As if Norman Rockwell painted the scene, it was the quintessential picture from an American Thanksgiving. A long table covered in white linen filled the center of the room. Pewter candlesticks stood erect on each side of a bountiful cornucopia. Pure silverware, bearing the hallmark of a 17th century silversmith etched into the handles, had no tarnish on their surface; only the highest mirror finish polish. The occasional flame from a candle would flicker casting its reflection in a knife, glinting with an orange glow. White china rested in front of each family member, with ivory linen napkins laid neatly in the lap of each person, to catch all that could cause smears and stains on their neat edifice.
At the head of the table was the patriarch. Not just the father, but the head of family, a seat of importance. Lineage. Heritage. Old Stock. This great grandfather sat in his tall, throne like chair. Its frame shaped from mahogany, its dark wood polished to a high sheen. Vines carved around the edge of the high back seemed to encircle his head in a crown of leaves. The rest of the family stretched out in front of him, flanking each side of the table.
Sitting there, he surveyed his family, while they waited in eager anticipation. His milky hair parted from the side dropped over his chalky forehead, his eyes a staggering periwinkle blue. Bushy eyebrows, same color as his hair, seemed to wiggle as if they were autonomous, scrunching and raising at each family member sitting before him. Their hands, folded, fingers locked tight, rested upon the white napkins in their laps.
A candle flickered and spit. A bit of wax ran down its long thin taper. Raising an eyebrow in the direction away from the table, a butler stepped into the picture. With a quickness of urgency, the taper was swapped for a fresh one and then lit. Stepping back next to the servants quarters door, he resumed his post. The long black tails of his coat hung limp just below his buttocks. A black tie was pulled tight, cinched around his neck like a noose. His coal black skin bulged over the collar of the too small white shirt.
The patriarch examined the candle with an eagle eye, and satisfied, cleared his throat.
“We are all gathered here today for this Thanksgiving. A day of all days to celebrate family, to celebrate the American Spirit. So let us give thanks. Each and everyone of us.”
Bowing his head, the others followed example, hands clasped in front of chins, in a pose of prayer. The first voice came from his right, and moved counter clockwise around the table, like dominos falling, creating a cascade of intentions.
“Thankful for our soldiers overseas, fighting our God-given enemies. Protecting America and its ideals. Furthering American principles of democracy, in nations that are bereft of civilized society. May they come home safe.”
“I’m thankful for our politicians; those that represent us and our ideals. Those who fight everyday to ensure our nation is protected from those who hope to subvert our ideals of democracy. May God guide their hands in directing our nation, God’s nation.”
“Thankful for God. For giving us the power to see righteousness and give us the moral power to endure heathens. Thankful for our protection against those who wish to manipulate the weak willed into following Satan’s teachings and Islam.”
“I’m thankful for the police who protect us. Who ensure that we are safe from criminals. May their aim be straight and true, and their motives never questioned.”
“I’m thankful for Mitch McConnell. For protecting the integrity of the Supreme Court. Thankful he has taken up our cause, as our protecting angel.”
“I’m thankful for our chance to make America great again. Thankful for February. When America will finally be taken back from the evil that has endured these last eight years. Thankful that the rightful kind people will be back in that White House.”
Continuing around the table, each member of the large family gave thanks. Until it reached the patriarch. He had watched the whole family as each gave their gratitude, revealing from the heart their true dogma. Now it was his turn. Although the family still bowed their heads, they all took the opportunity to turn their heads on the sly, and upturn their eyes, watching him as he spoke.
“I am thankful for all of you. We’ve all endured. All of us. I am thankful that it is our time again. That we will rise up. That we will take back our nation again, making it in our image, the way our great forefathers intended it to be. I am thankful our president-elect will cast off the chains that were placed upon us, and a new era will be ushered in. I am thankful for the chance to make America the great nation that our ancestors wished it to be, when they first colonized this nation. Now raise a glass, and toast with me.”
Picking up a crystal wine glass, he held the drink high.
“To us. To OUR America. To taking it back.”
Everyone raised their glass, their arms outstretched, straight ahead at an upward angle. In unison they respond.
Staff emerged from the fringes of the room as if they morphed out of the walls. Butlers dressed in tuxedo tails and grey flannel pants, maids in black and white plaited dresses, they all moved to the right of each family member. Reaching across the white tablecloth, their dark hands contrasted with the supreme purity of the table linen, placing plates atop the white chargers. Golden skinned white turkey meat wafted a scent to cause salivation, with a whole host of fixin’s adorning the plate. Conversation was casual at dinner, and a dull cacophony of voices filled the room with familial banter. Wine glasses were filled, and white wine seemed to be the pleasure of the company.
After dinner, plates were cleared in the same manner as they came out, and again, two servants remained, filling the appropriate glasses with brandy or sherry. Adjourning to the vestibule at the bottom of their grand staircase, the silver topped patriarch ascended until he was a few steps above the congregation. And again, clearing his throat with a rumble from deep within, he spoke.
“Now that our dinner is over, let us take a casual walk, and meander over to the old Southern Live Oak.”
Filing out of the house, one at a time, they strolled with casual ease down the gravel path to that monolithic tree amidst a sea of tall grass. They moved, each like a goose stepping along that stony walk. Standing underneath its gargantuan, sprawling canopy of gnarled tentacle like branches, they sipped their drinks, and awaited the next performance.
Only inches from the tree’s enormous trunk, the patriarch faced them all, his alabaster skin glowing in the dwindling twilight. Someone had the forethought to bring matches, and striking sulfur to striker, lit the torch fixed firm into the ground. An orange flickering glow moved across his chalky skin; his hair blazed inferno in the light.
“We stand here, under a symbol of our families enduring legacy. This tree has existed since our family first started this plantation. After we fought the great southern war of northern aggression, my great great grandfather came out here and carved his initials into this tree. You can just make them out here. This tree though, is significant to our family. It endured the war, but it also aided in our times. My father would gather under this tree with his other colleagues, disguised for their own safety under their cloaks and robes, and they would march into town, raining down justice on the unjust, righting wrongs that the law refused to correct.
“When those men exercised their righteous power, they brought those criminals here to exact justice. They would swing from these branches, until dead, their necks stretched and craned. You can still see the thick rope wrapped around the branches above you. This tree has aided our family in this way since we first stepped foot on this soil, first built this home. Our tree has endured a lot, especially in the last fifty years. That coil of rope up there, was last used in 1964. And now we’ve lived long enough to see our family empowered again. We will MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN! Just like it was before. Our day of reckoning is at hand!”
He held his fist high in the air. Turning his back on the family, he placed his hand upon the tree. His palm flat, fingers outstretched, it was as if he spoke to his ancestors through the bark and wood of this monolithic ancient being. He whispered.
“America will be great again. You remember those days.”