I should have been a pilgrim. But not the regular kind that arrived half starved and scurvyfied aboard the Mayflower, and then wobbled ashore so they could, according to our venerable Wikipedia, "attend to long-deferred personal hygiene."
Um, no. But let's just pause to think about that for a minute. A hundred and two men and women cork-bobbing around the Atlantic for sixty-five days before making landfall. You'd think, in all that time surrounded by all that water, they'd have been inspired to take a dip or two. Swab the ol' armpits. Batten down the hair-balls. But apparently not.
And we wonder why the locals were less than thrilled to stand downwind of them folk?
No, no. I couldn't have been a firstie to this country. I'd have to have arrived with a later group. Say, on the June or Julyflower. Maybe even the Septemberflower. After everything had already been beaten into submission … er … civilized. You know, buildings built. A/C, central heating, and a direct connection to BBC America established. I should have been one of those pilgrims. Because I totally have the whole Put-Up-Food-For-the-Winter thing down, and those people would not have starved if I had been there.
First of all, I know how to can stuff. You know, peaches, pears, applesauce. Plums that start out as jelly but never seem to hit soft-ball stage so I cook them until they hit baseball stage then use them as a doorstop. A friend of mine taught me ages ago.
My first ever batch of peachy O'Henrys in a bottle? Perfect. Blemish-free. Dandelion-yellow. And they stayed that way for twenty years. Because I accidentally misunderstood and added 5 metric tons of citric acid to each quart instead of just a few teaspoons to the entire batch. So those peaches might have tasted like oranges, but they would have lasted the Pilgrims all winter. And I mean ALL of the winters. I'm pretty sure that in gratitude, those people would have named a peach variety after me: the Martha Purity Stewart Miller peach. You know, because Puritans had names like "Purity," and I would have been the Martha Stewart of … never mind.
And then there's salsa. You know Nathaniel Hawthorne's Hester Prynne and Arty Dimsdale had salsa in their diet. There wouldn't have been a book without it. Well salsa and me? We're just like this. And none of those Plymouth people would have gotten sick off of my chips and dip, because I boil the living shortcake out of the stuff until it's dead shortcake. And there ain't one blessed organism — bacterial or otherwise — within ten feet of those perfectly sealed Kerr jars. Pilgrims eating my food would have lived forever. Maybe a bit petrified, but still. Forever. And then this country would have had a population problem much earlier than now. Which would have led to global warming much earlier, leading to the end of the world much earlier, and all of our problems would have been zapped before man hit the moon. That, my friends, is Nobel Peace Prize material.
So I guess this month, as our nation is thinking about its blessings and getting ready to mix up batches of Foods the Wampanoags Never Showed Us How To Make, we should consider whether it's appropriate to commemorate a food-party that didn't originate with me. I kind of think we owe me a moment of silence for us having overlooked the contributions I would have made to our national peace and freedom had I been born four hundred years ago, and then seasicked myself across the ocean aboard the Octoberflower, and introduced Squanto and Pocahontas to glow-in-the-dark apple chutney.
Why don't we start right here, right now? Just communicate your gratitude to me via a moment of silence. It can be simple or complex. Feel free to publish it in my comments for all not to hear. Thank you.