A Pilgrim And A Turkey

As we all know, Thanksgiving is only four days away.  Which brings to mind the fact that I’ll have to put away my Pilgrim/Turkey ensemble for another year.

You’re probably already asking yourself, “What on God’s green earth are you referring to?”  Well, let me take you back to my 2nd grade school year.  What would I have been….seven years old? (I would have turned eight that year, but not until May).  So we’re talking 37 years ago, since I don’t turn 45 until May next year.

It was Mrs. Frank’s class.  My first recollection of that school year is an oriental kid by the name of Moon Kim.  What makes him so memorable for me is the fact that he stabbed my hand with a pencil.  An accident–I think.  He was “acting” like he was going to stab me with his pencil, so my lightening-quick reflexes kicked in and my hand shot up in front of me to protect my sensitive person from this sudden threat to my well-being.  And before I knew it, I had a pencil stuck in my hand.  I remember turning my hand over, watching the pencil rotate with it, and distinctly thinking two things:  1) I feel no pain…that’s odd; and 2)  What the….???  You can still see the gray pencil-lead coloring where it happened (it’s the dark spot at the bottom of my middle finger–the picture and 37 years of skin growth over the pencil-lead don’t do it justice, but you get the idea):


So where do a pilgrim and a turkey come into this story?  Well, Mrs. Frank was quite the “art-class-involved” teacher.  Which meant that every season through Christmas Break we were in the art room working on some sort of seasonal masterpiece.  October was a witch and a spider (the witch made out of an empty glass Coke bottle and paper-mache, the spider made out of an empty dixie cup, paper-mache and black pipe-cleaners for the legs); November saw a pilgrim (male for the boys, female for the girls) and a turkey (again, the pilgrim made from the classic empty glass Coke bottle and paper-mache, the turkey made of a styrofoam ball for the body, a half-ball for the base and a combination of paper-mache and feathers covering everything);  and December saw us making three things:  a Santa (don’t remember how we made him), a Christmas tree (made out of a cone-shaped piece of styrofoam and plaster-of-paris, with a base of a dixie-cup filled with hard plaster–which comes off of the stick in the bottom of the tree, making it a tempting prospect to fling at someone if they get out of line) and a chimney (made out of the body of an empty grade-school pint-sized container of milk).

As is the same with you, the years have come and gone.  And over those years, most of those things have not survived (carelessness and mice being the two biggest culprits).  But I still have the Christmas tree, and the pilgrim and turkey are alive and well!  The pilgrim lost his gun and his bucket a long time ago, but everything else is just about like I made it 37 years ago:


So Happy Thanksgiving!  And may your memories live on as well….