A Technological Twist on the First Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 21, 1621 — Governor William Bradford wakes up on a cold, crisp morning in Plymouth to the sound of a text message. It’s from Tisquantum, one of the Wampanoag who helped him harvest corn yesterday. “Are you up?” it reads. Bradford slides out of bed and his feet hit the freezing dirt floor. I’ll respond later, he thinks.

Bradford changes into his linen shirt, stockings, and cloak. The sun is slowly starting to rise as he boils water for tea and listens to the news. His desktop is streaming KJBC, or King James Broadcasting Corporation. Cornelis Drebbel has just launched his submarine. Bradford laughs as the leather-wrapped underwater boat chugs along the Thames. No one’s going to have any use for that ship, he thinks. He opens up the shared “Treaty” document on Google Drive. Ousamequin Yellow Feather— aka Chief Massasoit—made several comments. John Carver countered nearly every single one of them, and in many instances, made the language even stronger.

Bradford adds a comment: “This is a treaty between two nations, Wampanoag and England. We need to protect each other from harm and violence, not create it. Please, let’s try to live together peacefully.”

He presses “Enter” and immediately his cell phone rings. It’s Carver.

“Good morning,” Bradford says.

“What do you think you’re doing?” Carver demands. “Why are you trying to wreak havoc on these people? Let’s not make things more tense than they already are. This is our land now, Bradford. Let’s just get this meal thing over with.”

Bradford sighs and hangs up and walks outside to see his wife, Dorothy, preparing the table with a massive spread.

“Is this really going to fill 113 people?” Bradford asks.

“I’m doing the best I can,” Dorothy says. “This article I read on Henrietta Maria Living says that when you throw big dinners like this, it’s rare that every single person is going to be eating at the same time. Usually people tend to dine in shifts.”

“If you say so. Have you seen Tisquantum?”

“He just went to join the rest of the Wampanoag to hunt for deer.”

“Sounds delicious.”

“Indeed, his grandmother just texted me an amazing venison seasoning recipe.”

“Can’t wait. I loved that photo you posted of you two picking berries.”

“Really? How come you didn’t ‘like’ it then?”

“Sorry, I’ve been too busy for social media. I’m just trying to negotiate this Treaty thing.”

Several hours later, dinner is nearly ready. The Pilgrims pile their plates with pumpkin, squash, fruits, clams, and fowl stuffed with herbs and onion. Chief Massasoit and his warriors are carrying five deer—all cooked, seasoned, and read to eat.

“We’re starving. Is there going to be enough food for all of us?” Massasoit asks.

“I made forty batches of that chestnut casserole you helped me harvest.”

“But there’s over a hundred of us!”

“In that case, I’ll place an order on that catering app.”