John Howland almost didn't make the first Thanksgiving. He was swept overboard while on the Mayflower and held on to a rope before being pulled back on to the ship. He was one of the strangers, not one of the saints. He married fellow passenger Elizabeth Tilley whose parents both died that first winter at Plymouth. Together they had ten children all of whom lived to adulthood and had families, thus producing one of the three largest Mayflower progenies (with the Aldens and Warrens). John Howland died on 23 February 1672/3 at what is now Kingston, Massachusetts, the last of the adult male Mayflower passengers.
The moral of the story? When life throws you overboard, cling to a rope--you get rescued and life goes on, perhaps for a long and fruitful time. Happy Thanksgiving.