Having a 'Donner Party' Christmas - InDepthNH.org

2021-12-31 10:49:37 By : Mr. tom lu

InDepthNH.org (http://indepthnh.org/2021/12/30/having-a-donner-party-christmas/)

Susan Dromey Heeter getting her holiday cheer on with a cup of coffee and some sprigs of holly in this file photo.


It’s lovely to think in extremes, bright sunlight followed by torrential rains, packed streets filled with people followed by COVID-19 emptiness.  Perhaps it’s not lovely, perhaps it’s more interesting.  And today, dear musers, I muse joyfully on the extremes of watching a Donner Party Documentary on Christmas Day.

As my little family and I sat around on Christmas, presents unwrapped, prime rib enjoyed, we opted for an afternoon movie viewing. We argued about titles, debated over award winning films and then decided on a 2003 PBS documentary about the Donner family.  I’d seen it before, had been riveted and thought – now THIS is the one to watch on a cozy Christmas day.

And for those of you not familiar with the Donner Party, let’s just say, it would not translate to “Fiesta de Donner.”  According to Wikipedia, “The Donner Party was a group of American pioneers who migrated to California in a wagon train from the Midwest. Delayed by a multitude of mishaps, they spent the winter of 1846–1847 snowbound in the Sierra Nevada mountain range.”

Mishaps puts it lightly.  There were wrong turns, misinformation, murders, hypothermia, madness and, the greatest of mishaps: cannibalism.  Did I just eat someone’s leg?  That is, dear musers, much more than a mishap, but literally a life choice – to live or die, to survive or not.

As we watched the documentary, gasped and gagged, the Donner Party put all into perspective.  Don’t ever listen to a guy with political ambitions who has not done his homework, who tells you to take a short cut, who talks up a quicker way. (Lansford Hastings was a jerk.) Pack LOTS of snacks and blankets. Take the bus and go to EMS or REI before you travel – even if it is 1846 and hand warmers have not been invented.  Try to avoid eating your friends.

Certainly, life is going to lead you off course. That, well, is life.  We can’t always stay safe and sure, sometimes short cuts seem like a good idea. BUT, Joyful Musers, stay safe. Stay the better, if sometimes longer, course. 

And musers? The Donner Party documentary does put all into perspective, if you need a pick me up, or just a realization that, “hey, it could be worse” do watch the Donner Party documentary.  I muse joyfully you will, in your snug warm pajamas, with a bag of chips, as the snow flies – outside. 

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