Thankfulness

Cat 243 Doverby Mary Jo

All Americans are taught about the first Thanksgiving—English puritan settlers thankful for surviving are joined by the friendly Indians who’d help them to share a celebratory feast. 

While the story has been mythologized and there are different claimants for the first American Thanksgiving—and the Canadians have origin stories of their own—the idea of the shared feast of thankfulness is a lovely metaphor for community and diversity.

800px-Thanksgiving-Brownscombe, Jennie Browsncombe

But Thanksgiving is also part of the ancient and near universal custom of the harvest festival.  As Wikipedia says:

HerefordLantern“Harvest festivals typically feature feasting, both family and public, with foods that are drawn from crops that come to maturity around the time of the festival. Ample food and freedom from the necessity to work in the fields are two central features of harvest festivals.”

Yep, that’s an American Thanksgiving.  The aim is to eat ourselves into a stupor and then nap, watch football, or wonder how many pieces of pumpkin pie are left. <G>  (That's a corn dolly above.  I have a much longer one hanging on the door of my office as a souvenir of years in England.)

In olden days, thankfulness for a good harvest was much more visceral, since if the food supply wasn’t good, it would be hard getting through the winter.  The old, the young, the weak might die. 

Thanksgiving_grace_1942No wonder celebrating the food supply had a strongly religious character!  In the Church of England, there are Harvest Sunday services that fall near the Harvest Moon, with produce brought into the churches and often distributed to the needy later.

In the US, Thanksgiving is more secular, though there’s a gently spiritual quality to the holiday.  By coincidence, as I was writing this blog, I found that my friend Hannah Lee had just posted a relevant piece on her blog, A Cultural Mix  talking about the ways she and her family have celebrated and given back for Thanksgiving. 

I like Thanksgiving because it’s not about presents.  It’s about food and friends and EssexTerretfamily, all things I enjoy.  And the ancient roots of a community joining in celebration are still present as we reach out to invite friends and perhaps even relative strangers to join us in sharing the feast.

Here are a few of the things I’m thankful for:

1) The abundant food of the feast, and that I live in a time and place where a bad harvest won't mean a winter of death.  I’m also grateful for the warm, relaxed celebration in my home.  Holidays can be stressful, even agonizing, so our relaxed DSCN0456get togethers, where we all contribute food and there are no obsessively high standards or football games, is a delight. 

2) Autumn—I like the changing seasons, and Maryland does four distinct seasons beautifully, from the bleak midwinter through glorious spring, voluptuous summer, and the poignant, colorful beauty of autumn.  (I grew up in Upstate New York, where the seasons tend to be winter and July, so I don’t take four seasons for granted. <G>)

3) The love of reading—booklovers are lucky people because we can enter into other worlds, and escape into them when necessary.  We also have minds well-furnished with trivia.  As an author, of course I think that’s a good thing!

4) Companion animals—pets enrich our lives.  Cats are my first choice, but dogs, Lacey on sofabirds, gerbils, and other critters can bring great joy.  I’m even willing to accept that those who love reptiles find them very rewarding.  <g>  (That's my Elusive Lacey on the right.)

 

4) Brief moments of connection with strangers—the smiles and laughter that occur when two people almost run into each other at the grocery store, or you drop something and a stranger picks it up and returns it, or you and the cashier share a joke and a smile that are fleeting but true for that moment. 

5) Flowers—because they’re pretty, of course!  I love the cascading colors on my deck in the summer, or any time. (That's a corner of my deck in high summer.)

DSCN06106) Travel–these days it's possible to go almost anywhere in the world, and to see interesting things and people.  And I'm trying to get to as many of those placesl as possible!

6) The amazing fact that I can make a living as a storyteller.  Is that lucky or WHAT?!!

I could go on, but that’s enough about me.  What things are you thankful for?  Large or small, obvious or unexpected.  For at least one day a year, it’s good to remember our blessings, and be grateful for them.

Santorini--wall nicheHave a warm and wonderful holiday–

Mary Jo

95 thoughts on “Thankfulness”

  1. An absolutely lovely,lyrical post, Mary Jo. It’s hard to try to match the high notes (you’ve touched on all the important stuff)
    But I’ll just add I’m thankful for writing, not only because it lets me tell my stories, but also for the wonderful friends I’ve made through it.
    And I’m thankful for memories—the places I’ve been the people I’ve known who are no longer here. All the things that have enriched my life and made me who I am today.

