An Early Thanksgiving Story (with many versus)

By Fred Prout

I’ve been quiet for a while. Among other reasons, I fell in love. Yeah, that too, but I also fell in love with last year’s Thanksgiving Story. I’ve tried and tried to put pen to paper but, I was so moved by the events chronicled in John Tucker’s story, nothing I tried to say came close to the emotions I felt in the hearing, revising and telling about John Tucker and his story. Since I started  my story telling, I’ve given you maybe sixty stories. Some, I’m proud to say, have been pretty damn good. A few mediocre. A couple absolute crap. For those of you who are new to my scribbles, I’m asking the gurus in charge to rerun last year’s story as a kinda prequel.

For those of you who are easily offended, now might be a good time to put this down and turn on The Price Is Right. Or maybe a NASCAR race.

This piece should be written for the anniversary of John Tucker’s death. But that’s in late November. By the time events of early November roll around, some of you may be cracking open the third case of Bud Light in celebration. Some of you might be trying to learn the words to O Canada. Very little in between. That’s the problem. There is simply no between.  I’ve taken the liberty of assuming that you all are aware of what’s been happening in our country. If I have over estimated anyone, please reread the previous paragraph.

John Tucker saw a lot in his life. Some good, some bad. Most of it in the between. He bore witness to many changes. I’m sure that ,like many of us, his politics wavered from center left to center right and back again. I’m pretty sure that he never went too far from the center part. People who knew him said he was always open minded. John Tucker was a private person. No one knew him well but, in talking to a whole lot of people he interacted with, I learned a lot. There are also a lot of blanks to fill in.

John Tucker lived through a time when he was in school and his non Caucasian friends were considered three fifths of a person. He heard stories about aunts, uncles and cousins being incinerated like trash. Not human. Garbage.

As a child John Tucker watched TV as the cowboys massacred the Indians. Guns versus bow and arrows. As an adult, his best friend was an Ojibwa Indian. He didn’t find it entertaining.

John Tucker lived in a time when Polio, measles and other diseases were eradicated. Gone forever. Wiped out. And he watched helplessly as they started coming back. John Tucker lived through the most recent scourge. Covid. He waived his right to inflict pain, suffering and death to others by doing what he was told.And he believed he  was right. Others decided to listen to the naysayers. They got sick and maybe passed the virus on to others. Maybe their own children. Because someone said they had the right to do so.

John Tucker lived in a time when school children were shot and killed en masse. He lived in a time when school children did the shooting. A time when it was perfectly acceptable to provide the necessary equipment to cause these tragedies. John Tucker felt very pained by this because he also was a killer. Licensed and trained by his government. Before they gave him a medal and kicked him to the curb. Before he got up and became a hero to many of us. A large part of our lives.

John Tucker lived through a time when, in fact, our country was truly United. Against a common enemy. It was us versus them. Them being easily identified as the bad guys. He witnessed the beginning of  us versus us. Divisions so deep as to seem insurmountable. He applauded when a wall came down. He watched as many of his countrymen begged for a wall to be put up. He lived in a time when we voted for people to serve us, not themselves. 

We, as what we call the Human Race, have always been divided. Us versus them. Rich versus poor. Romans versus Christians. Jews versus Muslims. Them versus us. Black versus white. Extremist versus extremist. You and I caught in the middle. In the between. We try to live our lives and do the right thing. We try to teach our children to do the same. All the while, being bombarded with distorted words and ideas that  cause hate and confusion.  And more hate.  And more division.

What can be done? I don’t really know. But maybe we can try. Personally, I am in a relationship with someone who has some values and thoughts that are diametrically opposed to mine. We understood this in the beginning and decided that we would respect each other’s views. That neither of us had to be right. Or wrong.That we would accept each other as we are and love each other for who we are. Maybe we all, one by one, can have a conversation with someone we disagree with and just talk. Let them know that you don’t agree with all they stand for, but neither of you is wrong. Or right. Just different. How could it hurt. Maybe if someone would just start. One conversation at a time. What do you think? Wanna talk?

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10 Responses to An Early Thanksgiving Story (with many versus)

  1. Joan Larson says:

    WOW !! Fred, you hit the nail squarely on the head. Only you could have written that and I echo every word.

  2. Barbara Russell says:

    Wow, Fred, what a great story. Thank you. And I’m happy for your new relationship. Take care, keep sharing your thoughts.

    Barbara Russell #129

  3. Rockey Shanahan says:

    I have missed your thoughts and the articles that you write from those thoughts. This is a great one, keep them coming. Rockey Shanahan #62

  4. Eric says:

    My own ‘philosophy’, (if you can call it that), is that “If I like you I couldn’t care less about your skin tone(s), ancestry, place of birth, sexual orientation, blah, blah, blah, ad infinitum……..and if I DON’T like you, then rinse & repeat”.

    My oldest/longest friend, of ~57 years now, was born in an internment camp for the Japanese in British Columbia during WWII. We don’t agree on everything; politically I am inclined to feel that he, (and his unfortunately late wife), are/were of the Peter Pan-ish “If you clap your hands Tinker Bell will fly again” cadre….whereas I am…well, not…… à chacun son goût.

    In summary I suppose that I clearly confess to my own ‘easily identifable perfection’, while not disparaging others for their failure to keep up. 😉

    (As an addendum it should be noted that, in various parts of the world, (that yes, I have been to/spent time in), the populace have invariably been indoctrinated since childhood, and that, no matter how I’d initially be inclined to feel an affinity with one/some of them I’d never fully trust them due to that, virtually unshakable, residual inculcation.)

  5. Olivia Moriarity says:

    Fred! I’ve missed your stories! I love how some of them can have me wiping my eyes from tears of laughter, yet others touch my heart and have me wiping my eyes with actual tears. Let’s meet for a cup of Joe and talk! ~ Liv

  6. Kate Bright says:

    Fabulous, Fred. I mourn for the days when we reached across the aisles, and solved problems.

  7. Anita C. says:

    So glad to have you back. Miss all your great stories. You hit the nail on the head with this one

  8. Gwen says:

    Like John Tucker, I too long for those days where a handshake meant you both stood on your word which was trustworthy. We need to bring back that old song “We are the World, we are the Children.”

  9. Edith Vondall says:

    Like others I have missed your stories. Most important that you have a special someone to love. Love and liking of each other would go a long way in helping the world.

  10. Val Carano says:

    Well said!

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