“La Grande Fete de Merci Donnant” Buchwald – reposted 2020

Thanksgiving-lessons-grades-prek-2-lesson-plan-16-9

"They landed at a place called Plymouth (once a famous voiture Americaine ) in a wooden sailing ship called the Mayflower (or Fleur de Mai ) in 1620. But while the Pelerins were killing the dindes, the Peaux-Rouges were killing the Pelerins, and there were several hard winters ahead for both of them. The only way the Peaux-Rouges helped the Pelerins was when they taught them to grow corn (mais). The reason they did this was because they liked corn with their Pelerins.

In 1623, after another harsh year, the Pelerins' crops were so good that they decided to have a celebration and give thanks because more mais was raised by the Pelerins than Pelerins were killed by Peaux-Rouges.

Every year on the Jour de Merci Donnant, parents tell their children an amusing story about the first celebration and "Kilometres Deboutish" (Miles Standish)" 

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/22/opinion/22iht-edbuch.html 

————————

This secret (esoteric) history of the first Thanksgiving was discovered many years ago by Art Buchwald (a leader of the Brooklyn branch of the "Illuminati") whilst he was doing research in the catacombs located beneath the "Crazy Horse" saloon and "salle des danseuses" in Paris (France) (as opposed to Paris, Virginia). The document had lain there moldering amid the cast off "caches sexes" and empty cheese crates for centuries (maybe).

Buchwald successfully penetrated the exoteric "surface"of the text itself to reveal its true meaning. This technique of discerning the inner truth of history had been acquired by Maitre Buchwald while studying at the feet of a great scholar of such matters in Peoria, Illinois (or somewhere out there in the middle of the country) perhaps during his internship at the University of Chicago?

Here, he shares his wisdom with us.

(PS)  There is a legend that Buchwald found a note from Brigadier General Sir Harry Flashman VC left with the detritus to the effect that Sir Harry had discovered these materials and had gathered them in the basement for some future use.  Presumably Flashman never returned for them, but this story may be apocryphal.

PL 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Flashman

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82 Responses to “La Grande Fete de Merci Donnant” Buchwald – reposted 2020

  1. Avatar Curious says:

    ‘Jour de Merci Donnant’? Hmmm, tasty. Taste just like chicken.
    (Happy Turkee day peeps. aka. Jour de Merci Donnant)

  2. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Curious
    Ah! A recognition signal for one of your confreres?
    pl

  3. Avatar matt says:

    Excellent ….!!! I never knew Buchwald (may he rest in peace) was a disciple of Leo ….:-)
    Happy Thanksgiving to all.

  4. Avatar JLCampos says:

    I remember quite well this article many many years ago. Particularly the translation of Miles Standish into Kilometres Deboutish.

  5. Avatar Jose says:

    French involvement in Thanksgiving?
    How anti-American…lol
    Happy Thanksgiving to all!!!

  6. Avatar The beaver says:

    In Québec, Thanksgiving is known as “Action de Grâce” as opposed to the old French “Jour du Merci Donnant”

  7. Avatar Allen Thomson says:

    > In Québec, Thanksgiving is known as “Action de Grâce”
    Slightly belatedly, but
    http://lialdia.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/accion_de_gracias.gif

  8. Avatar Patrick Lang says:

    AT et al
    My wife’s ancestry.com hobby has led her back on my mother’s side to one Jehan Boucher born Paris 1479. pl

  9. Avatar Allen Thomson says:

    Just a question, as I’m not French or Hispanic or Catholic. But the phrase Action/Accion de Grâce/Gracias sounds rather Catholic to me.
    Is it?

  10. Avatar Charles I says:

    Surely you meant Paris Ontario where I attended a very illuminating dinner & fire ceremony this Saturday past. Red faces abounded as one tale after another of younger more er, fervid, past celebration was trotted out entertain the crowd and embarrass the formerly thankless.
    Thank you to wags everywhere

  11. Avatar Phil Cattar says:

    Miles Standish is my double great grandfather to about the 11th degree.Believe it or not.

