History of the Thanksgiving Meal

People Talking Celebrating Thanksgiving Holiday

The genesis of our modern Thanksgiving, which took place in 1621, bore a limited resemblance to our celebration today. The original feast included a gathering of approximately 50 Englishmen and 90 Native Americans from the Wampanoag tribe who traveled for about two days for the event (Time.com). The colonists, having arrived on the continent in 1620, celebrated their first harvest in the fall of 1621, but the actual meal was light on vegetables. The Wampanoag brought five deer, while colonists contributed various waterfowl including geese, ducks, swans, and likely passenger pigeons (which at the time were abundant but are now extinct in the wild) (Smithsonian Magazine). The wild turkey is mentioned by some sources, though others argue there is no clear evidence of turkey having been served at all (New York Times).

Though birds may have been stuffed, it was not the bread-based stuffing we are familiar with, but rather chunks of onion and herbs (Smithsonian Magazine). None of our commonly anticipated side dishes (mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie) were present at the original meal. The fowl and venison were accompanied by fish, shellfish, nuts, corn, and possibly squash, as these were readily available and part of the regular diet (New England Today).

Having traveled so far to get there, the natives stayed and feasted with the colonists for three days and enjoyed various forms of entertainment including running races and shooting competitions (Time.com). Games enjoyed by the children included Cobb’s Castle and Hubnub, both played with stones, though the latter requires a bowl and maybe played with pennies instead of stones, and a game called “All Hid,” which is similar to hide and seek (Scholastic “Games Played at the First Thanksgiving”).  These simple games  might be fun to try at home. If it is too cold to play outside or stones are not readily available, you might try other household objects such as small pillows, plastic cups, toys, or even produce that no one plans to eat.

The feast in 1621 was surely not called “Thanksgiving,” and the event was not repeated for at least a decade, as various plagues and conflicts between colonists and natives followed. Then around the mid-nineteenth century, nostalgia for colonial times emerged, and the states and colonies began to celebrate the harvest feast in an unofficial fashion (Smithsonian Magazine). In 1827, Sara Josepha Hale, editor of the popular trendsetting Goodey’s Lady’s Book magazine, began petitioning various US presidents to establish Thanksgiving as an annual event (Smithsonian Magazine). Abraham Lincoln, the thirteenth president petitioned by Hale, finally granted her wish in 1863 as a way to “unite the country in the midst of the Civil War” (Smithsonian Magazine).

However you celebrate and whatever you choose to eat, we at Waitte’s Insurance Agency wish you all a happy and healthy Thanksgiving. Give us a call when you are ready to discuss your unique insurance needs.

New England Today "Food"
New York Times
Scholastic "Games Played at the First Thanksgiving"
Smithsonian Magazine
Time.com

Remembering Our Nation’s Heroes

Veterans Day

At a time when there is so much divisiveness in our country, we would do well to recognize that there is also much to unite us. The people of our nation have varying opinions about what direction our country should head and what mistakes it may have made in the past, yet no one disputes that we all owe our military veterans the highest of honors. 

Most of us have heard of Armistice Day, but not all may be clear on what it is and why it is significant. World War I, known at the time as “The Great War” and “The War to End All Wars,” officially ended on June 28, 1919. However, the fighting had actually ceased on November 11, 1918. This armistice (temporary suspension of hostilities) “between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” (US Department of Veterans Affairs). In 1938 legislation was passed to dedicate November 11 “to the cause of world peace and to be hereafter celebrated and known as ‘Armistice Day’” (Military.com). 

Following World War II and the Korean War, veterans service organizations prompted Congress to dispose of the word “Armistice” and replace it with the word “Veterans” in 1954. Thus November 11 became a day to honor American veterans of all wars (Military.com). 

As a result of the 1968 Uniform Holiday Bill, the celebration of Veterans Day was moved to the fourth Monday in October. This caused confusion and some degree of dissent, and some states continued to celebrate the holiday on its original date (Military.com). On September 20, 1975, President Gerald Ford signed Public Law 94-97, returning the annual observance of Veterans Day to November 11 effective 1978 (US Department of Veterans Affairs). 

So what is the best way to celebrate Veterans Day? Unfortunately, the usual parades and other gatherings may not be an option this year. We definitely look forward to the resumption of such activities next year, yet there are still things we can do now to show our appreciation.

  • Contact a veteran’s hospital or local veterans association and ask what you can do for them. Ask if there are patients or residents whom you could visit on a Zoom call or other source of live chat.
  • Donate to a reputable veterans association. Do a little research before opening your checkbook to be sure actual veterans will receive the benefits.
  • Join an organization that writes letters to veterans or soldiers currently serving.
  • Contact your American Legion Office to find out where you can get a red poppy pin to wear on Veterans Day. The red poppy is a symbol of sacrifice honoring those who have served and died for our country, and donations for the pins are used to “support veterans, the military community, and their families” (The American Legion).

