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2 minute read

The traditional holiday had its ambiguities. A Thanksgiving meal for a family of four, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, cost 31% more than last year’s. An expanding energy crisis presaged a problematical winter (see cover story page 29). In two New England states, Thanksgiving took particular lumps.

In Plymouth, Mass., where the holiday has been observed since 1621, disgruntled Indians insisted that this year’s traditional, Pilgrim-dominated celebration take long-overdue notice of who taught the English intruders to plant corn in the first place. The city’s religious sermon was delivered by an Indian, and the town pageant did not feature the usual costumed Pilgrims carrying muskets — a historical falsification, say the Indians, since the 17th century Chief Massosoit by keeping his peaceful pledge to the Pilgrim settlers all his life never gave them reason to carry guns.

In Rhode Island, where the whining high school student essay is traditionally adopted as the Governor’s official Thanksgiving proclamation, 17-year-old Mary Moran composed a sharp attack on “the absurdity of this holiday. Thanksgiving seems to be pretended, a farce, little more than an outdated tradition no one has yet found time to discard.” Said a dismayed Governor Philip Noel: “I could not sign that as an expression of my thinking. Everyone in this country has something to be thankful for.” He should not have been quite so dismayed, since Mary Moran’s essay went on to express the wish that people would relearn “the art of thankfulness,” by balancing their hopes against what they can realistically attain.

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