  12. Avatar turcopolier says:

    PC
    John and Priscilla Alden and her parents were ancestors of mine and Maureen. Also one Richard Warren. PL

  13. Avatar Mike Martin, Yorktown, VA says:

    My mother was convinced that her father, being a Brewster, was descended from Elder William Brewster of the Mayflower. Could be. This year, my wife and I will “donnant merci” for becoming grandparents. Happy Thanksgiving to all and an extra slice of pumpkin pie for our host here.

  14. Avatar 11B40 says:

    No pedigree here, my own ancestry best being described as “dubious”. But I grew up on Art Buchwald’s columns and so offer seasonal thanks for reuniting me with one of the classic works of an all-time favorite.
    And whilst here, happiest of holidays to this fine Committee!

  15. Avatar turcopolier says:

    11b40
    My puritan ancestors evidently couldn’t stand the other Yankees and kept moving west away from them across the Great Plains until they reached the Pacific. pl

  16. Fred Fred says:

    I started feasting early by sautéing up some venison steaks. (The only casualty was bambi – don’t tell PETA).

  17. Avatar turcopolier says:

    fred
    You beast! What’s your recipe? pl

  18. Fred Fred says:

    These were just some thin ones from last season. I used a touch of Lawry’s season salt, garlic and some pork bbq rub along with onions in a splash of olive oil. Simple but turned out quite nice. I’m having some ham for Thursday. Sadly not a true Virginia ham. I’ll have to stop by your meat specialist next time I’m down that way.

  19. Avatar Charles I says:

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving folks, and thanks for being out there to thank.

  20. Avatar Herb says:

    We are then related. Very interesting!

  21. Avatar jon says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to one and all. And a happy Channukah as well. A most efficient holiday this year.
    Both sides of my family claim descent from John and Priscilla. I imagine that about half the WASPs in the US probably have those prolific kids somewhere in their trees. Precious little of that original flinty Puritanism to be seen these gays, at least in its original, religious sense. I’m glad their institution of the appreciative Fall feast caught on.
    Buchwald was a national treasure. There wwere often great truths in his humor, and wonderful humor in his reporting.

  22. Avatar turcopolier says:

    jon
    I think I read that there are several million descendants of John and Priscilla, among them you and me. pl

  23. Avatar Charles I says:

    Happy Thanksgiving folks.

  24. Avatar Charles says:

    All,
    I have always been reluctant to research my family tree as I am pretty sure some of my ancestors are probably hanging from the limbs.
    Art Buchwald was a 20th Century Mark Twain.
    Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.
    Regards,

  25. Avatar Ishmael Zechariah says:

    Colonel Lang, SST;
    Happy Thanksgiving 2013 to you and yours.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  26. Avatar Bobo says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to All & enjoy your day.
    Somehow when the Puritans landed and met Samoset the English speaking Indian with a little Irish
    Brougue there was also an Irishman there selling his wares and all receded to the local Chinese Restaurant.

  27. Avatar BabelFish says:

    A most Happy Thanksgiving to all.

  28. Avatar Mark Gaughan says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

  29. I too am descended from the Aldens. Another one of our distant cousins is UC Berkeley economist Brad DeLong.
    One of my cousins was doing geneological research at the Nova Scotia Archives and was told, “We’re all related – even the Chinese.”

  30. By the way, spouse and self enjoyed the non-meat Holiday Roast from Trader Joe’s again this year – it really is quite delicious.

  31. Avatar turcopolier says:

    MC PhD
    I have gotten to the point that I eat little and little of that is meat.. What was in that roast. We probably have several hundred descendants of the Aldens on SST. Which of their children are your come from? pl

  32. The Pilgrims at Plymouth Plantation long over-rated as the first permanent settlers in America. Without the skills of the English language speaking SQUANTO [an amazing story in itself] no Plymouth Plantation.
    As to Jamestown settled in 1607 despite 347 lost to the ravages of attack by native-Americans its impact greater on American life.
    The City of Boston, however, alone rivaled the Virginia Colony on its influence on American life IMO!

