|"I think Dr. Jill got a new haircut. But, she's not wearing the drapes she normally wears. |
Maybe I should have a little sniff to be sure."
|"Awwwww, wild pheasant, venison, turkey, boar, corn, french bean casserole, squash, e...what the fuck, Runs With Scissors?? Eel pie??"|
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.
It’s the first of the year-end celebrations, the others being Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Years. And, by New Years, I mean New Years Eve. January 1st is really only meant for watching college football and making resolutions to not act like a jackass at the next New Years Eve party.
Provided you even get invited back.
You could make the case that Veterans Day kicks it off. But, as evidenced by the dismal ratings of the short-lived It’s the War to End All Wars, Charlie Brown special, the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month just doesn’t make for a merry start of the holiday season.
So, it’s really the 4th Thursday of November which gets the festivities rolling (hey, it’s easier than trying to figure out when the frik Easter is).
After all, what evokes the holiday spirit more than getting trampled at Wal-Mart by frenzied harpies in bathrobes and curlers on Black Friday?
|"That's 'Friday of Color.' Cracker."|
As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to appreciate how special Thanksgiving is. A more sober occasion than the frenetic zaniness of the Yuletide season, at Thanksgiving we gather just to be together, not because we hope to score the latest electronic gizmo.
Oh, sure, even though there are parades, football games, and enough food to sink the Mayflower, Thanksgiving is thankfully (pardon the pun) devoid of the commercialism of Christmas and the bacchanalian excess of New Year’s Eve.
Gratefully, we aren’t bombarded by wall-to-wall advertisements to get our loved ones (or our families) the very latest in techno wizardry (“Because, if you REALLY loved Mom, you’d buy her a Kindle Fire!”) in the run-up to Thanksgiving. Plus, there’s no such thing as a “24-Hour Thanksgiving Music Station” or a “Randolph the Hair-Lipped Turkey” special on the Hallmark channel.
No, it’s a calming prelude to the mania which paralyzes every December. It’s a time to appreciate what we’ve been given.
|Although, it is difficult to ignore the racism |
in the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special.
Which also is the suckiest of all the Charlie Brown specials.
As the day draws nearer, I think back to that very first day of thanks held over four hundred years ago...
The brightly colored leaves swirling madly amongst the trees, a chill autumn wind blowing briskly over freshly-harvested fields, and the forest animals bustling crazily about in preparation for winter.
And nobody fighting over the remote.
So it was in 1621 that Governor Bradford of Plymouth Colony thought it was high time to celebrate a day of thanksgiving.
Frantically scurrying to find a suitable venue at which to hold their celebration, the Pilgrim Fathers were disappointed to learn they were too late; all the good days in October and early November had been reserved months ago.
|"Okay, the governor has directed a day of thanksgiving be held. Looks like October is best. So, how 'bout the first weekend?"|
"Norwegian 'We Were First' Celebration."
"Son of a...third?"
"Last of the Mohican family reunion."
"Good grief. What about the last weekend?"
"What? And spoil our leaf peeping tour of the Berkshires? Next!"
"Well, I gotta be in Jamestown the first few weeks of November. Let's shoot for the fourth weekend of the month."
"Maybe, but late November in New England? Are you meshuggah?"
"Give me a break. Just take a look. Would that be so hard?"
Luckily, a spot opened up the last Thursday of November when “Mohawks On Ice!” was forced to close after some Hurons stole all the loincloths. So, the Native Europeans invited their friends, the Native Americans, to a grand feast at the local Elks Lodge picnic pavilion (with real elk).
A deeply devout people, the Pilgrims wished to thank the “Godless heathen savages” for all their help getting the colony on its feet. After all, the tribe was essential to gaining a foothold in the New World, long before the Trail of Tears, Wounded Knee, and all-you-can-eat casino buffets.
Imagine what would have happened had Squanto not taught the Pilgrims to plant dead fish with their corn.
|"Behold, I bring you the gift of maize! |
And smell of dead fish."
Prior to that, they just stuck them in their trousers.
Many customs today hearken back to this coming together: the feast, the fellowship, the two-hand touch lacrosse game after supper, and the men falling asleep in front of the fire with their hands down their pants while the women cleaned up...all laid the foundation of our nation.
NOTE: By our nation, I mean the United States. Canada, you have your own Thanksgiving. England, you coulda had a piece of this, but noooooooooo.
|"Yeah, it's warm, but there's no football. |
What's that all aboot?"
