Be Thankful

 

"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?"
"Pequot/Schwartz wedding."
"Eff.  Second?"
"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?"


2 comments:

  1. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Christmas used to be. But, now? The love of family and friends has surpassed it (not that said love isn’t year-round, but you know what I mean).

      Delete

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