The Second Thanksgiving

While UFO's had been making sporadic visits for decades, it was not until a wintry December day that the first alien spacemen landed in southern Massachusetts to establish a permanent colony. They were grim-looking, colorless, vaguely hominoid creatures. While their ability to communicate with us was somewhat limited, they made it clear they had come in peace. They said they had "discovered" what they referred to as the "New World" several hundred years previously, but had been discouraged by the environment, which they found wildly inhospitable to their form of life.

Now, however, they were being persecuted by someone or something on their home planet and had thus determined to cross the incomprehensibly vast distances of interstellar space to build a new society. They asked only a few hundred acres of land, vowing to live quietly and harmoniously among us as brothers.

Initially, public opinion was divided. Some of us wanted to drive these aliens off with threats of force. But cooler heads prevailed. First of all, it was argued, these aliens had come in peace. And, secondly, they were armed with strange weapons that were far beyond our comparatively rudimentary technology. So we sent our best agronomists and environmental designers to teach them how to grow food and build shelters from the indigenous materials. As a result, they enjoyed a bountiful harvest and, to express their gratitude, invited our leaders to dinner. The sumptuous feast was held on the fourth Thursday of November (no one knows why). The President brought a dozen turkeys, a score of mince pies, and all the yams with marshmallow bits a creature could ask for. Amid pledges of eternal friendship, a grand time was had by all. Due to an attack of either indigestion or acute perfidy, the alien leaders arose after coffee and informed the President that, owing to the arrival of another 50 UFO's, the aliens would require a bit more territory--namely upstate New York, eastern Ohio, and Rockaway Beach. The result was the first Alien War.

While we were far superior in numbers and courage, we were no match for their weaponry. After a dozen bloody battles we were forced to surrender the Atlantic Seaboard in return for their promise of a lasting peace. But the aliens spoke with forked tongues. They broke every single treaty they ever signed with us. Gradually they drove us westward, ever westward. Gradually, they corrupted the morals of our youth with their alien ways. Gradually, they supplanted our native languages, arts, and lore with their alien culture. Gradually, their ugly, incomprehensible alien structures destroyed the very face of our native land.

I am writing this in my little one-room shack on the Mojave Desert American Reservation 65 miles north of Barstow. We Americans manage to make ends meet by performing some of our native dances, such as the Big Apple, the Twist and the Hully Gully for the amusement of passing tourists. And occasionally they'll buy one of our native artifacts, such as a pocket calculator or an electric pepper mill, at our trading post. Oddly enough, there's a fellow named Johnny Birdclaw up the dirt road from me who seems almost to enjoy the bitter plight we are in. I asked him directly the other day what provided him with so much pleasure. "I am simply delighted," he said, "to see that you have at least learned the greatest lesson in all of American history." "What's that, Johnny?" I inquired. "Never, ever," he said solemnly, "accept a Thanksgiving dinner invitation from a bunch of strangers."

--paraphrased from Art Hoppe with permission by Sakim & C. Simpson--
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