I'm a costume designer, makeup artist, teacher, mom, knitter, baker, want-to-learn-how-to-do-it-all

My photo
I'm a costume designer, makeup artist, teacher, mom, sewer, knitter, baker, want-to-learn-how-to-do-it-all, blogging, Costumed Beagle enthusiast. I am not always pleasant, although through intensive cupcake therapy I have learned not to throw knives at people anymore.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

10 Reasons to Be Thankful You're Not a Pilgrim

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving (or today if you live on the other side of the world and are just getting around to reading my blog, a priority, I'm sure...) and although I know you are plenty thankful, I thought I give you 10 real reasons to be thankful.

1. Small pox.  As another blogger (and also my boss incidentally...) blogged about just today, small pox talk at the dinner table is HOT.  Regardless of fads in table talk through the centuries, I think we can all be thankful that small pox is not a real problem for us.  Did you know that between the time the Mayflower left and just a few months after arriving in the new world, only about 1/3 of the passengers weren't on the verge of dying and more than half the crew had perished.  Disease flourished and there were no Rite Aids. Even basic penicillin was centuries off.

2. Millinery.  Perhaps you like to sport dapper head wear, but I think it is difficult for even the sartorial adept among us to wear a pilgrim hat (or cockel hat as may be known in costume circles) and be taken seriously.  Today, you have a wide range of choices when it comes to decorating your noggin whatever its shape or your proclivity.  Go ahead, express yourself.

3. Puritan Roots.  While I think this sometimes gets us in trouble and can be taken to extremes, I think it is perhaps these very roots that give us the stubbornness to be resilient, hardworking, and when necessary incredibly generous with one another.

4. Grocery Stores.  We've all heard the story about the first dinner (truth or myth, who knows?) But I am grateful that I do not have to shoot a wild turkey with a single shot front loading musket and gather unknown tubers and grains with which to celebrate my holiday dinner.  No matter how you go about your feast tomorrow, it is guaranteed to be much easier and much more plentiful than anything our forefathers ate even at the greatest celebrations.

5. Wool.  Back in the olden days almost everything was made of wool.  EVERYTHING.  From top to bottom, inside and out.  And none of it was cashmere.  Have you seen Babe?  The wool came from ordinary farm sheep like that.  And no fancy super-washing, combing, delousing, and bleaching.  Sheep stink and home spun wool is coarse.  Cotton was rare, mostly out of India and came in second in the shipping world behind all those spices Columbus was after.  It would be another 200 years before the southern half of the yet to be U.S. realized they could grow the stuff and make it an export to the world.  Can you image living in the itchiest fabric you can think of every day of your life, including summer-

6. Security.  While there is much talk about border security and the grief we go through at the airport is enough to make a person stay at home forever, we do not live in a fort.  If yo
ur family is like mine, stories abound of ancestors who came to America in those early years and those that didn't get taken out by small pox went the way of Indian raids.  There is even one particularly embellished story of a hot headed Irishman who went west to Ohio and was captured.  He worked his way to freedom and went in search of his young bride who promptly gave birth to my kin and then died.  This does sound like the kind of adventure we've been searching for.

7. And while we're near the subject: Maternal and Infant Mortality Rates.  In the modern world, we fully expect mothers to carry babies and birth them and for everyone to live.  Medicine has even gotten so good that we hear of babies scarcely into their fifth month of pregnancy surviving.  For our pilgrim friends no one took either of those things for granted.  Women commonly died in childbirth and many many children did not live to see their 5th birthday.  The birth of Virginia Dare was exceptional for many reasons, not just because she was the first, but that it happened at all.  Families were large because you could expect to lose half of them, and second and third marriages were common as wives and mothers died.

8. Sin.  Pilgrims were obsessed with sin.  And while Mormons can plausibly lay claim to a modern day obsession with it, I would wager the pilgrims took themselves just wee mite too seriously.  I'm guessing if they even had a peek at the way we celebrate this day they would prostrate themselves on the ground, renting their garments-sackcloth and ashes and all and entreat us to repent or be smitten.

9. Entertainment.  It is said that at the first thanksgiving they celebrated with prayers, wrestling, dancing and other games....can you imagine--oh wait, I think maybe there are still families who celebrate in a similar manner.  I'm grateful for the interwebs, DVDs and Wii.

10. I asked the citizens to tell me whey they are grateful they aren't Pilgrims and William is glad he didn't have to build his own house (Amen), and Anna (true to form) is glad we don't have to wear hot clothes and that we can go to Target to get stuff.

Happy Thanksgiving, all!  May we all be be grateful for all we have and are.  May you have a wonderful day however you choose to celebrate with whomever you are with.

As for me, the Citizens and I are hunkered up in a small condo up in Park City watching The Hobbit in front of a fire and will partake of a lovely buffet style dinner tomorrow (as American as it gets if you ask me) that I will neither cook nor clean up after.  It is a beautiful thing.


  1. Hilarious and informative. But I have to say - wool is AWESOME. Oh, I'm sure it wasn't as awesome back in the day before drum carding and Soak was invented. But wool. Is. Awesome. It's flexible and resilient, you can dye it into a million different colors, it's water resistant and warm and breathable. I mean yes, if I'm in the desert in the summer, I'm wearing high-performance wickng synthetic fabrics. But. Still.

    1. Wool CAN be wonderful. But man. homespun. E-V-E-R-Y-D-A-Y.