    Reply
  2. An absolutely lovely,lyrical post, Mary Jo. It’s hard to try to match the high notes (you’ve touched on all the important stuff)
    But I’ll just add I’m thankful for writing, not only because it lets me tell my stories, but also for the wonderful friends I’ve made through it.
    And I’m thankful for memories—the places I’ve been the people I’ve known who are no longer here. All the things that have enriched my life and made me who I am today.

    Reply
  3. An absolutely lovely,lyrical post, Mary Jo. It’s hard to try to match the high notes (you’ve touched on all the important stuff)
    But I’ll just add I’m thankful for writing, not only because it lets me tell my stories, but also for the wonderful friends I’ve made through it.
    And I’m thankful for memories—the places I’ve been the people I’ve known who are no longer here. All the things that have enriched my life and made me who I am today.

    Reply
  4. An absolutely lovely,lyrical post, Mary Jo. It’s hard to try to match the high notes (you’ve touched on all the important stuff)
    But I’ll just add I’m thankful for writing, not only because it lets me tell my stories, but also for the wonderful friends I’ve made through it.
    And I’m thankful for memories—the places I’ve been the people I’ve known who are no longer here. All the things that have enriched my life and made me who I am today.

    Reply
  5. An absolutely lovely,lyrical post, Mary Jo. It’s hard to try to match the high notes (you’ve touched on all the important stuff)
    But I’ll just add I’m thankful for writing, not only because it lets me tell my stories, but also for the wonderful friends I’ve made through it.
    And I’m thankful for memories—the places I’ve been the people I’ve known who are no longer here. All the things that have enriched my life and made me who I am today.

    Reply
  6. Lovely post, Mary Jo. I wish we had Thanksgiving or some equivalent in Australia, but it’s not even harvest time yet – we’re just sliding into summer.
    I do like the idea of a relatively secular holiday that’s about friends and family and community, and generally being thankful for what we have.

    Reply
  7. Lovely post, Mary Jo. I wish we had Thanksgiving or some equivalent in Australia, but it’s not even harvest time yet – we’re just sliding into summer.
    I do like the idea of a relatively secular holiday that’s about friends and family and community, and generally being thankful for what we have.

    Reply
  8. Lovely post, Mary Jo. I wish we had Thanksgiving or some equivalent in Australia, but it’s not even harvest time yet – we’re just sliding into summer.
    I do like the idea of a relatively secular holiday that’s about friends and family and community, and generally being thankful for what we have.

    Reply
  9. Lovely post, Mary Jo. I wish we had Thanksgiving or some equivalent in Australia, but it’s not even harvest time yet – we’re just sliding into summer.
    I do like the idea of a relatively secular holiday that’s about friends and family and community, and generally being thankful for what we have.

    Reply
  10. Lovely post, Mary Jo. I wish we had Thanksgiving or some equivalent in Australia, but it’s not even harvest time yet – we’re just sliding into summer.
    I do like the idea of a relatively secular holiday that’s about friends and family and community, and generally being thankful for what we have.

    Reply
  11. Cara/Andrea–
    You’re so right about writing being a blessing (even when one wants to pull one’s hair *g*), and the friends made in writing are pearls beyond price. I could easily have listed the Word Wenches as one of the things I’m thankful for.

    Reply
  12. Cara/Andrea–
    You’re so right about writing being a blessing (even when one wants to pull one’s hair *g*), and the friends made in writing are pearls beyond price. I could easily have listed the Word Wenches as one of the things I’m thankful for.

    Reply
  13. Cara/Andrea–
    You’re so right about writing being a blessing (even when one wants to pull one’s hair *g*), and the friends made in writing are pearls beyond price. I could easily have listed the Word Wenches as one of the things I’m thankful for.

    Reply
  14. Cara/Andrea–
    You’re so right about writing being a blessing (even when one wants to pull one’s hair *g*), and the friends made in writing are pearls beyond price. I could easily have listed the Word Wenches as one of the things I’m thankful for.