  33. Avatar McGee says:

    Happy Thanksgiving Pat!
    Thanks for the wonderful Art Buchwald piece. Hadn’t thought of him in years! FYI we’re spending Turkey Day at my wife Nancy’s family home in Little Compton, RI, where aforesaid Priscilla Alden is buried. Nancy’s a Mayflower descendant and also related to Richard Warren – small world!

  34. Avatar Wyoming says:

    Wow. Lot’s of cousins around today. I am also related to the Alden’s as well as Miles Standish and many others from that time.
    We are sounding a bit inbred I think.
    And, like pl’s snippet below, my ancestors also kept moving west as soon as possible. Family legend is that they were a little too intense in their fundamentalist beliefs and were ‘invited’ to move on from Plymouth eventually.
    I’m not sure what this all portends about the readership of this blog….perhaps pl will have to think on the implications of that.

  35. Avatar turcopolier says:

    Wyoming
    “We are sounding a bit inbred I think.” I’m sure you have a lot of other stuff in you as I do. pl

  36. Avatar Degringolade says:

    Happy Thanksgiving Everyone:
    I always enjoys the variations on the Fleur de Mai theme. However, since my forebears came over as transportees (apparently poaching) or much later in steerage, the holiday is just a great reason to overeat and watch football.

  37. Avatar HankP says:

    Col. Lang –
    Any relation to the Poissant dit Dessalines of Quebec? That’s my wife’s family.

  38. Avatar Stephanie says:

    Thank you for re-posting this. Buchwald was one of a kind. I remember fondly his column explaining that he wasn’t invited to Grace Kelly’s wedding because of the ancient feud between the Grimaldis and the Buchwalds. (An invitation arrived in short order.)
    Happy Thanksgiving, all.

  39. Avatar MRW says:

    “Family legend is that they were a little too intense in their fundamentalist beliefs and were ‘invited’ to move on from Plymouth eventually.”
    Considering that most of the people on the Mayflower were kicked out of England for their fundamentalism–watched a BBC show about this–your relatives must have been real fundies. 😉

  40. Avatar Ryan says:

    Other than the word “Thanksgiving”, this post has nothing to do with Art Buchwald. This is the only time I’ll get to tell this little story, so I’ll seize the moment!
    In the autumn of 1976 I was stationed in Germany at the lovely kaserne known as Grafenwoehr. The 7th Army commander was a gentleman named Blanchard. The good general decided to spend his Thanksgiving by visiting his troops at their various commands. We were blessed as such by his present during lunch hour and I consider myself lucky to have had his aide de camp with at our four chair table as a guest.
    It should be noted that the battalion mess section was probably the division’s worst. Despite the best efforts to the battalion commander division wouldn’t make any personnel changes.
    The general’s aide was an affable 1st Lt who proceeded to pepper us with the usual question, that is, “what’s your name”, “where are you from”, etc.
    When he was done I took the occasion to ask him a question. “Sir, may I ask you a question, please?” The LT was busily consuming the excellent meal and without looking up he replied “yes, you may, specialist.” My question was this: “sir, would it be possible to bring back Gen. Blanchard more often, please?” He stopped eating and looked up at me and asked “why? with a suspicious look on his face. “It’s like this sir. The only time this messhall serves such fine fare is when a general officer shows up for some reason.”
    I don’t remember his reply as this was many years ago. It was something noncommittal follow by him rapidly finish up his meal, the table wrapped in silence.
    As for that messhall it eventually took the divisional commander’s direct involvement (i.e., he ate there) to straighten this problem out.
    Happy Thanksgiving , all.

