I love Thanksgiving, yet I cheer for the lucky turkey that gets the presidential pardon because I am on the side of turkeys. I know that it is hard to make a case for them. I admit that turkeys are unattractive creatures with huge bodies and tiny heads with folds of drooping skin around their chins. They keep puffing their feathers pretending to be peacocks, emitting dreadful sounds that provoke their tribe to respond in a loud disorganized chorus.
I recognize that my support for the turkeys’ right to live could disqualify me as a Thanksgiving enthusiast. Moreover, not only do I side with turkeys, I am also an anthropologist with an interest in the origin of myths. As with all myths, research of historic documents indicates some issues with the facts in the Thanksgiving myth. The Pilgrims didn’t really have the kind of Thanksgiving that we recount in our schools; one of the early Pilgrims’ official Thanksgivings to God was rejoicing their massacre of the Pequot Indians in Mystic Connecticut.