Too many people mistakenly believe that the Europeans who bumped into America, by boat and by accident, were the first beings to colonize America’s coast. Other equally mistaken people believe that maybe the Vikings, or perhaps the Asians beat them to it by hundreds or even thousands of years.
But long before any of that, it was the beach nesting birds who owned the east coast of America. Today, school children are taught that the original Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. But, as any history buff with an overly active imagination will tell you, they actually landed on Plymouth beach. Plymouth Beach hosted a massive colony of Least Tern who had lived there so undisturbed for so many eons that the beach was covered completely in poo; almost three meters thick. The Pilgrims mistook this for a rock. A very, very, nasty rock.
Also hidden in history is the made-up fact that as the first leathered boot of the first European touched down on the beach, it stepped directly on a Least Tern nest, crushing both adorably speckled eggs. As they unloaded their gear, they crushed dozens more. Within hours the Pilgrims had colonized the beach completely, and had discovered the beach was the perfect place to relax and enjoy their favorite, Colonial, recreational games like Stool Ball (similar to Kan Jam(TM) but played with a ball of hair and a stool), Lacrosse (and early version of the game we play today which, back-then, consisted of beating each other with tennis-like rackets), and ‘Taint The Devil Twixt Ye (which just sounds like a Pilgrim game and was added for effect). Soon people started driving their horses along the beach just because it was fun to take them off road. By late afternoon tens of thousands of Terns had abandoned the site. The colony collapsed within a week.
But most likely you already know all of this, and RFTNS is not here to give a history lesson. The purpose is to take a moment to remember that America’s Original Colony was a colony of Least Terns, and that the great tradition of Thanksgiving was originally theirs.
Thanksgiving is a hard and tricky holiday for some people, but can be made much less stressful and more enjoyable by heeding the valuable lessons of the adorable LETE. Over the next 48 hours I aim to share some itty-bitty wisdom from deep inside the colony, with the hope that sharing some of the things I’ve learned from them might help to keep someone’s holiday in check.