Sunday, November 9, 2008

Pilgrims and Indians

So what do we do when October ends and we miss our costumes? Dress up for Thanksgiving of course! Last year Mary and Natalie proposed we have an authentic Thanksgiving out at the farm. The rest of us were easily persuaded, and so began preparations to gather in a cottage in the woods dressed as pilgrims and indians. It was a genuinely remarkable day and I'm incapable of capturing the feast for the eyes we experienced when we first entered the woodsy cottage, glowing with firelight, and filled with a cast of loved ones in traditional dress. It was an entirely sensory experience with the rustic surroundings and the faint smell of smoke and comfort food filling the air.

Jill and I later talked about how it felt like we had been transported to another time, when we walked in and saw Mary in her pilgrim garb hovering busily over the tables. I only wish I would've taken more pictures.

Natalie set beautiful tables that were simple, elegant and meaningful. The place cards were black and white photos of everyone in attendance; they were so striking next to the autumn colors.

She is really gifted when it comes to entertaining and making special occasions extraordinary. Before the prayer, we always begin with a few traditional hymns of Thanksgiving which brings a wonderful mood.

During dinner we were entertained by re-enactments and readings from real pilgrims like William Bradford and other fine characters. (William pictured above, seated on right)

I am convinced I brought the hunkiest warrior of them all. You should've seen him riding bareback on his horse! It was quite exhilarating for his squaw.

An inter-racial marriage--and it's working.

I love this photo of Jack with his gun; it looks so real to me.

Mother Rob. Cross-dressers were around even way back when.

I can only imagine how magical this whole experience was for the kids. I think they walked away with more appreciation for what Thanksgiving is all about and why and how it began.

After dinner we went outside for some real old fashioned fun. We divided into teams: Indians vs. Pilgrims. We shot bows and arrows and raced horses bareback around barrels. It was such a fantastic afternoon. I have such a visual of Chief dressed as "The Chief" galloping around those barrels, his head-dress bobbing up and down, as he brought home the victory to a dozen whooping Indians. It was a day filled with laughter and unforgettable moments.

Later that evening, we retired our duds, and met at Natalie's for warm pie and a talent show. The children all came prepared to perform; they each had something unique to share. This was such a perfect way to end an already beautiful day. One of my favorites was Little Johnny singing "I've Been Watching You, Dad" with Big Johnny, it was surprisingly touching and added depth to the warm feelings of the night. Thinking about this day fills me with immense gratitude to God for the love of dear friends and family that grace my life. I am blessed.


Ann Marie said...

First to comment?? Yay!

I feel like I am always saying the same old things, but WOW!!WOW!!

I love your Mother in laws enthusiasm to make every single month and holiday so much fun!!

I hope oneday when I am a Grandmother, I can even be 1/2 of what she is, and does for the family!!

Your families costumes all looked great! Loved your comment about your chief!

My favorite 2 things that I would love to incorporate into my home oneday is the black and white photos, and the HYMNS! Oh, why havent our families ever thought of doing that?? I LOVE it!!

Me said...

That was such a neat memory. Thanks for sharing that with us. I'm sure that everyone came away with a better appreciation of what really happened with the pilgrims and indians.

I would love to do something like that some day, but doubt that I ever will. I wouldn't even know where to begin. I guess for now, I'll just have to settle with helping my 2nd grader cut his pilgrim vest out of a brown paper sack and eat his 'Thanksgiving Feast' at school.

partii said...

Now if only we could pass around the "peace pipe" and really get into the mood....

Suzanne said...

As I am reading your post, I am like "Our Thanksgivings are Lame!" We don't even put decor on the table! If I only had a stash of cash, I would try to go to town like Natalie.

This year, I am spending Thanksgiving in Vegas with my family. My dad suggested going to a buffet for dinner. That is their idea of creativity! I can't blame them, they do make a great meal, but I am sure the slaving over the stove for hours is no treat!

Now, if I could just get my people to sing hymns............ -Suzanne

Jayne Layne said...

That looks so magical. I hope I get to experience that one of these days. I did dress up with you guys one year if you remember. 20 pounds heavier with bleach blonde hair...

Clint & Karen said...

Ah, Jennifer, I found your blog through Jill's today, and I'm just feeling homesick for the east. Okay, if Clint can ever get a job back in the East, can we ever be adopted into the Markoff/Miller clan? I think our best attempt at an authentic Thanksgiving dinner is spending a million billion dollars to go to Plymouth someday...
Karen (Rob's sister)

jill said...

What an AMAZING day that was! How did we get so lucky as to be associated with such ideal party planners?! Natalie really kicked butt on this one, I still can't believe what a glorious day it was. It all looked and felt so real.

careymc said...

so so cool, Jennifer! (I am in love with your in-laws' house, by the way). Your kids have such neat experiences. I agree with Jayne, magical! :)

Rebecca said...

My mom was just telling me about the amazing Markoff Thanksgiving traditions. I'm going to attempt to bring a little of this masterpiece into our own Thanksgiving, but I am sure the attempt will be pitiful in comparison! Thanks for sharing the pictures. Looks like SO much fun!