As Thanksgiving and its attendant carbohydrates descend upon us, Chatter has once again hopped in the eBay-sourced DeLorean, fired up the flux capacitor and scared the bejeepers out of Michael J. Fox all in the name of Wolf Blitzer-level journalism (breathe) as we interview the man who made much progress in the New World, everyone’s favorite Pilgrim, William Bradford.

Chatter: Thank you for taking time out of the afterlife to speak with me today, Bill, er, William, er, Mr. Bradford, er Governor.

WB: Please, son. Call me by the name conferred upon me by the noble people of Pokanoket when the made me an honorary member of their tribe: Sweet Willie B, the Pastiest Brave Around.

Chatter: Seriously?

WB: They carved it into the bison-hoof belt buckle, did they not?

Chatter: That says “Don’t Mess with Texas.”

WB: So it does. That scamp Jim Bowie is up to his undead tricks again, I see.

Chatter: Anyway. While many people know you as a leading Pilgrim, most have no real idea what a Pilgrim is.

WB: Certainly. A small-P pilgrim is a person who makes a journey for religious reasons. Say, to visit Mount Calvary or the first Krispy Kreme. A capital-P Pilgrim is someone who also journeys for religious reasons, but looks good in a buckled hat even when exploring locations for the New World’s first, shall we say, facilities.

Chatter: We shall not. Now, most folks don’t realize that the Pilgrims weren’t called Pilgrims at the time.

WB: Aye, we were known as Separatists for wanting to split from the Church of England.

Chatter: So you were church splitters?

WB: I do not think I much like your tone. Nor your casual lack of proper stockings or salted pork.

Chatter: Noted. Tell me about your years in the Dutch Republic.

WB: Oh, it was a grand time for me. I came into my inheritance and married a lovely girl named Dorothy. Did you know dating is much more economical in the Netherlands?

Chatter: Umm, no. Why?

WB: Because you always go Dutch!

Chatter: We are now even for the church-splitter comment.

WB: Ho ho ho! I got you with that one, lad!

Chatter: So you and Dorothy made the trek to the New World aboard The Mayflower.

WB: Indeed we did, sir. And it was no Carnival Cruise, I tell you.

Chatter: Harsh conditions, I’m sure.

WB: Quite the contrary. No Kathie Lee Gifford. No Legionnaires’ disease. No “Turning Back Time: A Tribute to Cher” on the lido deck. I’ll take months of hard tack any day over that nonsense.

Chatter: Most would, most would. Now, you became governor of Plymouth Colony when you were rather young, correct?

WB: Oh, I wouldn’t say young. I was already on the far side of middle aged.

Chatter: Weren’t you just 30?

WB: Truly!

Chatter: And you were governor for most of your remaining life, yes?

WB: Indeed. I thought I wouldst kick the cornucopia any day, so I figured running for one more term wouldn’t hurt. Besides, that kept that nattering nabob Nabob Cornblower out of office. The man couldn’t govern a hen house, let alone a colony. Seriously, his chickens ran roughshod over the village roads, scaring the wee ones like befeathered, pecking mercenaries. He was a Separatist who should’ve just kept on separating if you catch the itch of me knickers.

Chatter: I sincerely pray I do not. Let’s move on to your interactions with the Wampanoag tribe. Is it true that Samoset walked right into the middle of Plymouth and declared, “Welcome, Englishmen,” in perfect English?

WB: I swear upon the 16 buckles currently holding my autumnal ensemble together that it was so. It was just like an episode out of “Star Trek” when Kirk and Spock beam down to an alien planet and all the smokin’ hot alien babes speak English instead of Betelgeusian. Of course, by “Star Trek” I mean “Schoolmaster Johnston’s Primer for Mastering the King’s English and Other Matters of Elocution,” and by “smokin’ hot alien babes” I mean “ladies who don’t have scurvy.”

Chatter: I’m very confused.

WB: You’re confused? Do you know how easy it is to hide the symptoms of scurvy in Puritanical garb? It’s a real of roll of the dice on your wedding night to be sure, although I claim no knowledge of dice throwing, pinochle or the devil’s own favorite, canasta.

Chatter: Describe how the first Thanksgiving came about.

WB: It’s not a complicated tale by any stretch. You know they saying “beware of Greeks bearing gifts”?

Chatter: Certainly.

WB: Well, let’s just say there’s no reason to beware of natives bearing pie.

William Bradford, 1590 – 1657, was born to a wealthy farming family in Yorkshire, England, surrounded by small, yippy dogs. By the time he was seven, both of his parents had died and he was sent to live with two uncles who apparently thought adopting a moppet would increase their luck with the local ladies. It did not. At age 12, a friend of Bradford’s invited him to hear the Rev. Richard Clyfton preach. Clyfton espoused separating from the Church of England in order to create a church free from all vestiges of Catholicism. Bradford was hooked.

After much harassment from the lackeys of King James I (including a brief imprisonment), Bradford and his fellow Separatists fled England for the Dutch Republic. After a dozen years in a foreign land, the Separatists decided life in a harsh, uncharted territory would be preferable to wearing wooden shoes one more day and began planning a clog-free voyage to the New World.

Bradford, along with 101 other Pilgrims, sailed across the Atlantic Ocean on the Mayflower and landed at Plymouth Rock. As opposed to on Plymouth Rock which would’ve been a bad omen. He was one of 42 signatories to the Mayflower Compact, which established a civil government for the about-to-be-formed Plymouth Colony.

In 1620, during their first, harsh winter in New England, 45 of the 102 Pilgrim settlers died after learning from a soon-to-be-burned witch-prophetess that the Patriots would not be competitive for another 380 years. Bradford also fell ill during this time, but recovered upon realizing Cubs fans had it even worse.

Also, he was governor a lot and liked to kick it on the weekends with pal Miles “The Smile” Standish.

Source: Wikipedia, give or take

*Jason Fox lives life buckle-free. *