On Monday I dropped off a turkey to Fr Michael at Samaritan House, the homeless shelter where I used to volunteer. The padre was off doing good somewhere and I left a note saying that the gobbler was chosen from some of my closest friends. It was then off to Churchills for a cigar and a scotch or two with some dear amigos who of course were happy I didn’t pick them for the fowl donation.
For those who have been talked off bridges and have put the hemlock back in the cupboard as well as those who just shrug their shoulders at our recent democratic exercise,Thanksgiving conjures up some mighty strong emotions. There are those who love the traditional almost to obsession. Everything has to be just the way we have done it for the last umpteen decades. Not a ritual to be lost and God forbid we would accept anything but rigid conventionalism.
Then there are the rowdies and the upstarts who want innovate and try something different. Like substituting Mac and cheese for those God awful turnips. Perhaps a roast instead of a Tom. Gadzooks, this is the beginning of the fall of civilization as we know it. What would out forefathers think? All of a sudden I can see a nation at this dinner and we are all sitting down for the feast.
Seating is the initial step in the process. There is a kid’s table and an adult one although to some they could be mutually interchangeable. El Supremo sits at the head and everyone falls in line thereafter taking great note as to who is on either side. This can be meted out as to status or longevity but there should be no attempt to mix and match so as to avoid spontaneity or putting someone with brains anywhere near the top.
Don’t get me wrong, change is not always for the better. We have morphed major holidays into commercial events. People have gotten so carried away that they have completely lost sight of the original intent. For instance we have to eat at a specific time in order to fit into the day all the really important stuff like a football game or doorbusters at Macy’s. Sorry mom and dad, everyone is getting together the Ale House. Don’t want to disappoint.
In a totally perverse way holidays lead to both sadness as well as gladness. People conjure up detailed fantasies of how things should be and when they are not perfect in the slightest way they cannot accept that like life, it is not so. But then there is the joy of a separated friend or relative sitting at the table or at least sharing a call. And still others long for lost loves be they a broken romance or just someone who has passed on to a “better place”. By the way whoever came up with that concept? I don’t now about you but I have been pretty lucky. Heaven will have to be really special to beat this.
Ah, the repast! Now here is where it gets interesting. The bird is presented in all its glory and it is indeed a beautiful thing…that is before we start carving it up. Everyone wants this piece or that. Dark meat? Really? I have my standards. Okay kids let’s get this straight there are only two drumsticks. Have to compromise. Somewhere, somehow, someone’s nose is going to get bent out of shape.
As we continue to pass various goodies we always overdo. You know eyes bigger than your stomach.Pour on the gravy so your plate overflows. Some hog takes more than their fair share and you are left with the china reflecting a mere shadow of the heaping brimfuls that were there at the start. We thought there was enough for everyone.
Then comes desert and the age old question. There a lot of people looking for their piece of the pie. Barring a loaves and fishes miracle that circle is only so big. Now does everyone take a smaller wedge so that all may enjoy or do we let those at the top take what they want and let the cards fall where they may? Survive of the fittest, you know. Don’t worry. Next year we will just make a bigger pie. Yeah, we have heard that before.
Lastly after the feast we sit around the table with perhaps an aperitif. We wax eloquently and try to heal hard feelings. Some are filled with gusto and some are filled with self pity. Some wish they spoken up and others are glad they kept things to themselves. Thankfully most of us are just happy to be here. It is not just a feeling of contentment but of accomplishment. Moms and dads can look at their brood and say we done good. We welcome the new guard and pray their way will enhance and improve all aspects of life. Passages mes amis, passages.
We end on a note where we should have started. We are grateful for what we have. We can crow and say it is the result of all our hard work or we can forgo the personal huzzahs and say maybe there is a Higher Being that helped. Back in Plymouth they didn’t have a lot and were facing starvation. They saw the raw countryside and knew it held a plethora of life sustaining possibilities, yet they were afraid and in that fear did what all of us should do. They said a prayer of thanksgiving. Not only for what they had but the bounty before them that was yet to be reaped.
They did not rush out the door but sat and contemplated their plight and at the same time their good fortune. Whether at the table or just walking down the street maybe we should say thanksgiving to whatever God we know. Just be grateful for all we have and oh so cognizant of our fellow man and woman that helped us get here. I think that is something we should all drink to. Happy Thanksgiving,
Ted The Great
In 2015, more than 233.1 million turkeys were raised. More than 212 million were consumed in the United States. We estimate that 46 million of those turkeys were eaten at Thanksgiving, 22 million at Christmas and 19 million at Easter.
If you feel groggy after an old-fashioned Thanksgiving meal, the bird on your plate may be partially to blame. Turkey meat contains tryptophan, an amino acid that the body uses to make serotonin, a neurotransmitter in the brain that helps regulate sleep.
Thanksgiving was almost a fast — not a feast! The early settlers gave thanks by praying and abstaining from food, which is what they planned on doing to celebrate their first harvest, that is, until the Wampanoag Indians joined them and (lucky for us!) turned their fast into a three-day feast!
Wild turkeys can run 20 miles per hour when they are scared, but domesticated turkeys that are bred are heavier and can’t run quite that fast.The largest are around 35 pounds. Turkeys sleep in trees to avoid predators. Each gobble is unique.