DRUMSTICK #1: If you’re looking for a ploy to come out to your family this Thanksgiving, you might casually remark that according to “Biological Exuberance” by animal behavior specialist Dr. Bruce Bagemihl, the female domestic turkey often engages in same-sex courting and mounting activity before, during and after the holidays.
DRUMSTICK #2: Contrary to popular belief, the 102 Pilgrims who sailed on the Mayflower in 1620 did not eat Thanksgiving turkey or pumpkin pie. Flour for baking bread and pie crust was all used up during the three-month ocean crossing. Guinea hen – whose same-sex courting and mounting status is unavailable as BTL goes to press – was the main dinner staple.
LIGHT MEAT: Pilgrims were too straightlaced to wear silver buckles, and they didn’t land at Plymouth Rock. Thomas Faunce, a popular preacher, started that public relations story in 1741. He claimed his father, who arrived in this country three years after the Mayflower first dropped anchor, pointed the site out to him as a kid.
According to Harvard historian spoilsport Edward Channing (no relation to “Hello Dolly” Carol), a ship could never have landed at Plymouth Rock, given the strong direction of the surrounding currents.
(Note: New England Pilgrims – America’s original “love the sinner, hate the sin” do-gooders – would be appalled if they had an inkling of the direction the current flows around P’Town these days. Especially at the Boat Dock!)
DARK MEAT: In 1647, Puritans – who, it turns out, actually enjoyed only missionary position sex – outlawed the preaching of wedding sermons. Marriage for brimstone Calvinists was not a sacrament but strictly a secular matter to be conducted by civil magistrates, and so it remained well into the 1700s.
Puritans quoted Martin Luther, who cautioned, “Marriage is a secular and outward thing, having to do with wife, children, house and home, and with other matters that belong to the realm of government, all of which have been completely subjected to reason.” (AFA, please take note, and pass the turkey stuffing.)
BREAST: From 1702 until 1708 the governor of New York, Lord Cornbury, was a cross dresser. He appeared gowned at public ceremonies, wore elaborate hairdos, let his fingernails grow long. A favorite of Anne, Queen of England, he was a bit too, too much for the puritanical colonists who booted him – and his silver buckle – out of office.
GIZZARD: Puritans were a mean-spirited bunch. They didn’t celebrate Christmas, and nobody dared work on Sunday for fear of being put in the stockade. Children’s games were deemed unbiblical, and unmarried courting couples risked public beatings if they were discovered sitting alone or holding hands unchaperoned.
Children who disobeyed their parents in colonial Connecticut got stoned (and not on pot), and those Massachusetts rakehells who were caught in adultery got the final head chop in the mid-1600s. Salem witch hunts came soon after.
PARSON’S NECK: In 1642, 17-year-old Thomas Granger was at various times seen cuddling up with “a mare, a cow, two goats, five sheep, two calves and a turkey.” But not necessarily in that poking – er, pecking – order.
For his post-pubescent bit of animal husbandry, he was hung – beg pardon: hanged – and each of the aforementioned amorous playmates was “kild” for making hey, nonny non with a minor.
Happy Holiday! Gobble your drumsticks to your heart’s content, but please leave your domestic birdies behind the barn alone. And please don’t pluck any political ruffled feathers in public.