Preston columnist tells about Pilgrims, Indians, family and God as Thanksgiving nears

Deanna Hoeme
Pratt Tribune
Pratt columnist Deana Hoeme shares her own thoughts about Thanksgiving.

The days are getting very beautiful with God’s handiwork as seen in His nature as the leaves change color. Reformation Day, All Saints Day and Thanksgiving are all celebrated soon. A truly American holiday celebrated in America is Thanksgiving.

What makes Thanksgiving American you may ask?  President George Washington issued a proclamation on October 3, 1789, “designating Thursday, November 26 as a national day of thanks.” In his proclamation, Washington declared that the necessity for such a day sprung from the Almighty’s care of Americans prior to the Revolution, assistance to them in achieving independence, and help in establishing the constitutional government. : This day later became commonplace in today’s households.

The events that took place before President’s decree needs to be told. No story of our first Thanksgiving would be complete without the account of Squanto a Patuxet Indian brave. In 1608, he and his friends were hunting for lobster along the coast of what is today called Massachusetts. Some traders came to the boys, and offered them food, they attacked and kidnapped the boys.

Squanto and his friends were taken to Spain. Some monks bought Squanto. He told them his strange story. The monks taught him their faith and language. After about five years, the Monks helped him to board a ship and sail to England. He stayed in the home John Slanie, who found a ship sailing to America. In the year 1618, Squanto headed home after many years away from his home. As Squanto left the ship, he found that his village had been abandoned due to a terrible sickness.

When the Pilgrims landed, at Plymouth, an English speaking Indian came to meet them. Imagine their surprise that God had led the Pilgrims to the very place where Squanto was living. Only the hand of a miracle working God could led their ship to Plymouth.

After, the cold, hard winter, the next spring Squanto taught them how to plant corn-using fish as fertilizer, catch eels and look for lobster. Later the Pilgrims decided to set aside a time to thank God for His blessings to them. They invited Squanto and his friends to join them. When the day came, 90 warriors arrived with deer, turkey, and vegetables. This was America’s first Thanksgiving!

Many years later, Squanto wanted to know more of the God of the Pilgrims. He ask them to pray for him so that he could enter into their land when he died. More of this account can be found in the book by Eric Metaxas Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving.  This is the same Eric Metaxas of the Eric Metaxas Talk Show.

Do you remember the song we sang in school, Over the River and Through the Woods to Grandfather’s house we go? The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh through white and drifted show. What a wonderful song to sing this Thanksgiving with your family.

Have a wonderful and thankful Thanksgiving holiday with your family. And take time to ponder the stories behind this holiday proclaimed by our first president George Washington in 1789.