    Reply
  15. Cara/Andrea–
    You’re so right about writing being a blessing (even when one wants to pull one’s hair *g*), and the friends made in writing are pearls beyond price. I could easily have listed the Word Wenches as one of the things I’m thankful for.

    Reply
  16. Anne–
    From what you’re saying, I gather that Australia has more of the Harvest Sunday kind of celebration? And of course it wouldn’t be for another six months since your seasons are opposite. I hadn’t really thought of it, but it’s our own holiday that is so specifically tied to a season.
    A secular holiday of friends and thankfulness is indeed a fine custom. Australia needs one! Tomorrow, my family and friends will lift a glass of turkey-friendly pinot noir to you and your countryfolk!

    Reply
  17. Anne–
    From what you’re saying, I gather that Australia has more of the Harvest Sunday kind of celebration? And of course it wouldn’t be for another six months since your seasons are opposite. I hadn’t really thought of it, but it’s our own holiday that is so specifically tied to a season.
    A secular holiday of friends and thankfulness is indeed a fine custom. Australia needs one! Tomorrow, my family and friends will lift a glass of turkey-friendly pinot noir to you and your countryfolk!

    Reply
  18. Anne–
    From what you’re saying, I gather that Australia has more of the Harvest Sunday kind of celebration? And of course it wouldn’t be for another six months since your seasons are opposite. I hadn’t really thought of it, but it’s our own holiday that is so specifically tied to a season.
    A secular holiday of friends and thankfulness is indeed a fine custom. Australia needs one! Tomorrow, my family and friends will lift a glass of turkey-friendly pinot noir to you and your countryfolk!

    Reply
  19. Anne–
    From what you’re saying, I gather that Australia has more of the Harvest Sunday kind of celebration? And of course it wouldn’t be for another six months since your seasons are opposite. I hadn’t really thought of it, but it’s our own holiday that is so specifically tied to a season.
    A secular holiday of friends and thankfulness is indeed a fine custom. Australia needs one! Tomorrow, my family and friends will lift a glass of turkey-friendly pinot noir to you and your countryfolk!

    Reply
  20. Anne–
    From what you’re saying, I gather that Australia has more of the Harvest Sunday kind of celebration? And of course it wouldn’t be for another six months since your seasons are opposite. I hadn’t really thought of it, but it’s our own holiday that is so specifically tied to a season.
    A secular holiday of friends and thankfulness is indeed a fine custom. Australia needs one! Tomorrow, my family and friends will lift a glass of turkey-friendly pinot noir to you and your countryfolk!

    Reply
  21. I love Thanksgiving because it:
    1) Reminds me to be thankful. There are times I’m far better at whining, and I need the reminder that I do in fact have much to be thankful for.
    2) Involves lots of food that I like. There’s something about the Thanksgiving feast that gives great comfort — all the tryptophan perhaps?
    3) Is a holiday for everyone. Many of my co-workers were born in other countries and are of other religions, and on this holiday that does not matter because it is in part about inclusion, as portrayed in the stories of the first Thanksgiving dinner.

    Reply
  22. I love Thanksgiving because it:
    1) Reminds me to be thankful. There are times I’m far better at whining, and I need the reminder that I do in fact have much to be thankful for.
    2) Involves lots of food that I like. There’s something about the Thanksgiving feast that gives great comfort — all the tryptophan perhaps?
    3) Is a holiday for everyone. Many of my co-workers were born in other countries and are of other religions, and on this holiday that does not matter because it is in part about inclusion, as portrayed in the stories of the first Thanksgiving dinner.

    Reply
  23. I love Thanksgiving because it:
    1) Reminds me to be thankful. There are times I’m far better at whining, and I need the reminder that I do in fact have much to be thankful for.
    2) Involves lots of food that I like. There’s something about the Thanksgiving feast that gives great comfort — all the tryptophan perhaps?
    3) Is a holiday for everyone. Many of my co-workers were born in other countries and are of other religions, and on this holiday that does not matter because it is in part about inclusion, as portrayed in the stories of the first Thanksgiving dinner.

