02 November 16  |  Events   |  

Thanksgiving Buffet at Golden Ocala is Scheduled for Nov. 24

Before we explore the traditional story of Thanksgiving (the 1621 one), we want to remind our members of our Thanksgiving buffet at Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club, set for Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 24. We promise you’ll thoroughly enjoy the scrumptiousness that we’re planning to set before you.

Now let’s delve briefly into history to discover the story of the first Thanksgiving – from both sides.

The story goes that Pilgrims and Indians merrily gathered at picnic tables with fine linen tablecloths in Plymouth, Massachusetts to enjoy delicious roast turkey, cheese grits and corn pudding, green beans with bacon and walnut-crusted pumpkin pie with whipped cream and later sat around overly contented on plump 17th century couches to watch football games. (OK, we’re exaggerating a little bit.)

First Thanksgiving May Have Looked Completely Different Than Tradition’s Version

While the story is filled with romanticized imagery of peaceful coexistence, a deep respect for cultural differences and mutual charity, most of it is probably fictitious, historians say.

President Abraham Lincoln even told the story of the first Thanksgiving as a way of assuaging a restless nation moving rapidly to violent conflict and division.

The underlying message of the story of the first Thanksgiving may resonate through generations as a moral cry for unity in potentially uncivil communities and as an individual directive to the human spirit to fashion an eternal attitude of gratitude. However, the actual events of the first celebration of Thanksgiving are covered over by the gloss of a fierce independence of proud people, a burning passion to embrace rugged freedom and a keen sense of the vulnerability of life on a brutal landscape.

While academics may tell rousing accounts of two very different peoples coming together and establishing a communal framework for the birth of a new nation state, few reliable accounts actually exist to give a true reckoning of what happened that day.

Pilgrim Edward Winslow wrote a letter, dated December 1621, to a friend: “Our harvest being gotten in, our Governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a more special manner rejoice together, after we had gathered the fruit of our labors.

“They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the Company almost a week, at which time, among other Recreations, we exercised our Arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest King Massasoit, with some 90 men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted and they went out and killed five Deer, which they brought to the Plantation and bestowed on our Governor, and upon the Captain and others.”

Thanksgiving Buffet at Golden Ocala

Pilgrims Were the Minority

While the stoic Pilgrims may have viewed Thanksgiving as a historic and gracious occasion, the Wampanoag Indians typically celebrated “thanksgiving” regularly.

“We as native people (traditionally) have thanksgivings as a daily, ongoing thing,” said Linda Coombs, associate director of the Wampanoag program at Plimoth Plantation. “Every time anybody went hunting or fishing or picked a plant, they would offer a prayer or acknowledgment.”

Despite depictions of the new white settlers traditionally taking the forefront in history books, the Pilgrims were in the minority.

“The Wampanoag, we sometimes forget, were the majority population,” Plimoth Plantation president Nancy Brennan told The Christian Science Monitor. “In the 19th and 20th centuries, Thanksgiving was really a tool for Americanization amid the great influx of immigration. It was supposed to bind this diverse population into one union.”

History aside, Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate the bounty and the blessings life has bestowed on each of us – especially as modern Americans.

Make reservations today for our Thanksgiving Day buffet at Golden Ocala by calling 629-6229. Seating is 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Ballroom and Raspberry’s. Fee is $50 for adults and $25 for children. To-go menus are available and must be ordered by Nov. 17.