Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A Thanksgiving Carol

When Standish awoke, it was so dark he could scarcely see the figure sitting at the foot of his bed. The figure seemed insubstantial, as if it was more phantom than man. “I am Myles Standish, militia captain of Plymouth Colony, and I know you not Spirit, so identify yourself!” Myles cried out.

“I am the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come, in a story yet to be written by a man named Dickens, where I do a lot of ominous finger-pointing but don’t have any good lines,” the Spirit said. “But my Christmas gig doesn’t start until next week, so I thought I’d drop by and show you a glimpse of a Thanksgiving Eve yet to come.”

“Lead on,” Myles said. “Lead on, for the night is waning fast and tomorrow is our harvest feast, which sounds suspiciously like this Thanksgiving you speak of.”

“You’re much quicker on the uptake than Scrooge, I’ll grant you that,” the Specter said. “Prepare yourself Myles Standish, for I am about to take you hundreds of years into the future, to the morning of the day before Thanksgiving, to show you the many blessings enjoyed by the people of that time.”

Suddenly a town named Danvers, Massachusetts sprang up around them, as if the land had recently and unexpectedly been zoned for commercial use. “This is the year of our Lord 2007, and we are standing only 40 miles from your Plymouth settlement,” the Spirit said.

“What is this vast field we stand within?” Myles asked. “The plots for the crops are well defined by the white stripes, but digging here would be nigh impossible, for the ground is like a sea of rock!”

“This field is called a parking lot, and will soon be filled with small ships that move across the land without the need of wind,” the Ghost predicted. Sure enough, within a few minutes a bright red vessel appeared and docked itself neatly between two of the white lines.

“What magic allows these land-ships to move so freely?” Myles asked.

“A liquid named gasoline, which may be purchased there,” the Spirit said, gesturing with his spectral hand to a strange looking structure with a roof but no walls. “Once the vessel’s pilot has paid for the liquid, it flows through that hollow black rope into a barrel within his land-ship. The vessel then moves until its barrel is empty.”

“How far can the vessel travel on one barrel?” asked Myles.

“Some may go as far as 350 miles, which usually takes about five hours,” the Spirit replied.

“350 miles in five hours?!” Myles cried. “It took us 66 days to travel from England to Plymouth Rock! With one of these fantastic vessels we could have made our journey in less than two days… surely the people of 2007 must be grateful for such a blessing!”

“Their land vessels are expensive to purchase Myles, and the magical liquid is a precious commodity worth nearly its weight in gold. Truthfully, these people of 2007 complain endlessly about the cost of their gasoline, and I should also tell you that while their land-ships cannot float, the people of this age can FLY from England to the Colonies in airships in only a few hours should they choose to do so, depending on the airline they select.”

“These airlines you speak of sound like the work of the Devil,” Myles said. The Spirit nodded.
“Many of these people say that very same thing, Myles Standish. Now, let me show you ‘The Costco’.”

Myles and the Spirit approached a vast structure. “You’re not a member, are you Myles?” the Ghost asked, with a spectral grin. “But I am Spirit, for I signed the Mayflower Compact!” Standish replied hotly.

“Never mind Myles, I will use a Jedi mind trick I learned from George Lucas on this Costco gatekeeper,” said the Specter. “No need to ask for their Costco I.D., these guys check out,” the Ghost said. “No need to ask for I.D., these guys check out,” repeated the gatekeeper in an strangely parroted reply, blankly waiving the pair into a cavernous building filled to the rafters with all kinds of goods-- food, clothes, tools and many other things Myles couldn’t identify.

“This is a huge structure, Spirit,” Myles observed. “Nearly 500 feet across… You could fit 100 Mayflowers within this space!”

Myles and the Ghost entered The Costco and immediately saw dozens of paintings that moved magically within their frames. “What manner of sorcery is this?” Myles shouted. “Relax, Standish, it’s what people of this age use for entertainment. Look, ‘Survivor’ is on!”The pair stood transfixed as several highly defined and nearly naked people played a game of sorts, attempting to survive in the wilderness on meager rations for a short period of time to win a million dollars.

“What think you of this game they play?” the Ghost asked.

“Well, Spirit, of the 102 of us that landed at Plymouth Rock, half of us died after the first winter including my wife. None of us really have much time for fun right now since we are all trying to ACTUALLY survive-- so I can’t say that I like this form of entertainment very much,” Myles said. “But the picture quality is truly awesome.”

The Spirit pointed toward the Large Appliance area of The Costco. “Here are the devices that the people of 2007 use to keep their food fresh, to cook their food, to clean their dishes and to wash and dry their clothes. “What do you think of these marvelous devices, Myles Standish?” asked the Spirit.“

We had very little food left by the time we landed,” Myles said quietly. “Then we had to hunt and grub for our meals. Thank God for our new friends the Wampanoag Indians, who have showed us how to cultivate simple crops and harvest from the sea. We cook over open fires and wash our dishes and our clothes by hand. Surely the people of 2007 must be very grateful for these wonderful devices that make their lives so much easier!”

“Those who live in this age pretty much take these devices for granted,” the Ghost admitted, slightly embarrassed for the people who were now streaming into The Costco. “But look, Myles, here are the tools of today,” the Spirit exclaimed. “Most of them run on electricity instead of Pilgrim-power!”

“What is this electricity you speak of?” Standish asked

It’s like the magical liquid gasoline, but drier,” the Ghost said. “Electricity makes the picture devices work, it lights the lamps above us and even allows these saws to cut wood with incredible ease. Why, with these saws you could cut down hundreds of trees before lunch and not break a sweat!”

“It seems wrong to fell a tree without working hard,” muttered Standish. “It takes a tree years to grow tall enough to harvest. We honor the blessing God gave us when He provided the trees by breaking a sweat when we cut one of them down.”

“I’m not making much progress with this Pilgrim,” the Spirit thought to himself as they entered the Food Section.

By now The Costco was full of people shopping for their Thanksgiving feast. Myles and the Ghost were surrounded by men and women who jostled each other while they piled their carts high with food and spirits: Turkeys, meat, fish, cheese, pies, cakes, beer and wine. Bigger carts moved about, constantly replenishing the supplies. Myles Standish dropped to his knees and sobbed. “I have never seen so much food in my life,” he whispered to the Spirit. How grateful the people of the year 2007 must be for these incredible blessings!”

“You better get up Myles or they’ll run you down like a squirrel in the road,” advised the Ghost. “It’s time to check out now, Pilgrim.” On their way to the check-out, Myles and the Spirit passed many artificial Christmas trees and Christmas displays and all manner of Christmas-oriented merchandise.

Why are these Christmas things being sold before the people have given thanks for their blessings?” asked Standish.

"Beats me bub,” said the Specter, glancing at his watch. The lines at the check-out were long and the people there had the lethargic look of hogs that had eaten too much slop, Myles thought. The Costco’s cashiers frantically tallied cart after cart, barely keeping up with the crowd. Beyond the check-out, several people were eating and drinking in a food court, apparently exhausted by their shopping efforts.

“Spirit, return me to my own time,” Standish begged. “These people have much, I grant you, but they still seem unsatisfied. Please take me back to Plymouth, so I can celebrate a humble day of thanksgiving with my brothers and sisters and our new friends the Wampanoags, where we all are grateful for having just enough.”

The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come finished the hot dog he had just purchased in the food court and snapped his fingers. Myles Standish was instantly returned to his bed in Plymouth, where he awoke the next day, counted his blessings, and promptly gave the most sincere thanks of his life.

1 comment:

ravenfire5 said...

Thanks for putting this Holiday in perspective, and have a Happy Thanksgiving with your family!