Georgia, dinner is ready!
Oh Mum, please not Mr. Shoemaker again.
Fall is here and we will soon gather for many celebrations and parties to welcome the change of season and the end of another year. Some with friends, some with family, and some with both. American traditions featuring food, fun, and a lot of extra calories. Culminating with the inevitable purchase of a treadmill in January.
May we all be thankful that our events will not feature any cuisine resembling the dearly departed Samuel Shoemaker.
This is in reference to that other famous Thanksgiving feast in American history, the account of the Donner Party. An ill-fated expedition to relocate to the West by way of the Hastings Cutoff.
Why did so many people choose to journey over an uncharted mountain range that would eventually force them to consume animal hides, tree bark, and even a few parts of their fellow travelers?
The same thing that tempts us towards get-rich-quick schemes or an unscrupulous shortcut to the top of the corporate ladder. Some argue it is ego or greed, but perhaps it is the result of living in a world that showcases what it does have and what we don’t have.
The lifestyles of celebrities occupy all forms of media. Their possessions and acquisitions are constantly held high in the limelight, causing many to say, “Ooh, I want that. I mean, I need that.” And they will have it by any means necessary.
It was the same for the Donner Party. They wanted so desperately to manifest destiny, they risked it all to get there just a little bit quicker than those who went by way of the Oregon Trail.
There were some – Edwin Bryant for one – who warned this new route was unproven and not safe. But much like the gas station attendant in the old horror movies, Bryant’s warnings were ignored.
Perhaps this morbid historical account may serve as a cautionary tale for us as we are soon to be bombarded with the advertising of shiny baubles and devices, guaranteed to make our lives better.
Enter Black Friday
Here we find hundreds of shivering shoppers gathered outside of Kohl’s, huddling together and eating packaged food. They are willing to turn on each other in an instant all the while hoping to be rescued. Rescued by someone wearing a polo shirt with a name tag and carrying a UPC scanner. Inside of the store are many boxes containing something special – something wonderful – something precious.
While the masses are trampling old people, getting into slap-fights over video games, and trying to save a whopping $5 on a quesadilla maker, my family and I will be safe and sound in our own version of Sutter Creek watching the chaos unfold on the news.
Lest we forget the lesson learned from the Donner Party, our Thanksgiving turkey shall henceforth be known as Mr. Shoemaker.
Who wants a leg?