11/27/08 — The first Thanksgiving ... according to first-graders

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The first Thanksgiving ... according to first-graders

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on November 27, 2008 1:46 PM

The very first Thanksgiving was a gala affair, which may have even been attended by some of your relatives.

At least that's what first-graders in Debbie Turner's class at Spring Creek Elementary School said.

In all fairness, the bird's eye view of the holiday came about just days before she actually dove into teaching about the holiday's importance and discussed it in detail.

That didn't seem to matter to those interviewed, however. Each seemed confidently knowledgeable on the subject.

"They gave a surprise, like flowers and stories and toys," said Daisy Lopez-Mendez.

"It took them three days to put the food on the table," added Kelli Mitchell.

James Cruse and Daniel Jimenez agreed on some of the items served -- water, chicken and milk.

"The Indians were pouring water," said Jett Zimmerman. "They ate. They put food on the table because they had Thanksgiving."

It was all about food, agreed Jeffrey Sellars. And Squanto.

"He was an Indian and he saved people," he said. "They set up things like tables and chairs. Then they ate Squanto's food -- turkey and chicken and beans and that's all."

After eating turkey, said Santos Lopez-Lucas, "They played games, they went to play. Indians and the Pilgrims worked together."

In fact, said Brendon Cox, "The Indians taught the Pilgrims how to buy the fish and make them grow."

Brendon had a lot of thoughts about the two groups that shared a meal that day. Such as the reason behind the first Thanksgiving

"Because they never had one," he said. "They thought it was November and it was November. It came to be Thanksgiving because they were thankful for everything. They sat down and ate. They were thankful for all the food and all the people who taught the Pilgrims to grow stuff."

Not everyone's thoughts turned to turkey, however.

"We eat turkey and ham," said Valerie Smith. "Then we celebrate Thanksgiving. They wanted to celebrate Thanksgiving so we can gather up as a family and eat."

"I eat hot dogs and turkey, ham and bologna and salad," said Jonathan Outlaw, who figured that's what the first settlers did as well.

One thing he's sure of, that there were lots of people at the first Thanksgiving.

"There were Indians catching fish and they ate it, and the Indians picked apples and oranges," he said.

It was also a spirited day of fun, said Alexander Del Valle Tiejo.

"They have turkey, games and they have water and other foods," he said.

In fact, it was called Thanksgiving "because it has a lot of things they eat for Thanksgiving," said Kenneth Hunter, washed down with "Pepsi and Mountain Dew and Dr. Pepper."

Allyson Smith said the reason for the big meal that day was simple -- "Because they were celebrating it, the very first Thanksgiving."

It's more than just an occasion set aside as a holiday, though. In fact, it's more than just one day.

"Thanksgiving lasts for three days," said Kyla Young. "They ate, they had to go get their own water and the Indians signed a paper that they wouldn't hurt the people from England and the people from England promised the Native Americans that they wouldn't hurt them."

Lest anyone forget, the day is also about family. And for some of the students, that is a tradition that likely began on the very first Thanksgiving.

"My grandparents got to come and everybody and their family got to come," said Tyler Kornegay. "They ate -- they had chicken, turkeys and ham.

"My granny and my sisters and my daddy were there. Oh, and my mama," said James Grimes.

Bet they'll have some lively conversation to share at the dinner table this year.