Thanksgiving Day Guest List | Real, Dead, and Fictitious

In 1993, we made a Thanksgiving Day guest list of all the famous New Englanders we’d like to see around our table.

By Tim Clark

Nov 10 2016

Photo Credit : Victor Juhasz
Top Row: Louisa May Alcott, Lizzie Borden, Paul Revere, Emily Dickinson, and Bill Russell. Bottom Row: Doug Flutie.
We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing on turkey and gravy and cranberry dressing, and welcome our guests, both dead and the living, to join this imagined New England Thanksgiving. There’s plenty to do now, so everyone pitch in — Would Julia Child please help out in the kitchen? Let all do the jobs for which they are most able — we’ll ask Martha Stewart to help set the table. Good day, Johnny Appleseed, doff your tin topper, And sit yourself down next to young Edward Hopper. Ahoy there, Josh Slocum! Shalom, Ben and Jerry! We hope you brought lots of our favorite, Cherry Garcia! Has Longfellow brought Hiawatha? Let’s find a fauteuil for Whistler’s Mothah! Please drag Fanny Farmer away from her oven: Her pal Laurie Cabot has brought the whole coven! Hmm, this could be awkward; now wouldn’t we rather avoid having grace said by old Cotton Mather? Let’s seat Robert Frost in a place of high honor, with Eugene O’Neill and with Edwin O’Connor, and Ralph Waldo Emerson, none could be sager, or more Transcendental a thinker, we’ll wager. And when all is ready, bring forth Johnny Most to deliver (from high above courtside) a toast to our editor Hale! (That’s not you, Jud, but Sarah), who pestered Abe Lincoln to make him declare a new national holiday every November. And Governor Bradford of Plymouth! Remember, he hosted the first of these autumnal rituals. So drink to them both! And then on to the victuals! We’ve dallied so long that the guests are all starving; Ahem, Lizzie Borden, would you do the carving? (It’s rare that one sees the job done with a hatchet.) Now pass us a drumstick, Doug Flutie! We’ll catch it! Let James Michael Curley distribute the gravy, assisted by Isaac Hull, late of the Navy. The stuffing? We asked big Bill Russell to do it — give plenty of helpings to Sarah Orne Jewett. Louisa May Alcott brought apple pan dowdy, Mark Twain’s in the back with Mae West, getting rowdy. Whoops! Emily Dickinson is into the cider, We shouldn’t have let Paul Revere sit beside her. Is that Henry David Thoreau quoting Walden to lovely Priscilla, the wife of John Alden? Light up, Amy Lowell, a fine panatela from Red Auerbach, who’s a generous fella. The hour is late; there’s a long road before us, so lift up your voices in one final chorus of hymns thanking God for the land and its bounty, led by Nelson Eddy, who’s dressed like a Mountie. Farewell and good luck to guests real and fictitious; Babe Ruth’s batting cleanup. Let him do the dishes. Excerpt from “We Gather Together,” Yankee Magazine, November 1993 _____________________________________________________ Letters from our Readers I was surprised to see Mae West included in your guest list of famous New Englanders when she was  Brooklyn, New York, girl — like myself! Can we set the record straight? – Lois M New York, New York The table’s long, the food divine, The gathered guests are mostly fine. Their choice, of course, is somewhat tricky. With six great states, you must be picky. But some there are you can’t omit. These are unskippable, To wit: (If you demur, I’ll get all broody) How could you leave out Titus Moody, Fred Allen’s pal— Maine born and bred? And on that subject, where is Fred? Please check with me before you flub Another guest list. Got it, Bub? – Jane Fennelly (Titus Moody’s daughter) Mystic, Connecticut Who would you add to our New England Thanksgiving Day guest list?