Happily, it was the giving of thanks which has endured through peace, war, and Trump Administration. No doubt Governor Bradford himself began a tradition which survives to this day: putting relatives on the spot to state that for which they were thankful.
|"Actually, Thanksgiving is my most favorite holiday too as it is the most American of all the great holidays and is not to be confused with Canadian Thanksgiving which is held on Columbus Day weekend, and remarkably doesn't have any Italian dishes which is a tragedy because it was Christoper Columbus, an Italian, who discovered America and not some loser Viking who, quite frankly, got his ass kicked by the bad-ass Indians up in the northern wilderness of...the north even though it was my great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather, Magnuss Trumpsson who should have led them to an awesome victory over the savages but was betrayed by Leaf Ericksson, who should have had a much less stupid first name than being called a "Leaf," can you believe it, but that was no matter because it was my great-great-great grandmother Goody Ivanka Orangina who was John Winthrop's chief advisor on the Mayflower and takes credit for the invention of turkey the bird not turkey the country, which is ironically led by real turkeys. CHYNA!"|
In homes across the nation, this scene will be played out anew during halftime. In the true spirit of the holiday, millions of family members will likewise be grilled.
This year, though, in addition to joyful thanks for family, friends, and the feelings of warmth which come from both, one will resonate above all:
That Great-Aunt Mildred was able to buy the last case of Twinkies from that guy in the back of his van at the Stop N Shop.
Because the alternative was the Eel Pies.
And I don’t care how much Cool Whip you put on them, they’re still eels.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING, EVERYONE!
|"You mean it's not April Fools Day?"|
Happy Veterans Day!
I know most of you are expecting my typical wise-guy approach (for those of who aren’t, what have you been reading?). Most of the time I oblige because there’s a lot of the ludicrous in our lives.
This one time, though, no wisecracks, no
innuendos, no witty asides (okay, maybe a little). In a break
from my usual “shtick,” I’m going to play it straight and briefly speak on the
significance of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.
Think I'm wrong?
|"Yeah, laugh now, but you guys |
are gonna be so effed in 21 years."
But that’s another story.
The following November, President Woodrow Wilson, noted racist and pompous scold, declared that “Armistice Day” would henceforth be observed in honor of those who had fallen during the “war to end all wars” (kinda dropped the ball with THAT one, didn’t we?).
After the Second World War (the “good”
war, an oxymoron if I ever heard one), the town of
As the years went by, the idea of setting a special day aside for veterans took hold throughout the nation. In 1954, Congress made the name change official while President Eisenhower called on all Americans to observe the day. But, surprisingly, it took until 1971 for Richard Nixon to declare it a federal holiday.
In the years since, it’s become little more than an excuse to hold blowout sales on everything from bed linen to used cars (“Buy this Chevy because Patton would have wanted you to.”). Ceremonies marking the day have been lost in the madcap frenzy of pre-Christmas commercialism. In fact, what was once a universal day off has turned into pretty much a “federal government employees only” respite.
I don’t have a problem with this, per se, if it was still recognized for the solemn event that it is. After all, Veterans Day is much more than sleeping in late and watching Sponge Bob Squarepants in your pajamas while wolfing down a bowl of “Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs.”
Unfortunately, many people don’t even know what Veterans Day is all about. While at work several years ago on November 11th, I was flabbergasted when the middle school’s morning announcements proclaimed Veterans Day merely as a “day to recognize older people who had a lot of experience.”
What!? Now I don't wish to denigrate
"You hate me because you ain't me.
Ya'll can suck it."
Grandpa's fly-fishing prowess and, boy howdy, ain't it cool that Great-Aunt Tilly can knit a quilt with her feet, but c'mon! Since when is bowling a perfect game the same as launching jets off the flight deck of an aircraft carrier? Quick answer-it's not.
As a result, I spent the balance of the day quizzing my coworkers on whether they knew what put the “veteran” in Veterans Day. Sadly, I was depressed by their appalling lack of knowledge, as very few of them actually understood what all the fuss was about. But, you can bet your bottom dollar they knew who the contestants were on “Dancing With the Stars.”
Shocking as it was, I know they weren’t the only ones who had no clue that the 11th of November was different than any other day. It goes without saying there’s a need to set a few things straight.
So, I call on all of us who know better to teach others about Veterans Day. Urge those around you to take a moment to remember our veterans and those who are still in harm’s way.
