Saturday, November 20, 2010

The History Detective

I almost deleted the email unread. But I gave my mouse a quick click as if to indicate that the mouse click actually didn't count and besides I only wanted to glance at the first line of the email before almost automatically deleting it. But the words froze my clicking finger. "I read your blog about Thanksgiving and I think you are probably right."

A believer.

I answered Mary Beth Newsome and asked if she was a historian. Three days later she replied that she was very interested in history and that she was one of those skating waitresses at a Sonic Drive In Restaurant. She went on to say that she was talking with her friend Rosalie Urdiales who said that she saw a picture of Captain John Smith carrying one of those blunderbuss rifles. Rosalie clarified that it might not actually have been a camera picture but maybe a painting picture.

Mary Beth is considering a new career as maybe a Historical Detective because she quickly realized that she had stumbled on a historical clue which provided independent documentation in support of my story....the very story which said that John Smith had at one time carried a blunderbuss. Buoyed by this remarkable conclusion she decided to turn over more stones, metaphorically speaking, that is. Ms. Newsome thought more and more about this as she skated to those car windows serving cheeseburgers with bacon and strawberry shakes, and sometimes foot long chili dogs.

Then one evening when she was about to deliver a hot fudge sundae, she almost stumbled right off her skates when a new idea hit her. After delivering the sundae, for which she received no tip, she stopped dead still and whipped out her cell phone and texted her brother who was a student at Oklahoma City Community College to ask him to find a history student there and ask him if there was such a person as Pocahontas. He answered in fourteen seconds flat: "Duh! Everyone knows Pocahontas. I don't need to ask no history geek." Eureka!

Google says this is Pocahontas so it must be right

Mary Beth Newsome, History Detective, was now on a mission. She now had independent verification that Pocahontas was a real person.

John and Poca
She went home and found her eighth grade history book and started investigating. Yep. There was Captain Smith and Pocahontas.

Mary Beth was getting excited. She had two key pieces of verification...the blunderbuss and Pocahontas. But everyone knows that you have to have three sources to make a thing true. She had seen that on TV. She had to get busy.

Now for some hard core history investigating. Mary Beth went to the library and got on one of their computers and typed Elijah Giving into that Google thing. Hot damn! Immediately on the screen popped up my old blog about the history of Thanksgiving. She was shaking as she realized that not only did my story verify itself, but it was on Google, which never lies. An overwhelming blush of reverant realization overcame her. Why did Google point to the story? How did it know? Was it fate? Divine providence?

That is when Mary Beth Newsome, Historical Detective, with shaking fingers wrote me the email.

So now I will present that story, written in a non-alcoholic drunken bout...or perhaps it was a vision.

The History of Thanksgiving Independently Verified As 'It Must Be True'

Way back in 1512, or 1554, or 1612…or some year like that – once again, stop getting bogged down in details – Johnny Smith became a Captain in the Pilgrim Brigade (which I think later evolved into the Knights of Columbus. I need to check on that.). With his new rank he no longer had to clean blunderbusses and stand guard and figure out what maize was. So the 33 year old Captain Smith took to taking long walks through the forest with his Sergeant, Elijah Giving, following behind to provide protection from Indians. Sergeant Giving was dedicated and loved Captain Smith and would do anything for him. Now I am not going to suggest that Elijah loved John ‘in that way’, but it is curious that Elijah was vehemently opposed to John’s relationship with that Indian gal.

Her name was Pocahontas and she was indeed lovely. The 14 year old Indian maiden was immediately smitten with Captain Smith, as he was with her.

Now lets stop a second….don’t get all prudey. It was common practice for adult men to marry young teens back in the precedent and antecedent times. A mature historian such as I deigns to not pass judgment on the heroes of our history.

Much to Elijah Giving’s dismay, with all this smitten stuff going back and forth between the couple, Johnny done smittened his way into getting her knocked up. Now The Pilgrims Code stated that whilst it was kosher to marry a young maiden, it was forbidden to have sex with them before said marriage. In fact it was punishable by death.

To Poca’s credit, she tried to hide it by buying plus sized clothing and asking around about diets to make people think that she was just getting fat. Elijah Giving even offered to state that he was the father to save Johnny – but really, no one would believe that Elijah would have anything to do with a woman. But finally everything became too obvious and the Pilgrims Council on Truth and Justice and the American Way (and their nosy wives) met and did what they had to do. They condemned Captain John Smith to death by firing squad. 

That fateful day in April, or July or one of those months arrived when Captain Smith was made to stand in front of five Pilgrims lined up with their stupid looking blunderbusses. Captain Smith was stoic as he proclaimed his love for Pocahontas and voiced his blessing to the firing squad for he indeed had sinned. Pocahontas frantically paced back and forth cursing herself for not taking the pill. Sergeant Elijah Giving was crying in agony as he realized that John was indeed going to get blunderbussed.

The command was given: “Ready”. John stood tall and sucked in his gut. “Aim”. John’s lower lip began to slightly quiver. But as the command “Fire” was given, Sergeant Elijah Giving screamed “No!” and threw himself in front of John. The blunderbuss balls ripped into Elijah’s chest and he fell to the earth. John in horrified dismay could only scream, “Thanks Giving” – and thus Thanksgiving was born.

What happened next? Captain Smith was freed because his lack of death was considered an act of God. Pocahontas gave birth to a beautiful daughter she named Sacajawea, which means  ‘One day I will lead pale faced pioneers across this land so they can get the credit for discovering it’. John …’….. Poca finally…… moved …on .....
Sometimes we have to fall back on the fairy tale rather than the truth, especially when relating the Thanksgiving story at that all important meal. Even so, it is important that you know what really happened....independently verified.

Have a happy and scrumptious Thanksgiving.


  1. Well now, if that don't beat all! And all along I thought he was the dude that founded the Latter Day Saints.

  2. I feel way educated Jerry, thanks for the "verified" facts. Funny post!

  3. I hardly know what to say. So I won't.

  4. It is so refreshing to finally read the historical facts than some mythical representation concocted by Disney. Happy Thanksgiving

  5. Had you been teaching my history classes way back when - I probably would have paid more attention and actually learned something!

  6. Too funny! Historical detective or hysterical detective?

  7. No wonder I did so poorly on my history exams! I should have done my research here...
    Very funny Jerry!

  8. I never put it together that Sacajawea Smith was John and Poca's Daughter, I guess I should have paid more attention in history class.

    Funny stuff there Jerry, I had to read it to my wife too Ha Ha

  9. As a Brit, I appreciate these words of historical accuracy. Who knew that there was so much to learn from the colonies?

  10. "Google says this is Pocahontas so it must be right"

    Hahaha. We librarians appreciate this sarcasm very much... :)

  11. Oh my. So that's how Thanksgiving came about. Thanks for clearing that up. I can't wait to share my knowledge with my family (who will love this story!).

    Off the subject (well kind of)...I have a friend who used to work in a video store. She says the most rented porn film was "Poke a Hot Ass". I cannot hear the name Pocahontas without giggling anymore.


  12. OHMYGOD. I TOTALLY did NOT see that coming! (I guess you could TELL that by all those CAPS, eh?) Thank you for finally setting the record straight on that fateful day in April...or July...wait, I think you said October? I'm too lazy to scroll back up.

    I have to mention that I misread Poco as having "peed" instead of "paced". I do believe I was thinking she needed to pee on another stick to be sure she was "with child"...but you wound up clearing any doubt with the whole "having a daughter" ending.

    I love your imagination, Jerry. Not that I think you made this up, mind you...I'm just saying. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!