    Reply
  24. I love Thanksgiving because it:
    1) Reminds me to be thankful. There are times I’m far better at whining, and I need the reminder that I do in fact have much to be thankful for.
    2) Involves lots of food that I like. There’s something about the Thanksgiving feast that gives great comfort — all the tryptophan perhaps?
    3) Is a holiday for everyone. Many of my co-workers were born in other countries and are of other religions, and on this holiday that does not matter because it is in part about inclusion, as portrayed in the stories of the first Thanksgiving dinner.

    Reply
  25. I love Thanksgiving because it:
    1) Reminds me to be thankful. There are times I’m far better at whining, and I need the reminder that I do in fact have much to be thankful for.
    2) Involves lots of food that I like. There’s something about the Thanksgiving feast that gives great comfort — all the tryptophan perhaps?
    3) Is a holiday for everyone. Many of my co-workers were born in other countries and are of other religions, and on this holiday that does not matter because it is in part about inclusion, as portrayed in the stories of the first Thanksgiving dinner.

    Reply
  26. Hi Mary Jo, Pat et al: I think your group blog is one of the best for us historical freaks. Are any of you members of the Historical Novel Society? Their next convention is in London, and I’ve committed to go. (Gee that was a hard decision–not!)
    Anyway, a restful and wonderful Thanksgiving to all of you, including thanks for your efforts in Word Wenches and your lovely books. –Best!
    Karen Harper

    Reply
  27. Hi Mary Jo, Pat et al: I think your group blog is one of the best for us historical freaks. Are any of you members of the Historical Novel Society? Their next convention is in London, and I’ve committed to go. (Gee that was a hard decision–not!)
    Anyway, a restful and wonderful Thanksgiving to all of you, including thanks for your efforts in Word Wenches and your lovely books. –Best!
    Karen Harper

    Reply
  28. Hi Mary Jo, Pat et al: I think your group blog is one of the best for us historical freaks. Are any of you members of the Historical Novel Society? Their next convention is in London, and I’ve committed to go. (Gee that was a hard decision–not!)
    Anyway, a restful and wonderful Thanksgiving to all of you, including thanks for your efforts in Word Wenches and your lovely books. –Best!
    Karen Harper

    Reply
  29. Hi Mary Jo, Pat et al: I think your group blog is one of the best for us historical freaks. Are any of you members of the Historical Novel Society? Their next convention is in London, and I’ve committed to go. (Gee that was a hard decision–not!)
    Anyway, a restful and wonderful Thanksgiving to all of you, including thanks for your efforts in Word Wenches and your lovely books. –Best!
    Karen Harper

    Reply
  30. Hi Mary Jo, Pat et al: I think your group blog is one of the best for us historical freaks. Are any of you members of the Historical Novel Society? Their next convention is in London, and I’ve committed to go. (Gee that was a hard decision–not!)
    Anyway, a restful and wonderful Thanksgiving to all of you, including thanks for your efforts in Word Wenches and your lovely books. –Best!
    Karen Harper

    Reply
  31. Hi, Karen–
    How lovely to “see” you! I’ve heard the Hstorical Novel Association is great, and what better place for a conference than London? Since we have two English Wenches, this could be incentive for them to join.
    I hope you and yours have a lovely, unstressed Thanksgiving–

    Reply
  32. Hi, Karen–
    How lovely to “see” you! I’ve heard the Hstorical Novel Association is great, and what better place for a conference than London? Since we have two English Wenches, this could be incentive for them to join.
    I hope you and yours have a lovely, unstressed Thanksgiving–

    Reply
  33. Hi, Karen–
    How lovely to “see” you! I’ve heard the Hstorical Novel Association is great, and what better place for a conference than London? Since we have two English Wenches, this could be incentive for them to join.
    I hope you and yours have a lovely, unstressed Thanksgiving–

    Reply
  34. Hi, Karen–
    How lovely to “see” you! I’ve heard the Hstorical Novel Association is great, and what better place for a conference than London? Since we have two English Wenches, this could be incentive for them to join.
    I hope you and yours have a lovely, unstressed Thanksgiving–

    Reply
  35. Hi, Karen–
    How lovely to “see” you! I’ve heard the Hstorical Novel Association is great, and what better place for a conference than London? Since we have two English Wenches, this could be incentive for them to join.
    I hope you and yours have a lovely, unstressed Thanksgiving–