  41. Avatar turcopolier says:

    Ryan
    I ate in enlisted mess halls most of my life as a dependent, enlisted man and officer and the food was uniformly excellent. IMO you are just a sorehead who didn’t like being drafted and who crapped on this lieutenant in revenge. pl

  42. Avatar turcopolier says:

    Hank P
    Never heard of them. pl

  43. Avatar CaliHalibut says:

    Happy thanksgiving to all, specially to Col Lang and the rest of SST team for running this great blog 🙂

  44. My apologies for the extreme lateness of this reply.
    1)The roast was the the Trader Joe’s store brand version of Tofurky – the meat analogue is made from soybeans and wheat protein (gluten). We had it again this year. More recently, I have been putting the “italian sausage” Tofurky product on pizza – it’s good, in my opinion.
    2)It is a different relative that has the family tree info on hand, so I can’t say which child of John and Priscilla was my ancestor – however, one point of interest is that their descendant/my ancestor went from New England to Nova Scotia in the 1750s after the expulsion of the Acadians (see Wikipedia “New England Planters”), so my father was both an immigrant, from Canada, as well as a Mayflower descendant.

  45. Avatar Haralambos says:

    Thank you for this, Col. Lang. I always look forward to this every year from you for the day. For those who might find themselves outside the US for the day, I offer the following that might help in ordering your turkey. Here in Greece it is called γαλοπόυλα, in France Dinde,in Portugal Peru, and in Esperanto meleagro. I have only had occasion to order in a national language, but I find the names interesting “food for thought” on where the birds were thought to have originated and how the names might have been encountered. Happy Thanksgiving to all.

  46. Avatar turcopolier says:

    Haralambos
    As I recall, the turkey bird is called “deek habashi” (Ethiopian Cockrel) in some parts of the Arabia Peninsula. I have no idea why. BTW, as I have several times mentioned John Alden and Priscilla Mullens are among my 9th great grandparents. pl

  47. Avatar Haralambos says:

    Col., I consulted this after I posted: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_names_for_turkeys
    It is rather interesting. I can only speculate regarding your mention of John Alden and Priscilla Mullens in your reply. I imagine you or your wife’s genealogical research pulled up my name in the family tree. One of my brothers carries Alden as his middle name, and the other has Card as his. As a child, I often attended the Alden family kindred reunions in the summer. A second cousin on my mother’s Card side was the family genealogist. Our surname is Chatel from our French-Canadian paternal grandfather. I am Robert since no one could understand his name (Telesphore) when he immigrated to the US. My father was named Robert to save him the fuss. French-Canadian friends told me that Telesphore was a common name, which makes sense to me with my study of Greek–“carried far” as you will know better than I. Best wishes and Be well, H

  48. Avatar turcopolier says:

    Haralambos
    I do not do genealogy. My wife does. As you know every generational step back in time doubles the number of lines. she is obsessed with some of them and has not time to even look at many others. If you have at least one English Puritan line from the founding of New England then you are lucky because so much quality research (as well as trash) has been done on those people and many of them were of Norman descent with the obvious European connections. You, I, and Walrus are probably related in several ways caused by the original small gene pool in New England. He, too, had Mayflower ancestors. His mother was American. I also have an Irish line that came from Meath and Louth. They were of Scottish Catholic descent having left the West Highlands in 1697 to escape the clutches of King William. In Ireland they were freeholders. They moved with a group of relatives to St. Lawrence County, New York in 1828. SWMBO can’t find the ship they came on. It bothers her. She doesn’t trust Irish genealogists and won’t consult them. My wife agrees that Telesphore was a common given name in French Canada. She has done a great deal of work on parish records in French Canada. pl

  49. Avatar Ishmael Zechariah says:

    In Turkey, we call this bird “Hindi” (from India). I guess folks thought this exotic creature came from India. Happy Thanksgiving day to all.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  50. Avatar Henshaw says:

    Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Have a rest, catch your breath, and recharge your batteries for the exciting times to come.

  51. Avatar jayinbmore says:

    Happy thanksgiving all. I am grateful for many things, among them the opportunity to be continually educated by the committee. This year I would especially like to be thank Tyler for demonstrating how often the classics matter.

