Don’t Forget the Pilgrims’ Progress

What a harvest we had on the farm. The Pilgrims would have loved the pumpkins, the squash and the corn for winter rations. 

The month of November evokes memories of being in grade school and learning about Pilgrims, Indians, corn and fish, and Thanksgiving, and now more so about  being  excited for the turkey dinner with Mom’s famous dressing recipe.  Or is it called stuffing?  What’s the difference? Best of all, for school kids, it was  knowing we would have four days off school that made the approaching holiday even more exciting to think about.  
A few years back, 2013, we traveled to the East Coast, to Boston and drove south to visit Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts (always hard to spell) where the original Thanksgiving feast took place. But I learned so much more than I remembered.     
During the visit, we toured the Mayflower replica docked on the harbor along with many other boats. ( We took pictures but I can find mine.) It is recorded that,  the Mayflower departed Plymouth, England, on September 6, 1620 and arrived at Cape Cod (not the right place) on November 9, 1620, after a 66 day voyage.” You remember that right? I didn’t.   
The smell of fish, at Plymouth’s harbor, I noticed immediately was potent on the seashore. Inside the small, a wooden ship, I realized what a sacrifice our forefathers made. Oh, my!   The ship was small, dark and gloomy. There were no beds. No bathrooms. No windows.   Everyone I was told, “slept on the floor” except for the captain. He had a drop down shelf to make a bed on. No longer than five feet. “People were smaller back then,” the guide told us.  The Mayflower’s cargo we learned, was usually   “ wine and dry goods, but on this trip the ship carried passengers, all hoping to start a new life on the other side of the Atlantic.”

My Mom always made the best stuffing, well, so did her Mom. And now, I think I do! 

Originally, there were two ships sailing together to the new land, but the Speedwell developed a leak and both ships headed back to shore and then all passengers boarded the Mayflower, 102 in all.  This delay, I learned, caused them to be at sea during the height of the storm season. Seasickness was rampant from the rough, rough sea. Can you imagine?  But they made it to the New World after two horrible months. Some died before arriving. Many more that first year.
Finally on shore, they set up in an abandoned Indian village. About half died that first winter. No wonder they started a Thanksgiving celebration. They truly were thankful for all they had endured and lived to write their history that first year.  And why?  We learned in school for our religious freedom, escaping the jurisdiction of the Church of England, to establish a new church in the New World, seeking our religious freedom.  

The Pilgrims I hope eventually felt the New World gave them all of these things. 
So Here’s the Thing… as November unfolds, think about the Pilgrims’ progress on your behalf and mine. Give thanks to them for being the “stepping stone” in a great land of wonderful freedoms. My ancestors, the Phillipses weren’t on the Mayflower I learned on that trip, but came several years later.  And just so you know, I found the answer to the initial question: stuffing or dressing? Well you might have guessed it already. In the bird—stuffing. In a pan—dressing. Unless you are from the South then it’s always called  “dressing” siting that stuffing is “unpleasant” sounding. Be as it may, I like Mom’s dressing stuffed in the bird for Thanksgiving day.
I love stuffing with lots of celery, onions and sage. I love it stuffed in the bird! 

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