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November 20, 2018

Toms, Hens, Jimmies & Sooks, Who Was First?

Harry M. Covert

There is no reason, friends, to quibble over the celebration of the nation’s first Thanksgiving. No matter what revelers have spouted for years over the Mayflower landing in Yankee land, the lordly bounty at Plymouth was two years and 17 days late.

 

The Thanksgiving events actually began December 4, 1619, at Berkeley Plantation, on the banks of the James River, a horseback ride to Williamsburg, Virginia.

 

For those who like to amend American history, that first event started a 75-day period of prayer, no dining pleasures in banquet form. There were no known turkey legs with mashed potatoes and gravy and other goodies on hand that day.

 

I will not purport that Evangelical Christians were predominant in those days, nor led by vigorous Baptist elocutionists, the eager rambunctious preachers who know a thing or two about Heaven and Hades.

 

It was the old time of Anglicans 399 years ago from across the Atlantic, then considered fundamentalists, who conducted the prayer services reading from the Book of Common Prayer. It was not the Book of Common Prayer, the 1928 version, unfortunately.

 

In later years Thanksgiving Day feasts included Virginia’s Chickahominy and Pamunkey Indian Tribes and nine others. These Native Americans, federally recognized, still pay their tributes (taxes) to the Commonwealth. The infernal revenooers accept them.

 

While the nation prepares for this year’s festivities, the matter of the first and second day, since invaded by football games, is solved.

 

It was settled in 1963 by the New England President John F. Kennedy’s affirmative action. He declared Virginia celebrated the initial observation. The matter was confirmed by President George W. Bush. Gosh, at least we know it was bipartisan.

 

Of course, my teachers and professors knew their true history. It was clear in the “Story of Virginia” that began in grammar school.

 

One day a few years past, some Maryland chroniclers and archivists, not anarchists, intervened. They said the Free State had the honor of being first to provide piles of blue crabs, oysters, mussels and other tasties in Annapolis and Baltimore for Thanksgiving. There’s no reason to dispute this. I believe those celebrants in the northern coast have always enjoyed lobster delicacies. These delights are certainly not partisan and offer no reason for indelicate debate. Keep the butter dripping.

 

Any combination of seafood and turkey and the sides is out of this world and worthy of continuing forever and a day.

 

Through my intense search for facts, the most popular turkeys on the menu are females, the hens. The gobblers are the males. They are second best and used in turkey sausage. The hens are prime. That is no surprise, no matter which store is the seller.

 

For the record, male crabs are “jimmies” while females are “sooks.” Which are better? A crabber I know put it this way: males are generally bigger, but the females tend to be sweeter. How’s that? Obviously no surprise.

 

For the moment, let’s take a pass from all of the pillorying around the nation of matters politic. Even the heathens, they know who they are, can rest and enjoy food, fun and frolic.

 

hmcovert@gmail.com

 



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