  52. Avatar LeaNder says:

    But the phrase Action/Accion de Grâce/Gracias sounds rather Catholic to me.
    Serious?
    Considering your above linked cartoon, as a kid the Eucharist felt uncomfortably cannibalistic to me too. Ok, maybe cannibalistic wasn’t really the first thing that came to mind. What about the teeth, maybe? … That problem no doubt is a lot lesser with a turkey. 😉

  53. Avatar turcopolier says:

    LeaNder
    You are unfamiliar with the overwhelmingly Catholic nature of French Canada? The Eucharist is “cannibalism?” I require respect here for the religious beliefs or lack of them of others, even those of Germans protestants. pl

  54. Avatar LeaNder says:

    You are unfamiliar with the overwhelmingly Catholic nature of French Canada?
    Not really. … But surely not as familiar of the larger context in Canada (the US?) as you want me to be. Québécois?
    Today it reminded me of the Protestant priest, once upon the time, that had put his newborn child among the usual items celebrating harvest, thanking for it, in other words. He had to leave his parish shortly after. The church council got rid of him. …
    Second, I was once again not realizing that this is not a recent contribution. And please don’t ask me why. But this is a distinct memory around my first communion. Really felt a little uncomfortable, what do with the teeth. …
    ******
    I should give up wasting your time.

  55. Avatar turcopolier says:

    LeaNder
    You are supposed to chew the host. The over all religiosity of Canada has little to do with that of Quebec. pl

  56. Avatar LeaNder says:

    The over all religiosity of Canada has little to do with that of Quebec. pl
    didn’t suppose it did was. … But no, I never was familiar with the larger struggle, beyond glimpses….
    Did I miss the deeper and more important layers of Art Buchwald’s tale? That wouldn’t be a surprise to me.

  57. Avatar Croesus says:

    I was approaching Medicare when I fully took aboard the realization that I am a first generation American. We had ravioli and braciole before the turkey course.
    Happy Thanksgiving to the Col. for this Committee, and to all those American who took the risks and the efforts to create this USA, warts and all.

  58. Avatar McGee says:

    Hi Pat,
    Thanks ever so much for sharing that! First read it in Heidelberg back in the 60’s back when it was originally published in the Trib. Loved it then and love re-reading it again.
    Priscilla and John’s daughter Elizabeth is buried in my wife’s family burial ground in Little Compton, Rhode Island (my wife’s ancestors came over on the Mayflower and settled there back in the mid-1600’s). Just sent the Buchwald piece to our children who summered in Little Compton and just celebrated our family Thanksgiving with us there.
    Thanks again and hope you and yours had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  59. Avatar turcopolier says:

    McGee
    Hello again. Elizabeth Alden is my 8th great grandmother. pl

  60. Avatar Ishmael Zechariah says:

    Col. Lang and all of SST,
    Greetings and Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  61. Pat Lang et. al.,
    Happy Jour de Donnant Merci! I have a rather dim recollection of reading the original column in the Washington Post in ca. 1964. Does that sound Right?
    WPFIII

  62. Avatar GeneO says:

    My bride is in the kitchen now whipping up the meringuée topping for the pie. Not by hand, but she is using a 50-year old electric beater by GE that she bought in the PX back when the kids were just babies.

  63. Avatar Haralambos says:

    Does this help answer your question? http://tinyurl.com/y9cdfnn8
    Click on the link with the newspaper column: ‘On the fourth of November, 1953, his “Europe’s Lighter Side” column was a Frenchified fractured fairy-tale explanation of the day, le Jour de Merci Donnant, populated with Pilgrims (Pèlerins) and Indians (les Peaux-Rouges) in le Nouveau Monde.’