These are just a few minor ways we can honor those who have done so much for our country. Recognizing and appreciating our community helps us come together in positive ways that strengthen our neighborhoods and our country as a whole. At Waitte’s Insurance Agency, we care about our community because we are part of the community. Call us when you are ready to discuss your unique insurance needs.

US Department of Veterans Affairs

Military.com "The History of Veterans Day"

Military.com "8 Ways to Express Appreciation on Veterans Day"

History.com

The American Legion

Staying Safe Online

Stay safe online

Those of us who recall life before the internet are amazed when we stop and think about how much it has changed our world. To say that masses of information are now available to us is clearly an understatement. And sadly, misinformation is just as prevalent as reliable facts. Humans have a tendency to lean toward content that confirms rather than challenges our beliefs. And if something seems too good to be true, rather than giving us pause, we often take the bait. These tendencies, unfortunately, led to internet scams to the tune of three and a half billions of dollars in losses for Americans in 2019 (Statista). 

According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, the most frequently reported complaints in 2019 were “phishing and similar ploys, non-payment/non-delivery scams, and extortion.” So what is “phishing”? Phishing is when scammers commit identity theft by using fake emails, text messages, or websites that look identical to legitimate vendors. Phishing can also be used “to steal personal information including credit card and bank account numbers, debit card PINs, and account passwords” (USA.gov “Online Safety”). Scammers copy logos with such accuracy that it’s difficult or impossible to differentiate between them and an authentic company. They will ask you to click on a link in their email or to give them your bank account number, credit card number, or personal information to verify your account or confirm your identity. “They may even threaten to disable your account” if you do not quickly respond under the guise that they are looking out for your safety (USA.gov “Online Safety”). This should raise a red flag, as legitimate companies do not ask you for such information by email (USA.gov “Online Safety”). 

Phishing emails may also come from someone you know whose account has been hacked. This helps make the request seem legitimate. This type of phishing is also known as “pfishing” (“17 Common Online Scams”). 

Internet shopping scams are also easy to fall victim to. These scams involve a company that appears to be selling you something, takes your money, and likely even sends you a confirmation email, but they have no intention of sending you a product (“17 Common Online Scams”). Products on these sites often appear to be deeply discounted and therefore enticing. However, at best you will be out the money you spent. You stand to lose even more if you have provided credit card information which the company will then use to make further purchases (“17 Common Online Scams”).

Additional scams include the Nigerian scam, involving a seemingly desperate, possibly wealthy, individual looking for temporary aid with health issues or travel issues moving to this country (called so because a rash of these originally came from Nigeria, though now they come from a variety of countries); bitcoin and cryptocurrency scams offering the opportunity to make an initial investment in a (real or fictitious) company about to go up for an initial coin offering; digital kidnapping, in which one or more of your social media profiles is hacked, and the perpetrator demands money for you to resume access; dating and romance scams involving someone who at first seems exciting, fun, and engaging but soon asks you for money to help them with unexpected situations; and many more (“17 Common Online Scams”).

So how can we stay safe and still benefit from what the internet has to offer? There are a few steps we can take to avoid becoming victims of a scam.

  • First, if an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. Contact the company to verify an enticing offer. Go to their website to be sure it is the legitimate version rather than clicking through links provided on the offer you are viewing. 
  • If you are suspicious about a bill or account statement, access the company in a new tab rather than using a link provided, look for contact information, share your suspicions with a customer service representative, and ask if your account has been compromised (USA.gov “Online Safety”).
  • Utilize two-factor authentication which accesses an account or website online using your password or another piece of information such as a code or a random number generated by an app. According to USA.gov’s “Online Safety” article, “This protects your account even if your password has been stolen.”
  • Avoid clicking any links or attachments in questionable emails even if they state the company’s name and/or a legitimate-looking logo, as they may reroute you to a fake website (“Online Safety”).
  • If you are a victim of a phishing or other internet scam, contact the Federal Trade Commission (see link below). Victims of any fraudulent transactions can also report them to the FBI. This can help stop the transaction before the money is lost for good (FBI “Internet Crime Report”).

The internet has so much to offer and yet does pose risks if we are not careful. Here at Waitte’s Insurance Agency, we want our community members to thrive. We care about our community because we are part of the community. Give us a call when you are ready to discuss your unique insurance needs. 

"17 Common Online Scams"  

FBI "Internet Crime Report"

Federal Trade Commission

Forbes

Statista

USA.gov "Online Safety"