Here it is upon us, once again. Thanksgiving.
For most people it is a day that tends to revolve around family and food. Depending on your family, it could be a great combination. And most of us take part in a meal with the usual fair. The statistics show that 88% of Americans serve turkey on this holiday. I am not sure about the tables of the other 12%. I’m always game for a Holiday Burger.
At the first meal, though, with those early colonists and Indians, there probably wasn’t any turkey. Mostly fish, lobster, seal, and swan. And I am telling you, there is nothing like a swan sandwich on white bread, with Hellmann’s mayonnaise. Around 8 p.m., after it is all said and done.
I’ve had 54 Thanksgivings. Some better than others. Many have fallen in to the dark abyss of the forgotten memories pit. It echoes.
But can you really have a forgotten memory?
Regardless, this wasn’t always a National Holiday. Most know that Abraham Lincoln declared it so, back in 1863. A woman, Sarah Josepha Hale, pestered the heck out of him. She wrote letter after letter to President Lincoln, asking him to pull out his pen, and make it official. Which he did. Sarah is also the woman who wrote the song, “Mary Had A Little Lamb.” I truly think her pet lamb had something to do with the entire campaign.
Of course, other Presidents had been presented with the idea. Thomas Jefferson was very adamant about his refusal. Jefferson had a strong regard for separation of church and state. He believed that prayer was closely associated with the Thanksgiving Holiday and thought making it a holiday would violate the First Amendment.
Or, it could have been that his name was Tom, and he didn’t like the whole Tom Turkey thing. Mary’s Little Lamb was on the opposite side of the dinner table on this one.
Back to our meals. Many people feel like there are too many leftovers when all is said and done. What to do, what to do? There will be a blue-million cooking tips, recipes, and foodie-miracles for all those refrigerators filled with leftover food.
But imagine being the goofball who worked at Swanson in 1953. He accidentally ordered a massive shipment of Thanksgiving turkeys. Big, like, 260 tons, to be exact. Another Swanson guy was quick on his feet. A salesman there, Gerry Thomas, came up with the idea of filling aluminum trays with the turkey. Five-thousand. They also threw in the cornbread dressing, gravy, peas, and sweet potatoes. Froze them. Sold them for 98-cents. The meals were a super-big hit. Within one year, over 10 million were sold. And the frozen dinner was born.
Ka. Ching. Year end bonus for that Swanson guy Gerry Thomas, I am guessing.
Turkey, turkey, turkey. Every year, the President pardons a turkey. It is an okay gag. But one I am sure we could do without. President George H.W. Bush pardoned the first turkey in 1989. I guess that makes about 29 pardoned turkeys walking around. Probably out of work. I mean.
Actually, turkeys don’t live very long. Hens, about three years. Gobblers about six years. So really, depending on the turkey’s age, it may not be much of a pardon.
But maybe pardoning should be in our thoughts. Perhaps that “pardon” should be a word we keep close, at Thanksgiving. To forgive, absolve, reprieve. To have mercy on. We could keep that in our hearts, snuggled right next to giving thanks. We are grateful. We give thanks. And we also forgive.
Not only this day, but every day.
Let’s be a little lamb — not a big turkey.
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
― Mahatma Gandhi,
“Let us give thanks for our shadows
for they are there in the first place
because of the presence of light.”
― Kamand Kojouri
“If you woke up tomorrow to only the things you’ve expressed your gratitude for today, then what would be missing from your life in the morning?”
― Nanette Mathews