    Reply
  36. I’m thankful for my friend, Mary Jo, an acclaimed writer who thinks I’m doing just fine learning the craft of writing!
    Love,
    Hannah

    Reply
  37. I’m thankful for my friend, Mary Jo, an acclaimed writer who thinks I’m doing just fine learning the craft of writing!
    Love,
    Hannah

    Reply
  38. I’m thankful for my friend, Mary Jo, an acclaimed writer who thinks I’m doing just fine learning the craft of writing!
    Love,
    Hannah

    Reply
  39. I’m thankful for my friend, Mary Jo, an acclaimed writer who thinks I’m doing just fine learning the craft of writing!
    Love,
    Hannah

    Reply
  40. I’m thankful for my friend, Mary Jo, an acclaimed writer who thinks I’m doing just fine learning the craft of writing!
    Love,
    Hannah

    Reply
  41. Sherrie, here. Excellent post, Mary Jo! I am a great sentimental slob, but I’ll try not to get too gushy.
    I love Thanksgiving for a number of reasons, but one big one is that it makes people slow down and be kinder to one another. I also love it because it gives me an opportunity to get together for a day of good food and laughter with family. After we stuffed ourselves with turkey dinner on Thanksgiving, my sister and brother-in-law and I played several rowdy, laughter-filled games of Aggravation. I laughed so hard my stomach hurt!
    Another thing I am grateful for is the support and encouragement of friends. I’ve recently been diagnosed with cancer, and I’m flabbergasted (and deeply touched) by the compassion and support I’ve received from so many quarters, including the Word Wenches themselves.
    I’m also grateful for the wonderful wealth of information on the Internet. Instant gratification! Speaking of which, here is an incredible TEDtalk video on gratitude: http://tinyurl.com/4xxo9ly
    I am also thankful for the beauty of nature. The colors of fall leaves; the moon reflected on water; Mother Nature’s infinite shades of green; the melody of a songbird; the amazing colors of a sunset; the majesty of ancient trees; clouds; flowers; ferns … I could go on and on.

    Reply
  42. Sherrie, here. Excellent post, Mary Jo! I am a great sentimental slob, but I’ll try not to get too gushy.
    I love Thanksgiving for a number of reasons, but one big one is that it makes people slow down and be kinder to one another. I also love it because it gives me an opportunity to get together for a day of good food and laughter with family. After we stuffed ourselves with turkey dinner on Thanksgiving, my sister and brother-in-law and I played several rowdy, laughter-filled games of Aggravation. I laughed so hard my stomach hurt!
    Another thing I am grateful for is the support and encouragement of friends. I’ve recently been diagnosed with cancer, and I’m flabbergasted (and deeply touched) by the compassion and support I’ve received from so many quarters, including the Word Wenches themselves.
    I’m also grateful for the wonderful wealth of information on the Internet. Instant gratification! Speaking of which, here is an incredible TEDtalk video on gratitude: http://tinyurl.com/4xxo9ly
    I am also thankful for the beauty of nature. The colors of fall leaves; the moon reflected on water; Mother Nature’s infinite shades of green; the melody of a songbird; the amazing colors of a sunset; the majesty of ancient trees; clouds; flowers; ferns … I could go on and on.

    Reply
  43. Sherrie, here. Excellent post, Mary Jo! I am a great sentimental slob, but I’ll try not to get too gushy.
    I love Thanksgiving for a number of reasons, but one big one is that it makes people slow down and be kinder to one another. I also love it because it gives me an opportunity to get together for a day of good food and laughter with family. After we stuffed ourselves with turkey dinner on Thanksgiving, my sister and brother-in-law and I played several rowdy, laughter-filled games of Aggravation. I laughed so hard my stomach hurt!
    Another thing I am grateful for is the support and encouragement of friends. I’ve recently been diagnosed with cancer, and I’m flabbergasted (and deeply touched) by the compassion and support I’ve received from so many quarters, including the Word Wenches themselves.
    I’m also grateful for the wonderful wealth of information on the Internet. Instant gratification! Speaking of which, here is an incredible TEDtalk video on gratitude: http://tinyurl.com/4xxo9ly
    I am also thankful for the beauty of nature. The colors of fall leaves; the moon reflected on water; Mother Nature’s infinite shades of green; the melody of a songbird; the amazing colors of a sunset; the majesty of ancient trees; clouds; flowers; ferns … I could go on and on.

