Dianne McDonald: Embrace the Pilgrim within

Dianne McDonald

"Deck the halls with ...” oh, wait … wrong holiday. Is it just me or has anyone else noticed retailers skip Thanksgiving? The day after Halloween, stores began marketing Christmas.

I love Thanksgiving. I love the idea of people giving thanks for family, friends, food, football and all things fantastic. People tend to stop and reflect on the past and how society was formed.

This time of year Plymouth, Mass., becomes a Mecca for history buffs.

Rightly so.

In 1620 there was the famous arrival of The Mayflower.

Our foremothers and forefathers got the ancestral ball rolling with their arrival on our Massachusetts shores. The Winthrop fleet of 1630 brought 10 ships to multiple harbors along our Massachusetts coast. My American lineage began with the arrival of the Winthrop fleet’s flagship Arbella.

Imagine leaving your home and all of your “stuff” to go start over in a new and unchartered land. It’s like the reality show “Survivor,” but you don’t get to return to the creature comforts of your home after 30 days.

A domestic sphere remained intact as shelters were built, children were raised, land was tended, and relations were initiated with the native people who, respectively, resided here long before the colonists arrived.

Women played a great role in the relocation of their population.

The women then worked physically harder than I ever have. They were incredibly brave as pioneers in their new world. Women with big hearts and great minds helped forge the new colonies. Famed female writer Anne Bradstreet was amongst the talented women who penned poems and journals. There seemed a passion for freedom in those Pilgrim hearts.

They seemed to have a sincere thankfulness for survival and the blessings they had already; hence the holiday Thanksgiving.

Thank you to my umpt-teenth great grandparents Elizabeth and her husband Thomas Goldthwaite, passengers on the Arbella. I have great appreciation for your pioneering spirit. With reverent reflection, I promise to embrace the pilgrim within.

Patriot Ledger contributor Dianne McDonald is a working mother who lives in Marshfield, Mass., with her husband and five kids.