Making Waves: The first Thanksgiving

It was 300 years or more, Pilgrims landed on a shore. And made it through a winter there, barely with enough to share.

Can you see that meager feast as they sat down with the least. English Pilgrims stern and straight, before the first Thanksgiving plate.


At the table beneath the trees, trembling hands in winter’s freeze.

Strangers in a foreign land, fear and Bibles in their hand.

When one stood up to carve the bird a rustle in the bush was heard, and suddenly before their eyes, stood a savage strange surprise!

A frightened pause as hearts they beat, each Pilgrim turned, all on their feet. Before them as they held their gun

Stood the savage American!

Half-naked, bare, with painted face. With feathered hair they stood with grace.

Indians 10 feet away! What would the black-robed Pilgrims say?

The silence was a 100 years, as they all stood in trembling fear.

The Indians’ eyes dark as night, had they come to feast or fight?

Should they accept these Americans? Put down the tomahawk and gun?

They knew God was watching when they saw one savage start to grin. The ice was broken, hearts they slowed, as understanding slowly flowed.

They’d come to dinner that was clear, nothing savage here to fear.

The Pilgrims and the pagans smiled, from the bushes Indians filed. And took

That first and final step,

In their hearts the word, “Accept.”

They walked in, stood and bowed. Laughs were heard, they joked out loud. Indian braves, tattooed, half bare shook hands with all the Pilgrims there! Children played beneath the trees. All talked with ease.

As friends were made and tales were told, Thanksgiving dinner soon grew cold.

They all laughed, drums they beat, and everyone forgot to eat.

No one gave thanks for anything, all they did was laugh and sing. The food they really didn’t miss. They were hungry just for this

To be together on the Earth is what Thanksgiving’s really worth. Accepting others’ way of living,

That’s the meaning of Thanksgiving.

Feel free to read this poem to friends and family. Happy Thanksgiving.

Dennis Gregory writes a bi-monthly column for West Hawaii Today and welcomes your comments at