Cherished traditions come life in the celebrations\u00a0 shared at Thanksgiving, drawing on the simple truths of harvest celebrations that date back to Greeks honoring the grain goddess, Demeter. The most widely recognized historic precursor to today\u2019s Thanksgiving tradition is the harvest celebration \u2014 three days of feasting and simple entertainments \u2014 that English Pilgrims who\u2019d survived a harsh first year after the landing of the Mayflower shared with Chief Massasoit and the native Wampanoag following a good harvest in the fall of 1621. The Thanksgiving meal on many of our tables, with turkey as its centerpiece, and vegetables including squash and corn \u2014 crops the Wampanoag had taught the Englishmen to plant, possibly saving them from starvation \u2014 recalls the fare at common at harvest feasts shared by New England\u2019s farmers through the colonial period. Folks looking for historic echoes of the famous meal might add venison to their menu, for it was the Wampanoag\u2019s contribution to the feast of 1621. But it is not the menu so much as the spirit of that now mythic meal that seems worth emulating: the woodland natives and the newcomers from across the sea, different in so many ways, finding their common humanity and celebrating together the simple pleasure of having enough to eat, and friends to enjoy it with. Thanksgiving 2014 comes a week after President Obama addressed the nation on immigration and described his plan to improve the situation of some of the many people who live and work in this country without benefit of citizenship or even status as legal guest workers. Seeking to defend his actions he challenged critics in Congress to better his efforts and broaden the protections offered to immigrants. These are complicated issues and the president\u2019s executive actions are controversial \u2014 there are political implications as Democrats and Republicans court votes, and Constitutional questions concerning the balance of authority between the Congress and the President. People will have widely varying opinions. But in judging the president\u2019s immigration initiative, let us think about the people he is trying to help, and the difficulties they face as strangers come to a new land in search of a better life. And let us remember that iconic meal of 1621 \u2014 English Pilgrims and native Wampanoag, sharing the great bounty of the American land \u2014 that we so proudly honored at our Thanksgiving tables.