Fitz: Tucson's First Thanksgiving

2013-11-25T08:00:00Z 2013-11-25T18:20:07Z Fitz: Tucson's First ThanksgivingDavid Fitzsimmons The Arizona Daily Star​ Arizona Daily Star

Contrary to all the Plymouth Rock nonsense you were taught in school the first Thanksgiving  was celebrated in 1775 in Tucson at the base of “A” mountain, which was marked with a large “A” so the older relatives could more easily find the house. Padre Kino brought an adobe casserole, and Geronimo brought some cornbread made with Genuine Nothing Says Love Like Pocahantas’ Cornmeal. Presidio Commander Juan Smith brought a cask of Wild Turkey.

Celebrants gathered to share the season’s bounty of Mesquite Honey and fry bread with the the natives who taught them how to play the slots and, most importantly, introduced them to the wonder of modern air conditioning.

The great feast took place at the base of Sentinel Peak, just east of the Mission Convent site under a ramada owned by Mr. Furr. It eventually became Furr’s cafeteria.

That afternoon, before dinner the celebrants watched the Thanksgiving Day Parade which in 1776 consisted of a coyote chasing a bobcat chasing a rattlesnake chasing a tarantula chasing a black widow spider down an arroyo and into a box canyon. It was during this event that track side betting really took off for  the first time in the territory.The Coyote won and retired with his earnings to Saddlebrook.

After the games folks gathered around the table to enjoy the great feast which began with a prayer of thanks for rain, recliners and relatives smart enough to stay home.

Dinner consisted of a slow jackrabbit smothered in prickly pear sauce, with a side dish of prickly pear mash with a prickly pear fruit parfait followed by a platter of roasted prickly pears doused in a fine prickly pear sauce. The feast ended with a dessert of baked prickly pear.

After dinner the kids went outside to play “find the black widow spider” while the old folks swatted away the turkey vultures who mistook the slower seniors for leftovers. The men played football with a Gila monster until the Gila monster refused to let go of the center’s thumb. At this point a large flat rock had to come into play.

And then it was time for the most hallowed tradition of the day: the Blessing, which was delivered by aTohono O’Odham shaman, a Spanish Priest and Hugo, the drunk irish mercenary who wouldn’t shut up until the coyotes drowned out his bilious drivel with their howling. Regretfully, no one was there to hear the fine supplication.  Everyone had left to go shopping at the new Wal-Mart next to the Presidio Wall.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

About this blog

David Fitzsimmons is the Star's editorial cartoonist.

To reach Fitz call 520-573-4234 (office) or email him at tooner@tucson.com.

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