The Pilgrims are on Turner Classic Movies

Spencer Tracy and Gene Tierney


They travel to the New World in 1960s Technicolor

as I make my list of groceries for this year’s holiday dinner.

I cannot fathom taking this journey of faith,

much less experimenting with a new recipe on my daughter’s new in-laws.

The menu will include old favorites

and maybe something with yams (okay, and marshmallows)

to please my other daughter’s boyfriend.

And my husband will make the gravy

as he always does.

But nothing like this,

nothing like trying to hold the Mayflower together

during a stomach-churning storm,

or scraping my meager portion of oatmeal

into my child’s empty bowl

or losing all hope and faith,

or, even more unbelievable,

holding on to both.

I could never have been a Pilgrim.

I would not have bought into their pure belief

in beginning over in a New World.

But maybe I would have stood on the shore

as they began their journey,

kept watch

until the Mayflower was just a black fleck

on the horizon.

And I would have wished them well

as I walked back to my own small cottage,

ready to begin a new day,

looking forward to a visit from my daughters,

getting a bit more annoyed

by the politics of the day

and hoping my husband

might stoke the fire, make today’s gravy

and keep the bed warm all night.

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