Mice, The Mayflower, and our day of Thanks

All holidays bring reflection if one has lived more than 24 months. The more times around the Sun the deeper the layers of memory. The pleasure of memory is one of the bonuses of a life.  Today I reflect on all the Thanksgivings I have enjoyed, cooked, been a guest at or the hostess. It is my favorite holiday of all.

two screen shots from Felix the Cat, 1919

two screen shots from Felix the Cat, 1919

This morning I pull together a few things that come to mind in the quiet of the studio, the shades still down, the critters still in their dreams and only a cup of French Roast with me.

On the left some very bad mice steal a turkey, maybe a chicken, but whichever fowl is involved, the mice understand community effort and sharing.  To think that these moving screen rodents were in the world in 1919, almost 100 years ago, tells us how connected we are to the basics of vision, humor and the conditions of living with other beings.  Time and technology have had no effect on these bad mice who remain as legible and good to look at as a century ago.  I admire the composition of these frames.  Spare and remarkable.  We are only told enough and in a way that is aesthetically appealing to move the story.  As we know, rodents hitch rides on sailing vessels — this is my awkward transition to another disjointed memory.

I have with a beloved close friend from undergraduate days.  The last time we had lunch she told me, casually, as if she were asking for a piece of celery, that her many times great grandfather had been on board the Mayflower.  In all the hours we have spent together never once had she told me that.  He was an interesting character and had already been to the New World going to the Jamestown Colony when he was shipwrecked.  Returning to England, he tried again and his second trip was on The Mayflower.

I don’t believe I am as communal as the mice or as brave as that Mayflower passenger.  But here, now, we are able to relish in our imaginations what it might have been like had we created and drawn Felix the Cat or booked passage to come to the New World.  The joke on us of course is that every single day we do book passage to the New World.  It is waiting for us in the next sentence we write, line we draw or smudge of color we put down in the next minute of our future.



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