Whither a day of national honor? What the heck happened to a day that used to be a day off to remember our first years as colonists, starving and saved by our native brethren (or something like that).
Look at it this way. Yeah, there were a lot of “thanks giving” days associated with November, and feasts and lots of feathers from turkeys being turned into dinner. November in most temperate climates was harvest time. Grains were gathered and put into storage for the winter (and sometimes that storage was needed for more than a year due to bad weather). Game was easier to spot without leaves on the trees too. It is a good time to put on the extra weight needed to survive a long night of winter.
What about our Native American cousins? Yup. They saved many colonists, which then eventually turned around and killed the saviours. This occurred up and down the coastline, from north to south. So once again we have a lot of “thanks giving” days.
Okay. It was Abe Lincoln, once again, who gave us a holiday, Thanksgiving. It was 1863 and things were not exactly ducky in the Civil War. So he declared a national day of Thanksgiving to celebrate all the good things happening in the war. However, it was not a holiday, it was just a day of “thanks giving”.
A few years later our hero, FDR (a hero, but kind of weird), saves the day (really does) when he declares the fourth Thursday of November a day of ‘thanksgiving.” This is a good thing because it turns a miserable day for football in Detroit into a good day for sitting home and eating turkey.
Something important to state at this moment. The turkey that was almost the national symbol is not the turkey on your plate this year. The dinner turkey of the 1600′s and earlier, and up until the modern era, was a tough, skinny, wily, and somewhat evil natured beast with a sense of humour. Think of a tyrannous Rex shrunk down to the size of a parrot on steroids.
That bird is not what we eat today. I just read an article regarding how the thing on the table is not the same as what we chowed down on in 1960 (I remember when Ike was president). What we eat today is not the same as a wild turkey. What we have today will die an unnatural death whether it becomes a dinner or not.
Oops. Back on track. What happened to our day of giving thanks? Do you remember, oh forget that, most of you were born after Ollie North lied to Congress. One of the easiest days to give up has been Thanksgiving. Congress gave it a Thursday, and not a four day weekend. It has no religious backing, just a lot of pig out. The “real” holiday of the year is four weeks away. And, there is not much else to do other than hole up and drink or go shopping at this time of year.
So. We have football in crappy weather. We have good food, lots of food. We have the day off and nobody wanting to hang around with Crazy Aunt Bee or Creepy Uncle Bo, so why not go outside and pretend all is right with (ops wrong holiday). You can’t do anything like we did back in the 50′s in school because it really is offensive to our Native American cousins and others. So?
Why not go shopping? The retailers were tired of a dead day in the cash register, so they advertised a little trying to get people to come to the store and shop. The people were there — who wanted to go to work on Friday? Nobody. Without a church holiday (except for a freaky couple I know who had Black Friday as one of their religious holidays (very freaky) to keep people from over drinking and eating left-overs the store keepers came up with a winner.
And, so the stuffed, pickled and on holiday Americans are now skipping a national holiday, hence the under-abundance of Thanksgiving decorations and straight to Christmas from Labor Day life. I do miss the build up to Thanksgiving from Halloween. I do miss having time in the stores where carols and jingles were to happen after Thanksgiving Day.
What can we do to reclaim a holiday? Sadly, I fear very little. The holiday vanished long ago. The few things we can do is enjoy the day, focus on happiness and eat healthy. Sanity is ours, only if we know we are sane.
– Blue Bronc is a Trail Mix Contributor
Note from Craig: As always I am thankful for Trail Mixers, and an extra thanks to the many contributors, such as Blue Bronc, who have been writing a rich variety of interesting and thought-provoking posts for us this year. Hope to see more joining the team. And now, a little something one of my Kentucky cousins passed along, read by her preacher in church last Sunday:
My big brother Mike took me out on the stoop,
Then he sat me down, and he spoke real slow,
And he told me there was something that I had to know;
His look and his tone I will always remember,
When he told me of the horrors of….. Black November;
Come about August, now listen to me,
Each day you’ll get six meals instead of just three,
“And soon you’ll be thick, where once you were thin,
And you’ll grow a big rubbery thing under your chin;
“And then one morning, when you’re warm in your bed,
In’ll burst the farmer’s wife, and hack off your head;
“Then she’ll pluck out all your feathers so you’re bald ‘n pink,
And scoop out all your insides and leave ya lyin’ in the sink;
Well, the rest of his words were too grim to repeat,
I sat on the stoop like a winged piece of meat,
And decided on the spot that to avoid being cooked,
I’d have to lay low and remain overlooked;
I began a new diet of nuts and granola,
High-roughage salads, juice and diet cola;
And as they ate pastries, chocolates and grapes,
I stayed in my room doing Jane Fonda tapes;
I maintained my weight of two pounds and a half,
And tried not to notice when the bigger birds laughed;
But ’twas I who was laughing, under my breath,
As they chomped and they chewed, ever closer to death;
And sure enough when Black November rolled around,
I was the last turkey left in the entire compound;
So now I’m a pet in the farmer’s wife’s lap;
I haven’t a worry, so I eat and I nap;
She held me today, while sewing and humming,
And smiled at me and said
“Christmas is coming”