Though Thanksgiving is celebrated in a few other countries, it has developed into a distinctly American tradition. It is always celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, and the day after, known as “Black Friday,” has unofficially become the start of the Holiday shopping season. It’s commonly agreed upon, that the first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621, by the Pilgrims, who invited the local Native Americans to a feast to celebrate their first successful harvest. The local Wampanoag tribe had taught the Pilgrims how to grow corn, beans and squash, catch fish, and collect seafood. It should be noted that the first Thanksgiving meal did not include turkey, which though native to the new world, were smaller than modern farm-raised birds, very elusive, and hard to find. The three-day feast consisted mainly of goose, corn, porridge, lobster, fish, and deer.
I have a few questions for those reading my simple observations of Thanksgiving. How many of you endure the stress of traveling long distances by car, train, or airplane, to visit friends and family you haven’t seen since last year? How many of you don’t really like some of the people you are visiting? Worse yet; how many of you have homes, that for some strange twist of fate, have become the official, Thanksgiving destination for dozens of ravenous relatives – year after year after year? If you are one of these homes; do you spend a fortune buying supplies, and days thawing turkeys, making delicious holiday foods, and baking amazing pies? Do your guests proceed to wolf down the meal in ten minutes without comment, ask what’s for dessert, procure enormous slices of pies and cakes, and leave the table in search of a television to watch either football games, or parades filled with marching bands, and giant, helium-filled balloons? Does your spouse or partner, buy dozens of Tupperware containers, and give all the leftovers to departing guests? The next day, do you open an empty refrigerator, and dream of partaking of delicious day-old Turkey with all the fixings? Welcome to my Thanksgiving celebration.
I have no doubt that people around the world, find America’s Thanksgiving traditions a little strange. How many of you, before partaking of an extravagant holiday feast, hold hands, while each of you takes turns telling everyone what you’re thankful for? Do you think the tradition of holding hands was started as a way to keep relatives from grabbing nearby knives, baseball bats, and other weapons? I don’t know about you, but personally, I often lie about what I’m thankful for, to keep peace in the family. My wife, always seats my mother-in-law next to me during Thanksgiving dinner. I think the seating arrangement is, so she can keep an eye on both of us at the same time. Usually, everyone, including me; says something like, “I’m thankful that we’re all together for another year, and that we’re all happy, and healthy.” Wouldn’t it be great to say what you’re really thankful for on Thanksgiving?
How about, I’m thankful for the legalization of medical marijuana. I don’t use it, but my mother-in-law does. The last few holiday seasons have been a lot mellower since she started lighting up. I’m thankful for pumpkin pie. I really don’t like it, but my wife buys those huge cans of whipped cream to put on it. I sneak into the refrigerator every chance I can, and suck the stuff down like a vacuum cleaner. I can’t believe how much can fit in my mouth at one time! I know I’m thankful my scale broke, and is stuck at two hundred and twenty pounds. I’ll be able to eat whatever I want on Thanksgiving, and when my wife says, “Are you putting on weight,” I won’t have to lie, when I tell her the scale still says two hundred and twenty pounds. I’m also thankful that I cooked two turkeys this year, and hid the second one from you bunch of two-legged piranhas.
I guess I shouldn’t complain. I do have a lot to be thankful for this year. My wife and I both have jobs, our two sons are doing well, and I have a new grandchild. I also, have a place to live, plenty of food, indoor plumbing, and an awesome fifty-two inch big-screen TV with over one hundred channels. Imagine being one of the Pilgrim’s celebrating the first Thanksgiving. Especially, since nearly half the colony starved to death or died of illness during the previous year. I’ll bet they had a few things to be thankful for. If we could have been there, we might have heard something like this before the first food was eaten.
“I am thankful Lord that I haven’t starved to death over the past year, though last spring, I was, forced to eat my loyal dog, Sparky. I am also extremely grateful that during last year’s cold and harsh winter, I only lost my left foot to frostbite, and saved my right one by wearing my hat on it. I did lose one of my ears by going hatless in the big February blizzard, but I grew my hair out, and it’s hardly noticeable.” You might have also heard some words of thanks from the Native Americans who attended the feast.” I am thankful for the past few hours, where the white man didn’t shoot at me, steal any of my land, or try to get me to sign one of those fake peace treaties.”
As usual; I have a few questions, observations, and disturbing thoughts concerning America’s favorite holiday. Every year, the President of the United States, officially pardons a Thanksgiving turkey. This means that the lucky bird will spend the rest of his life, living on a farm in Virginia, rather than becoming a well-prepared, holiday meal. What if the President meets the turkey for the first time, and they have an immediate dislike for each other.” What if, as the enormous fowl is pecking the crap out of him, he finds out the turkey’s name is Hillary? Does he break years of tradition, and smile, as he savors each delicious morsel during his Thanksgiving meal? How many of you skipped the gym this past week, and instead, got a vigorous workout by shopping for a turkey? Did you dig for ten minutes, in that huge open freezer to procure the largest bird? Did you discard that 24 pound 4 ounce dinosaur-like monstrosity to quickly snatch up a 24 pound 10 ounce behemoth at the very bottom? How many of you, have a relative who is, what I call, “a gravy hog?” Do you end up eating, dry overcooked turkey, and stuffing with the consistency of cardboard, because they put two gallons of gravy on everything – including their cranberry sauce? How many of you show up for Thanksgiving dinner wearing enormous, relaxed-fit jeans, bulky sweaters, spandex, or belts four sizes too big? How did you feel after dinner? Pretty good, huh? How come when dinner starts, you have to keep asking relatives to please pass things? I don’t know about you, but I want to say, “Come on people. We’ve been doing this for over twenty years. Do you really think, I’m going to eat this tiny roll with no butter while you hog everything else? Let’s get a counter-clockwise motion going, and don’t stop until I tell you to.”
I think I may change things up a little this year. I’m going to invite those less fortunate than myself, those down on their luck, the unemployed, the homeless, a few veterans, and those suffering from mental illness to a magnificent feast. I know they’ll appreciate a good, home-cooked meal. Last year I had a house filled with unwashed people dressed in well-worn clothes, that had the smell of alcohol on their breath, who squabbled over food, ate everything in sight like a pack of ravenous hyenas, belched and passed gas without remorse, or the words excuse me, had terrible table manners, and were ungrateful – and those were just my relatives! P.S. My mother-in-law, along with my entire family are terrific people. This wouldn’t be a humorous blog, if I didn’t pick on them a little. Besides, last Thanksgiving, my wife’s mother shared a few hits on some outstanding Mary Jane with me on the back porch. I’m starting to really like that woman. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.