    Reply
  44. Sherrie, here. Excellent post, Mary Jo! I am a great sentimental slob, but I’ll try not to get too gushy.
    I love Thanksgiving for a number of reasons, but one big one is that it makes people slow down and be kinder to one another. I also love it because it gives me an opportunity to get together for a day of good food and laughter with family. After we stuffed ourselves with turkey dinner on Thanksgiving, my sister and brother-in-law and I played several rowdy, laughter-filled games of Aggravation. I laughed so hard my stomach hurt!
    Another thing I am grateful for is the support and encouragement of friends. I’ve recently been diagnosed with cancer, and I’m flabbergasted (and deeply touched) by the compassion and support I’ve received from so many quarters, including the Word Wenches themselves.
    I’m also grateful for the wonderful wealth of information on the Internet. Instant gratification! Speaking of which, here is an incredible TEDtalk video on gratitude: http://tinyurl.com/4xxo9ly
    I am also thankful for the beauty of nature. The colors of fall leaves; the moon reflected on water; Mother Nature’s infinite shades of green; the melody of a songbird; the amazing colors of a sunset; the majesty of ancient trees; clouds; flowers; ferns … I could go on and on.

    Reply
  45. Sherrie, here. Excellent post, Mary Jo! I am a great sentimental slob, but I’ll try not to get too gushy.
    I love Thanksgiving for a number of reasons, but one big one is that it makes people slow down and be kinder to one another. I also love it because it gives me an opportunity to get together for a day of good food and laughter with family. After we stuffed ourselves with turkey dinner on Thanksgiving, my sister and brother-in-law and I played several rowdy, laughter-filled games of Aggravation. I laughed so hard my stomach hurt!
    Another thing I am grateful for is the support and encouragement of friends. I’ve recently been diagnosed with cancer, and I’m flabbergasted (and deeply touched) by the compassion and support I’ve received from so many quarters, including the Word Wenches themselves.
    I’m also grateful for the wonderful wealth of information on the Internet. Instant gratification! Speaking of which, here is an incredible TEDtalk video on gratitude: http://tinyurl.com/4xxo9ly
    I am also thankful for the beauty of nature. The colors of fall leaves; the moon reflected on water; Mother Nature’s infinite shades of green; the melody of a songbird; the amazing colors of a sunset; the majesty of ancient trees; clouds; flowers; ferns … I could go on and on.

    Reply
  46. I heard a Brit take on the Puritans somewhere or other – QI, probably – the gist of it was that Americans falsely believe that the Puritans left England to gain religious freedom, when they didn’t, actually; they left in order to restrict religious freedom. Although England had a state church, it had general religious freedom at that time and the Puritans didn’t like that; they wanted a homogeneous community, strict observance, no non-Puritans allowed.
    Since we all read and love novels set in England, I thought that very interesting.
    I too have a list of things I’m thankful for, too long to write here. Off the top of my head, though, I’m thankful for the family I had and the members of it that I still have; the lifelong friendships; cats and dogs; good books; great dramas to watch; good health, physical comfort, the sun in the morning and the moon at night.

    Reply
  47. I heard a Brit take on the Puritans somewhere or other – QI, probably – the gist of it was that Americans falsely believe that the Puritans left England to gain religious freedom, when they didn’t, actually; they left in order to restrict religious freedom. Although England had a state church, it had general religious freedom at that time and the Puritans didn’t like that; they wanted a homogeneous community, strict observance, no non-Puritans allowed.
    Since we all read and love novels set in England, I thought that very interesting.
    I too have a list of things I’m thankful for, too long to write here. Off the top of my head, though, I’m thankful for the family I had and the members of it that I still have; the lifelong friendships; cats and dogs; good books; great dramas to watch; good health, physical comfort, the sun in the morning and the moon at night.

