I now live in a lofty perch or at least as high as the fifth floor gets you. It is a gorgeous Denver morning and the mountains beckon just beyond our downtown skyline. I am thinking of Thanksgiving in a rather simplistic way. My mind wanders back to as many bird days as I can for my 68 years. I am fascinated by the roller coaster of emotions I have felt.
I spent one of those in a far off place called Nam. We were almost home. A few more days and a wakeup. Family and a very cute fiancee awaited. It didn’t seem right to be going to the feast in cammies and boon dockers. They actually had tablecloths of a sort in the mess hall. We were served turkey and lobster. Why not? As you finished that last piece of pumpkin pie you said a prayer that a sapper wouldn’t use this opportunity for one last shot. All over this world our guys and gals are on watch thinking the same thing. Say thank you for their service.
People get down at the holidays. As you all might know I was diagnosed with clinical depression some twenty odd years ago. In your mind you want things to be perfect. You have this expectation however misshapen not just for a meal but the events in and around it. I am not sure just what happens but somehow the script goes awry.
Uncle Lenny has too much to drink and makes a snide comment. There is always some member who knows it all. And ah yes the rebel. Comes late. Isn’t dressed properly and might God forbid be showing a tattoo or body piercing. Then all hell breaks loose. Norman Rockwell didn’t paint this. The wife can’t believe this is all happening. She just wanted everything to be perfect. Oh well, there is always next year.
Please don’t lose faith. I haven’t. There is that one year when it just comes together. Once while living in Chatham we had about twenty members of the family and the table extensions went into the living room. Our kids and nieces and nephews were in their teens. As we sat talking over coffee, Kathy’s dad, Big Dave, got things rolling. He did not have a lot of formal education but was brilliant. Read the New York Times cover to cover every day.
He did the unthinkable. He dropped a live grenade in the middle of the table when he asked the assemblage,”What about gays in the military?” There were lefties and righties present so this was about to get good. Then a strange calmness came over the table. Sure the discussion was lively but lo and behold it was civil. Each had their points to make but each also listened. This was totally unexpected and beyond beautiful. We all made a vow to do this the very same time next year. It might just work.
I am completely turned of by the Black Friday bullshit that has now morphed into Thursday. I find it incredible that our insatiable lust for things has totally transformed what should be a day of rest and spiritual things into mayhem where people literally trample others to death in their quest for the deal of the century. We will cover it on TV and shake our heads. But I fear somewhere down the line this will be more and more commonplace. What a jerk you are TTG. Don’t you realize this is what the public wants? Or at least we are made to feel this way. Besides how else would we be able to increase sales from last year? Don’t you realize by some quirk of fate and the Julian calendar there are three less shopping days this year? What was I thinking?
Some of you will have a marvelous day and that is good. Some of you will mourn a loved one and that is understandable and so sad. Some of you will have had life changing events for better or worse. You might be celebrating a new life or a different career. Some of you will have the emptiness of no job or a lost love. I wish I could raise a glass to the triumphant and kiss and make go away the hurts of the afflicted. Life is not fair and I can’t even ponder the imponderables some of you might have.
But then again amidst this panoply good and bad vibes there is one emotion that I can only wish would outshine all the others. That is hope. One of those crazy words in our vocabulary that just sounds good to say. This isn’t pollyanna but rather one of the greatest gifts we have as humans been given. Against all odds we can dream. We can take the worst situation and find some glimmer that says somehow some way things just might get better. This is a Great Expectation. At least for me and I HOPE for you.
Ted The Great
The Plymouth Pilgrims were the first to celebrate the Thanksgiving. The first Thanksgiving celebration lasted three days. Walmart and Best Buy didn’t exist then. Lobster, rabbit, chicken, fish, squashes, beans, chestnuts, hickory nuts, onions, leeks, dried fruits, maple syrup and honey, radishes, cabbage, carrots, eggs, and goat cheese are thought to have made up the first Thanksgiving feast.
Sarah Josepha Hale, an American magazine editor, persuaded Abraham Lincoln to declare Thanksgiving a national holiday. She is also the author of the popular nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb”
In 1939, President Roosevelt proclaimed that Thanksgiving would take place on November 23rd, not November 30th, as a way to spur economic growth and extend the Christmas shopping season. Now that’s what I am talkin’ about.
In the US, about 280 million turkeys are sold for the Thanksgiving celebrationsEach year, the average American eats somewhere between 16 – 18 pounds of turkey.The average weight of a turkey purchased at Thanksgiving is 15 pounds.The heaviest turkey ever raised was 86 pounds, about the size of a large dog.
Turkeys have heart attacks. The United States Air Force was doing test runs and breaking the sound barrier. Nearby turkeys dropped dead with heart attack. And that’s the truth. Have great day.