite, Tom Chapin’s “Thanksgiving Day” song (sorry, only lyrics and a 30 sec. clip);

And my favorite recent memory from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade:


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