  64. Avatar dilbert dogbert says:

    Here is a bit of Thanksgiving history from Brad Delong”
    https://youtu.be/rVQqQuOO9yQ
    The Harper’s were from the Plantation of Ulster and the Powell’s were English. Also have McKeons, MacFersons and Sellers wandering around in the gene pool.
    The Harper’s left Ulster for America when the English landlords found the Irish would pay higher rents. They came as whole family units with livestock and all.
    Great grandpa McKeon came to California in the gold rush. Too bad he did not write of his history. I sometimes my weird character comes from the mixture of the Orange and the Green.
    Had a nice day with a couple of of the children and a grand child.

  65. Avatar Max says:

    Up here in Canada, we do Thanksgiving in October. The Quebecers call it “Action de Grace…” which sounds a little like a French Kung Fu move.

  66. Avatar Rodney says:

    Funny. All it reminds me of is “The Knife” by Peter Gabriel and Genesis.

  67. Avatar Croesus says:

    Based solely on the fact that my Italian mother had a ‘cherry nose’, I’ve convinced myself we are descended from Cicero.
    Buon giorno del ringraziamento, Col. Lang and All.

  68. Avatar Terence Gore says:

    Art Buchwald Mon Dieu!
    Takes me back to the days of my newspaper route.
    found this quote through google another of my favorite columnists
    “Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Half-times take twelve minutes. This is not coincidence.”
    Erma Bombeck

  69. Avatar walrus says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to all!

  70. Avatar Serge says:

    2 years already since I last saw this,and 5 since I first saw it! Happy thanksgiving to all

  71. Avatar BrianP says:

    Always suspected that you were an in-bred lot across the pond. Happy Thankgiving to you all.

  72. Avatar Vegetius says:

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone

  73. Avatar turcopolier says:

    BrianP
    Another humorless prig heard from.

  74. Avatar ISL says:

    Dear Colonel, Thanks for the nostalgic trip through Thanksgiving (comments) pasts.
    I have coho salmon and local rock fish filets ready to grill, while the wife put together Cacciucco (Italian fish soup), all from the local fish market (supporting local fishermen).
    Happy Thanksgiving to all.

  75. Avatar Petrel says:

    Seems the President flew to Mar-a-Lago, dropped off his wonderful family and flew on to Afghanistan. He is there now.

  76. Avatar elaine says:

    Colonel, Re: to chew or not to chew the host in the sacrament John 19:33,
    John 19:36, Psalm 34:20, Exodus 12:46 & Numbers 9:12 = no chewing as “Not
    a bone of His body was broken.” That’s my interpretation anyway & how I
    was taught. Can’t believe I jumped into the middle of this debate.
    Happy Thanksgiving to all.

  77. Avatar Barbara Ann says:

    Bonne fête 2020 to all at SST.

  78. Avatar JohninMK says:

    Charles, that is part of the fun.
    I found an ancestor that was a privateer, a licensed pirate allowed to prey on mainly French and Spanish ships. When he retired he set up a factory in Limehouse, England, making turtle soup for the gentry.

  79. Avatar Ed Lindgren says:

    Despite the well regarded recommendation of a close friend, I have yet to read any of George MacDonald Fraser’s Flashman novels.
    However, I did read GMF’s memoir of his World War II service as a rifleman in General Slim’s 14th Army in Burma and also very much enjoyed his McAuslan trilogy.
    COL Lang – As events play out over the next couple of months, I sincerely hope you decide to keep SST alive. The ‘Committee of Correspondence’ is one of a handful of websites that I visit daily. I seldom contribute, but find your posts and virtually all of the comments thought provoking and relevant to the issues of the day.
    A belated wish for a happy and healthy Thanksgiving to all SST readers and contributors!

  80. Avatar English Outsider says:

    Colonel – Ed Lindgren’s request above earnestly seconded. Apart from the fact that it’s the best informed site going – it’s also great fun.

  81. If you like Flashman you might like this series about his ancestor Thomas. Pretty good and a worthy inclusion in eh canon IMO
    https://www.amazon.ca/Robert-Brightwell/e/B00771EBYG/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

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