Feature Contributors

Column: Step one: Sharpen your hatchet

Dear readers,

I must admit that I’m disappointed in some of you. You know who you are. Your neighbors know who you are. I’m talking about those of you who forgot that there is a holiday between Halloween and Christmas.

Think really hard. It involves grandma’s house, Pilgrims, Indians, turkeys, a hatchet, noodles, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie. Oh, I almost forgot one of my favorites, cranberry sauce. I have always been fascinated by the way cranberry sauce retains the look of the can it came in when plopped out on a plate for serving. 

The holiday is Thanksgiving. It all began similar to the way Gilligan’s Island was discovered when the S.S. Minnow ran ashore. Except the Pilgrims’ boat was named the Mayflower and it was grounded when it hit Plymouth Rock. The Pilgrims named their new home Plymouth, Massachusetts. 

Being new to the neighborhood, the Pilgrims invited the Wampanoag Indians over for a three-day celebration called Thanksgiving. I know some of you find it hard to believe that the first Thanksgiving really lasted for three days. You question how the Pilgrims and Indians could have gotten along for three days when you find it difficult to stay in the same house with your in-laws for a couple of hours. Truth be told, it wasn’t easy for the Indians either.



According to Pilgrim folklore, some members of the Wampanoag tribe were still a bit miffed about the Pilgrims moving into the neighborhood. After all, the Indians had enjoyed having the place all to themselves for over 10,000 years.

The Pilgrims smoothed things over that first Thanksgiving by letting the Indians take the centerpiece home. It was a magnificent goat’s horn overflowing with flowers, fruit, and nuts. Called a cornucopia, it remains a symbol of the holiday.

Almost as an afterthought, the Pilgrims also promised if they ever took over the entire continent, they would name the NFL team in their capital city after the Indians. The Pilgrims kept their promise and that is why every thanksgiving the Dallas Cowboys play the Washington Redskins.  The Redskins had a name change and are now the Commanders. This year’s game will kick off on Thanksgiving at 4:30p.m.

As Paul Harvey always said, “Now you know the rest of the story.”



Today’s photographs:

Loyal Team Schwinn member Jack Yeend has “The Helbing” decorated for Thanksgiving. Honk when driving past “The Helbing” if you see an old guy sitting beneath it in a lawn chair. Jack and I take turns waiving to people as they drive into town. Honking lets us know that our work promoting “The Helbing” is appreciated.

Susie Veerkamp (main photo) strikes a pose with this year’s Thanksgiving entrée.  Susie’s holiday tip, “sharpen your hatchet.”

See you all next week, same Schwinn time, same Schwinn channel.