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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/775038-You-Bet-Yer-Life-Pilgrim
Rated: 13+ · Fiction · Holiday · #775038
“So they was Moonshiners then, not Pilgrims?”
You Bet Yer Life, Pilgrim



“Stuff that bird, Jimmy!”

“I’m a’stuffin’, Jethro, I’m a’stuffin’,” Jimmy mumbled with a mouth full of breadcrumbs. He shoved one handful of cornbread stuffing into the raw turkey, and then the next one into his face. Food shot-out of his mouth as he spoke. “Plus, I got the gizzard cooking up over thar in the fryin’ pan.”

“I’ll take the gizzard, Jimmy, you knows how I love them gizzards anyways.”

“I knows that you do, Jethro. But I’m a’gonna shove it back inside this here bird for that added touch of flavorin’.”

“Well, lawdy-daw! Whar’d you learn how to cook? I bet you never cooked a Thanksgiving Dinner in your whole dang life.”

“I was born with the know-how, Jethro, born with it, I tell ya! Heck, my cousins come over on the Mayflower. They landed right thar at Plymouth Rock.”

“Yeah, sure they did, Jimmy. More like it were Chevy Rock instead of a Plymouth.”

“You ain't got no sense, Jethro. Did I ever tell you the story 'bout my cousin ‘fore?”

“Now, come on, Jimmy, don’t start lying again.”

“This ain’t no lie this time, Jethro. This is the whole darn truth!”

“Oh, brother . . . .” Jethro rolled his eyes, and then settled in for a whopper.

“It all started over thar in that England place across the ocean. My kin and some other folks, got tired of how things was run over thar, and decided to set sail for the New World.”

“They was throw’d out is more like it.”

“Hush-up, Jethro, so’s I can tell the story! Crime-a-nittly, anyways.”

Jimmy kept working the turkey fixings as he talked. “As I was saying -- my kin boarded that thar ship called the Mayflower and drove it over here to America.”

“Now hold on one darn minute! Thar ain’t no road, Jimmy! I know that for a fact. They couldn’t drive, ‘cos thar ain’t no road!” Jethro glanced at the stove. “I think yer burning them thar gizzards, Jimmy.”

Jimmy ignored him and kept on talking. “I know thar ain’t no gall-dern roads, Jethro! The Mayflower's a boat. My kin sailed over here across the ocean waves!”

“How long did it take ‘em? And what’d they eat?”

“It was hard times back then. They hardly had any food at all, Jethro. Mostly what they carried was moonshine!”

“Moonshine! Gol-ly! Partytime on the Mayflower! I ain't never heard that one 'fore."

“They didn’t bring it just to drink it, you dim-wit, they brought it to trade with the Indians. Everybody knew how them Injuns loved to drink, so they a'figgered they could get all the food they wanted with a good ol' trade.”

“So they was Moonshiners, then -- not Pilgrims?”

“You know Jethro -- if you would just shut yer trap and listen, you just might be a’learning sumtin’ here. Crime-a-nittly! You know how John Wayne used to always say, ‘Hey thar, Pilgrim' and 'You betcha, Pilgrim', you know, stuff like that. Well, the Duke, got that thar idea from my kinfolk. They used to say stuff like that all the time, and that’s the honest truth.”

“Your kinfolk knew John Wayne?”

“Gehosaphat, Jethro! John Wayne wasn’t even a-born yet.”

“So, where’d he learnt that from then, huh?”

“From the Pilgrims, you idgit! And the Pilgrims a-learned it from the Indians. You see, after they landed they started a’trading right away. The Indians used to love to gamble after they got started in on drinking that thar moonshine; and they never saw’r nobody dressed-up like those Pilgrim’s a’fore. By golly, they a’figgered they had a whole new bunch of suckers to do some gambling with. But them thar Pilgrims didn’t have nothing -- nothing but that thar ol’ moonshine. So’s the Injuns got inta the habit of saying, ‘You bet your life, Pilgrim.’ So that’s what they bet. But they never-ever lost a single game to them Injuns, and they won lotsa food like: turkey; mashed potatoes and gravy; beets; corn and biscuits; and pumpkin pie. Them Pilgrims was real happy ‘bout how those Injuns kept giving and a’giving. And that’s how the whole thing got started -- Thanksgiving, I mean.”

Jimmy opened the oven door and slid the turkey in, then he slammed it shut again to indicate his story was over.

Jethro grabbed a fresh bottle of moonshine from the cupboard and passed it to Jimmy. “I always wondered where mashed potatoes and gravy come from, Jimmy.”

“From the Injuns -- whar else? Hey, you wanna play a little hand of poker while we’re a’waitin’ for that thar turkey ta cook?”

Jethro took a slug of moonshine then wiped his mouth on the back of his sleeve; a big smile stretched across his face. “Well, I ain’t got nothing to gamble with, Jimmy.”

“You can betcher life, Pilgrim.”

Both men laughed at that, then sat down at the small table and began to play cards.

“You know, Jimmy, I never took you for a Pilgrim.”

“Crime-a-nittly, Jethro, we’re all Pilgrims at heart! Now shut-up and deal.”

© Copyright 2003 W.D.Wilcox (wdwilcox at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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