You don’t have to go to a flag-raising ceremony, attend a parade, or even buy one of those “Buddy Poppies” (although I do, because I enjoy talking to those guys). You don’t have to agree on this war or that war and you certainly don’t have to watch The Sands of Iwo Jima at attention.
If nothing else, reflect on the service of all those who have worn, and continue to wear, our nation’s uniform. From Lexington to the Persian Gulf, they deserve our respect and our thanks.
As a veteran myself, I salute them all.
From my last post...
" Hannukah starts December 7th. I still have every intention of decorating for it."
My fiancee informed me last night that we will not be putting Hannukah decorations outside this year. I can decorate to my heart's content on the inside, but she didn't wish for our house to "become a target."
Perfectly understandable, but how effin' sad is that?
As some of you know, I’m engaged to a Jewish girl.
While she doesn’t hold to kosher dietary restrictions (thank goodness…because bacon) and encourages me to decorate for Christmas (hell, she’d even let me put up my Nativity scene if I wanted, but I won’t. Because, you know, little Baby Jesus), she is very faithful to all other tenets of Judaism.
For as long as I can remember, being Jewish didn’t seem potentially hazardous.
Until savage monsters murdered over a thousand innocent people.
Full Disclosure: my first wife was Jewish. She isn’t anymore, although it had nothing to do with me. My SECOND wife was Presbyterian. Still is. Now, either the three of them have horrendous taste in men or…I’m a player. I don’t think I like either option. Anyway, that’s a whole ‘nother story.
A couple weeks ago, while getting ready to go out for our Sunday breakfast, she asked if it would be safe to wear one of her necklaces with a Star of David on it.
Last week, she teared up a little, saying she was afraid to mention that she’s Jewish. She's also of Argentinian descent and would speak nothing but Spanish everywhere we went. Plus, she said she was glad she would have my last name when we married.
NOTE: Many of you also know that my last name is “Lynch.” I hesitated to tell her that, in today’s day and age of BLM, that may not be such a bargain anymore. I kept quiet.
Then, this week she told me that she is worried about going to temple (not Temple University in Philadelphia. Although she should be. That place is a war zone). She asked me to explain why, for the first time in her life, she would feel this way.
I could not. Neither did I pooh-pooh the unease she feels.
Because, I understand.
The anti-Semitic unrest sweeping our nation, especially among nitwits on college campuses, would do that to a person.
I also worry (haven’t told her and, since she probably doesn’t read these hideous things, will never know) that the United States may be headed toward a modern-day version of Kristallnacht.
But, boy howdy, like a second Biden Administration (or return of Trump), I sorely hope that doesn't happen.
If you don’t know what that is, Google it. I can’t do everything, you know. I’m only one man. A little old man.
While I abhor the brutal violence being visited upon innocent Gazans, I sadly shake my head. Because I realize that the people they voted for brought the thunder down on them. Hamas is a cancer which must be thoroughly excised, or the world will continue to witness the savagery visited upon innocent Israelis on October 7th.
While a simplistic, and clumsy, analogy, if you have an infestation of cockroaches, you don’t step on a few and call it good. You wipe out every single last one of them. If you don’t, you’ll eventually see their brothers, sons, or cousins running foot races in the pantry.
As far as the hopelessly utopian numbskulls calling for a ceasefire….how do you think a Japanese call for a ceasefire would have been received if they called for one after the Doolittle raid?
Of course, Americans had bigger nutsacks in 1942.
Far more innocent people were killed at Hiroshima and Dresden than at Pearl Harbor. Incidentally, have Germany and Japan been up to much mischief since 1945? Yeah, didn’t think so.
Absolutely horrifying, but that is what happens in war. I so wish we would all get along on the only home we have in the universe, but that's not how it works. Bring the fire, you may get burned.
Besides, while it’s something you’d hear most often in a schoolyard, who started it?
There’s much more I can discuss, but it’s Sunday. You may already be taking a nap before watching the New York Giants lose to a Pop Warner team. Or the Raiders.
But, I share her worry and will do what I can to protect her, if necessary. Even if I am a little old man. Because, even though the United States in 2023 isn’t exactly the same as Germany in 1933, I can’t shake the feeling that I’ve seen this movie before.
Hannukah starts December 7th. I still have every intention of decorating for it.
"I think Dr. Jill got a new haircut. But, she's not wearing the drapes she normally wears. Maybe I should have a little sniff t...