No one has told the story of the Third Thanksgiving … until now…. (More)

Of course we’ve all heard about the First Thanksgiving, although most of that is myth. And last year I told you about the Second Thanksgiving, the story as handed down by squirrels.

But no one had heard about the Third Thanksgiving. Officially it never happened, or at least not for several decades. Then again, officially the Second Thanksgiving never happened either. So there.

Anyway, I found a first-hand account of the Third Thanksgiving, a diary kept by Elizabeth Arden Standish. Of course her parents called her Liz, and of course her older brothers called her Lizard. Some things never change.

Liz’s diary was found just a few weeks ago, when someone in Plymouth was cleaning out their attic. They put it up for sale on EBay and I snapped it up for … well, let’s not say what I spent. Anyway, Liz kept her diary in crayon, but she drew the Thanksgiving Day hand-turkey in colored markers. She wrote “Yes, this is all real” on the last page, so I’m sure it’s authentic.

So here’s Liz’s entry for Thanksgiving Day, 1623:

Dear Diary,

Today was Thanksgiving and I’m thankful that it’s over. Plus tomorrow mom and I will go Christmas shopping. I want a You Can Tickle Me But I Won’t Laugh Because I’m A Puritan doll. I hope Ye Olde General Store has them.

Anyway, mom and I spent all morning cooking. We had roast turkey with stuffing, venison, corn (of course), green bean casserole (it looks icky but it’s kinda good), mashed potatoes with gravy, candied sweet potatoes (that sounds yummy but I didn’t like them), and cranberry sauce. Oh, mom made a Dutch Apple pie and I got to sprinkle the crumbs on top. Then lick my fingers clean after.

That was the good part. The problems started when our relatives got here.

Grandma was cool and she helped mom in the kitchen, but grandpa just wanted to know when the town crier and his color commentator would start yelling out the football game.

Uncle Harry argued with dad about politics. Aunt Edith talked funny, like she had marbles in her mouth, and fell asleep while she was eating. Grandma nudged me and said Aunt Edith had been like that for a couple of years, coz of Uncle Harry.

Dad heard what grandma said and pretended to drink his mug of coffee, except he didn’t have a mug. Mom gave him a look and shushed him. I don’t know what that was about. Mom says I’ll understand when I’m older.

Anyway, my brothers and cousins made lizard faces at me while I helped mom bring the food to the table. When I get big I’m gonna pick up Plymouth Rock and drop it on them. Just sayin’.

We finally got all the food on the table and dad asked grandpa to offer the Thanksgiving prayer. My brothers and cousins groaned. Mom looked at me and rolled her eyes. But we all folded our hands and closed our eyes and three days later we could finally eat. Okay, it wasn’t that long, but it felt like it. Really, do we have to thank God for every ear of corn, one by one?

So after the prayer we started passing the food around. It took almost as long to pass everything around the table as it did for mom and me to make it. I’m glad I snuck some stuffing in the kitchen, while it was still hot.

Mom says we’re not supposed to talk with our mouths full but Uncle Harry does anyway. He. Never. Shuts. Up. Honestly, if I never hear about the colonial debt again, it will be too soon.

Dad said we have to borrow for new infrastructure, whatever that is. Uncle Harry said he’s sick of paying taxes and his children and grandchildren will be ruined when the china takes all of our money. That made no sense at all. We already have the china. Why should it take any more money?

It went on like that, all the way through to the Dutch Apple pie. Mom patted her belly and scraped some of her crumb topping onto my slice. That was nice.

And then grandpa and dad and Uncle Harry and my brothers and cousins all went into the living room and opened the window to listen to the town crier and his color commentator.

While mom and grandma and I did the dishes. Aunt Edith was still asleep at the table. Grandma said we should let her be.

So scrub and scrub and scrub and wipe and scrub and wipe some more, while the stupid town crier and his stupid color commentator yelled about football.

I don’t know what backs are, but I figured out that they come in three sizes (full, half, and quarter) and two places (tail and corner).

There were also guards at the game, maybe because of last year’s riot, and tackles, who tackle, I guess, when they’re not holding. There were also ends.

The ends must have been players because the stupid game was endless. Anytime anyone did anything, they stopped and the town crier yelled about the Cart XT that can go from zero to sixty on a closed course and don’t try that on the road. Who would buy a cart that you can only ride on a closed course?

Oh, and there were downs. Lots and lots of downs. I have no idea what a “critical third down situation” is, but it seems to happen about every five minutes.

The weird part is that when the game finally ended – the Lions won 6-3 – grandpa and dad and Uncle Harry and my brothers and cousins came into the kitchen to ask us who won. Turns out they fell asleep while mom and grandma and I were washing all those dishes. So why were they in such a hurry for the stupid game to start?

Anyway, once the game was over and the dishes were all clean, grandpa and dad and Uncle Harry and my brothers and cousins got the dishes back out for leftovers. Mom looked at grandma and they looked at me and grandma said a word that rhymes with “spit” that mom said I should never say, and mom told the guys to wash their own dam dishes next time.

But the dam is all the way across town, in the river.

Mom said I’ll understand that when I get older too.

Maybe so, but I’ll never understand football.

Well, it’s late and my candle is almost gone, so I’ll stop here. Tomorrow I’ll find out if Ye Olde General Store has that You Can Tickle Me But I Won’t Laugh Because I’m A Puritan doll. I hope so. I want something to look forward to at Christmas, coz mom says we’ll have to cook all that stuff again.

Nite nite, Diary,


So there you have it. The true story of the Third Thanksgiving, as told by someone who was there.


Image Credit – Drawing: Huffington Post; Text: Crissie Brown (


Good day and good nuts