THE FIRST THANKSGIVING IN TAUNTON, MASSACHUSETTS!!!!
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[This story originally appeared in a slightly altered format on my Research, Inc. website waaaay back in 2007. It's now a Thanksgiving tradition -- like gathering the family together and listening to Dominick the Donkey on the radio.].
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The short story you are about to read in true! Every word of it!

But maybe only in a parallel universe.

None of the names have been changed to protect the innocent. Screw 'em ...





Because it was Monday, I fell into a temporal distortion caused by a black hole.

I'm really getting sick of that happening. Especially on Half Price Pizza Day. I get ornery when I miss Half Price Pizza Day.

I'm now a veteran of these sorts of things. Plus I've seen enough episodes of DOCTOR WHO to know the difference between a temporal distortion and the more common dizziness caused by standing up too fast.

So I did some quick calculations in my head to determine the pot hole density of the streets. Two per square yard! Whew! That meant I was still in Taunton!

But when?

I grabbed a torn and soiled copy of Ye Olde Gazette off the ground next to a trash bin. The headline was about the Dutch mathematician Willebrord Snel van Royen formulating his famous law of fraction -- so I quickly knew it was 1621! Duh!

That plus the Gazette might have said it was MDCXXI.

I looked around and hurridly made a beeline for what looked like the Taunton Green. There were tell tale clues that it was the Green.

An elderly Indian maiden was holding a sign with a scrawled biblical quote declaring Chief Samoset evil incarnate; a small group of tattooed settlers on ponies lounging about; dozens of wagons crashing into each other trying to navigate around a square rotary .... and a bosomy Pilgrim offering me her wares.

Like all time travelers, I immediately bumped into the two most important people from that era -- Chief Massasoit of the Wampanoag tribe and William Bradford of the Mayflower colony. Both had taken a day trip down from Plymouth to get away from the wives.

I inched in a little closer to eavesdrop. Not surprisingly, as is also common in all time travel trips, both spoke perfect 21st century English, the only difference was that Bedford was saying this was Tawn-ton and Massasoit called it Tarn-ton.

Massasoit was clearly upset. “Look, Billy, I know your people are lousy farmers, but you gotta stop stealing our grain and shooting our critters!”

“Sorry, Chief. But we’re starving here! Christopher Jones has even begun setting traps for Myles’ poodle!”

That answer didn't seem to calm the old Indian. “Heck, you’re even starting to piss off poor Squanto! He’s thinking of sending smoke signals to your wife about that afternoon you guys spent in Provincetown if you don't knock it off. Something has to be done!”

This is where I jumped in.

“Look, fellas. I got a great idea. Bill, you know how you guys spend every Thursday in mid-week prayer session??”

Bradford’s eyes rolled. “yeah, that was another of Myles’ great ideas. He figured it’d be a good way to get everyone together and sell tickets to a booze cruise aboard the Mayflower.”

“And … uh … Mass … can I call you Mass? You know how you’ve run out of space for all that excess food you’ve been storing up for the winter?”

“Yeah, I really miss having that spare teepee for my Man Cave on poker night …”

“Well, how about you guys throw a huge party instead this week? You can start by watching the Macy’s parade, sitting down to a great feast of turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie with both tribes, then settling back and watching some football!”

Both men just stared at me.

I’d forgotten forks, ovens, football – not to mention Macy’s and the entire city of New York – hadn’t been invented yet!

I could see they were deciding who’d get the honor of stoning me, when, luckily, yet another distortion in the space-time continuum sucked me back to modern day Taunton.

But I’m firmly convinced it was me – yup, me! – that gave them the idea of Thanksgiving!!

That’s probably the reason the cats temporarily relinquish their stalking duties to the turkeys every November.

Fame has its price.