President’s Message for November 2019 

                                              John Isham                                                                   

Thanksgiving Plans, Just mentioning the day brings up all sorts of random thoughts and memories. This year we will join many others at MUUF in a communal meal taking part in friendship and companionship on a day with mixed feelings about just what it is we are celebrating.  If it weren’t for our part in Our Daily Bread where we serve very healthy meals to needy people, we might feel more guilty about indulging ourselves when others are going without. But “they” are not all going without, at least not in front of us, so we can let our eyes get bigger than our stomachs for a little while, I guess.  

As a child in Pembroke, MA, it was much more of a celebration for my family.  Usually grandparents and uncles and aunts and cousins came, and we looked forward to playing kids games in the pine grove in our back yard while the elders smoked, drank and played bridge. It was never mentioned and probably not even thought about that what we were celebrating was the security and abundance we had at the expense of the native population who had once thrived on those lands.  Wall paintings with images of feasts shared between white people wearing strange tall hats and buckled boots and red people wearing buckskins and feathers cruised through our memories and justified our bulging stomachs. They even showed us how to grow corn. Down the street from our home was an old mysterious barn that had the remains of escape tunnels running about a 1000 feet to the Herring Brook where boats could carry “Pilgrims” to safety from the attacking “Indians.” Wait a minute, when was this? Before or after Thanksgiving? As a child, I never thought enough about it to wonder. Especially when our schoolbooks confidently reassured us that the “indians” gave us their land and headed west to live in the desert and fight with the cowboys.

In a couple of weeks, I am going to celebrate my first Thanksgiving dinner early this year with my daughter in Santa Barbara.  We will brine our turkey with spices bought at Whole Foods and I will make injun pudding for all there. We also will make our favorite mashed potatoes and gravy, boiled pearl onions, string beans and mushroom soup, and pumpkin pies.  Old habits never seem to die even if the meaning of the celebration is changed by the truth. Perhaps we can just leave Native Americans out of it.

“Over three centuries ago, our forefathers in Virginia and in Massachusetts, far from home in a lonely wilderness, set aside a time of thanksgiving. On the appointed day, they gave reverent thanks for their safety, for the health of their children, for the fertility of their fields, for the love which bound them together, and for the faith which united them with their God.” John F. Kennedy, Nov. 5, 1963


Presidents Since the 50th Anniversary
John Isham  2018 to 2020
Carol Bartz   2016  to 2018
Martha Pelletier 2015
Bill Peruzzi:(winter) and Martha Pelletier (summer)   2014
Bill Peruzzi (winter) and Joan Butcher (summer)  2013
Grace Hirsch January 2012
Lorraine Berry  2009-2011

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