    Reply
  48. I heard a Brit take on the Puritans somewhere or other – QI, probably – the gist of it was that Americans falsely believe that the Puritans left England to gain religious freedom, when they didn’t, actually; they left in order to restrict religious freedom. Although England had a state church, it had general religious freedom at that time and the Puritans didn’t like that; they wanted a homogeneous community, strict observance, no non-Puritans allowed.
    Since we all read and love novels set in England, I thought that very interesting.
    I too have a list of things I’m thankful for, too long to write here. Off the top of my head, though, I’m thankful for the family I had and the members of it that I still have; the lifelong friendships; cats and dogs; good books; great dramas to watch; good health, physical comfort, the sun in the morning and the moon at night.

    Reply
  49. I heard a Brit take on the Puritans somewhere or other – QI, probably – the gist of it was that Americans falsely believe that the Puritans left England to gain religious freedom, when they didn’t, actually; they left in order to restrict religious freedom. Although England had a state church, it had general religious freedom at that time and the Puritans didn’t like that; they wanted a homogeneous community, strict observance, no non-Puritans allowed.
    Since we all read and love novels set in England, I thought that very interesting.
    I too have a list of things I’m thankful for, too long to write here. Off the top of my head, though, I’m thankful for the family I had and the members of it that I still have; the lifelong friendships; cats and dogs; good books; great dramas to watch; good health, physical comfort, the sun in the morning and the moon at night.

    Reply
  50. I heard a Brit take on the Puritans somewhere or other – QI, probably – the gist of it was that Americans falsely believe that the Puritans left England to gain religious freedom, when they didn’t, actually; they left in order to restrict religious freedom. Although England had a state church, it had general religious freedom at that time and the Puritans didn’t like that; they wanted a homogeneous community, strict observance, no non-Puritans allowed.
    Since we all read and love novels set in England, I thought that very interesting.
    I too have a list of things I’m thankful for, too long to write here. Off the top of my head, though, I’m thankful for the family I had and the members of it that I still have; the lifelong friendships; cats and dogs; good books; great dramas to watch; good health, physical comfort, the sun in the morning and the moon at night.

    Reply
  51. Janice–the Brit had a point in that the Puritans were not exactly poster children for tolerance, but he’s less than well informed about religious freedom in Britain in the early 17th century. A brief cruise of Wikipedia (not always a perfect source, but generally informative) produced this quote:
    “Under the 1559 Act of Uniformity, it was illegal not to attend official Church of England services, with a fine of 12d (£0.05; 2005 equivalent: about £5)[3] for each missed Sunday and holy day. The penalties for conducting unofficial services included imprisonment and larger fines. Under the policy of this time, Barrowe and Greenwood were executed for sedition in 1593.”
    So, not perfect religios freedom for those disenters! The Catholic Emancipation Act, which removed a lot of legal discriminations against Catholics, didn’t pass until 1829, and dissenters (members of Protestants groups other than Church of England) were also less than fully free.
    The Pilgrims had reasons for leaving England!

    Reply
  52. Janice–the Brit had a point in that the Puritans were not exactly poster children for tolerance, but he’s less than well informed about religious freedom in Britain in the early 17th century. A brief cruise of Wikipedia (not always a perfect source, but generally informative) produced this quote:
    “Under the 1559 Act of Uniformity, it was illegal not to attend official Church of England services, with a fine of 12d (£0.05; 2005 equivalent: about £5)[3] for each missed Sunday and holy day. The penalties for conducting unofficial services included imprisonment and larger fines. Under the policy of this time, Barrowe and Greenwood were executed for sedition in 1593.”
    So, not perfect religios freedom for those disenters! The Catholic Emancipation Act, which removed a lot of legal discriminations against Catholics, didn’t pass until 1829, and dissenters (members of Protestants groups other than Church of England) were also less than fully free.
    The Pilgrims had reasons for leaving England!

    Reply
  53. Janice–the Brit had a point in that the Puritans were not exactly poster children for tolerance, but he’s less than well informed about religious freedom in Britain in the early 17th century. A brief cruise of Wikipedia (not always a perfect source, but generally informative) produced this quote:
    “Under the 1559 Act of Uniformity, it was illegal not to attend official Church of England services, with a fine of 12d (£0.05; 2005 equivalent: about £5)[3] for each missed Sunday and holy day. The penalties for conducting unofficial services included imprisonment and larger fines. Under the policy of this time, Barrowe and Greenwood were executed for sedition in 1593.”
    So, not perfect religios freedom for those disenters! The Catholic Emancipation Act, which removed a lot of legal discriminations against Catholics, didn’t pass until 1829, and dissenters (members of Protestants groups other than Church of England) were also less than fully free.
    The Pilgrims had reasons for leaving England!

    Reply
  54. Janice–the Brit had a point in that the Puritans were not exactly poster children for tolerance, but he’s less than well informed about religious freedom in Britain in the early 17th century. A brief cruise of Wikipedia (not always a perfect source, but generally informative) produced this quote:
    “Under the 1559 Act of Uniformity, it was illegal not to attend official Church of England services, with a fine of 12d (£0.05; 2005 equivalent: about £5)[3] for each missed Sunday and holy day. The penalties for conducting unofficial services included imprisonment and larger fines. Under the policy of this time, Barrowe and Greenwood were executed for sedition in 1593.”
    So, not perfect religios freedom for those disenters! The Catholic Emancipation Act, which removed a lot of legal discriminations against Catholics, didn’t pass until 1829, and dissenters (members of Protestants groups other than Church of England) were also less than fully free.
    The Pilgrims had reasons for leaving England!

    Reply
  55. Janice–the Brit had a point in that the Puritans were not exactly poster children for tolerance, but he’s less than well informed about religious freedom in Britain in the early 17th century. A brief cruise of Wikipedia (not always a perfect source, but generally informative) produced this quote:
    “Under the 1559 Act of Uniformity, it was illegal not to attend official Church of England services, with a fine of 12d (£0.05; 2005 equivalent: about £5)[3] for each missed Sunday and holy day. The penalties for conducting unofficial services included imprisonment and larger fines. Under the policy of this time, Barrowe and Greenwood were executed for sedition in 1593.”
    So, not perfect religios freedom for those disenters! The Catholic Emancipation Act, which removed a lot of legal discriminations against Catholics, didn’t pass until 1829, and dissenters (members of Protestants groups other than Church of England) were also less than fully free.
    The Pilgrims had reasons for leaving England!

    Reply
  56. **wasn’t it the religious freedom in the Netherlands that the puritans disliked? ”
    Not that I’ve ever heard. I’m not an expert in this historical period, but from what I’ve read, the English Pilgrims had trouble with the language and customs of the Dutch, and thought their morals too lax, among other reasons. So the problem was less religious freedom (which they’d wanted), than it was the challenges of living in a foreign country where employment was difficult and the kids were going native. A lot of factors were in play, I think.

    Reply
  57. **wasn’t it the religious freedom in the Netherlands that the puritans disliked? ”
    Not that I’ve ever heard. I’m not an expert in this historical period, but from what I’ve read, the English Pilgrims had trouble with the language and customs of the Dutch, and thought their morals too lax, among other reasons. So the problem was less religious freedom (which they’d wanted), than it was the challenges of living in a foreign country where employment was difficult and the kids were going native. A lot of factors were in play, I think.

    Reply
  58. **wasn’t it the religious freedom in the Netherlands that the puritans disliked? ”
    Not that I’ve ever heard. I’m not an expert in this historical period, but from what I’ve read, the English Pilgrims had trouble with the language and customs of the Dutch, and thought their morals too lax, among other reasons. So the problem was less religious freedom (which they’d wanted), than it was the challenges of living in a foreign country where employment was difficult and the kids were going native. A lot of factors were in play, I think.

    Reply
  59. **wasn’t it the religious freedom in the Netherlands that the puritans disliked? ”
    Not that I’ve ever heard. I’m not an expert in this historical period, but from what I’ve read, the English Pilgrims had trouble with the language and customs of the Dutch, and thought their morals too lax, among other reasons. So the problem was less religious freedom (which they’d wanted), than it was the challenges of living in a foreign country where employment was difficult and the kids were going native. A lot of factors were in play, I think.

    Reply
  60. **wasn’t it the religious freedom in the Netherlands that the puritans disliked? ”
    Not that I’ve ever heard. I’m not an expert in this historical period, but from what I’ve read, the English Pilgrims had trouble with the language and customs of the Dutch, and thought their morals too lax, among other reasons. So the problem was less religious freedom (which they’d wanted), than it was the challenges of living in a foreign country where employment was difficult and the kids were going native. A lot of factors were in play, I think.

    Reply

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