Tomorrow is the big day … a good one if you are a human or a domestic pet, but not-so-good if you are a turkey. I thought in honour of the U.S. holiday called Thanksgiving, I would provide a bit of trivia for your reading pleasure. Did you know ….
- Thanksgiving was initially the last Thursday in November? Until 1939, that is, when the National Retail Dry Goods Association requested that President Franklin D. Roosevelt issue a decree changing the holiday to the fourth Thursday in order to extend the holiday shopping season in years that there happen to be five Thursdays in November, as there were in 1939. No surprise … most monumental decisions have their basis in cold, hard cash. (Yes, I am snarky even on holidays!)
- In 2009, President Obama pardoned a turkey named Courage?
- In 2007, President George W. Bush pardoned two turkeys named May and Flower? May and Flower were then treated to a trip to Disney World in Orlando, Florida, where they were given the honour of being grand marshals for the Disney Thanksgiving Parade.
- There is no record that turkey was actually on the menu at the first Thanksgiving dinner, but lobster definitely was? Potatoes, also, were definitely not on the table, as they had not yet found their way to North America.
We all know the fairy tale we learned in our first years of school, about how the pilgrims arrived in the ‘New World’, needed help learning to grow their own food, the natives taught them so well that they had a wonderful harvest the next year, thus they invited their newfound native friends to join them in a three-day feast and they all sat around eating, smoking wampum, and eating some more. We also all know that this is not quite the way things went down, but I’m not getting into all that. However, I came across an interesting article titled What Really Happened at the First Thanksgiving? The Wampanoag Side of the Tale I thought you might enjoy.
Today, I think the story of the first Thanksgiving, whatever version you relate to, has very little to do with our celebration of this holiday. For many, sadly, the main focus is on materialism … shopping, shopping, and still more shopping. Stressing themselves out by getting up at 4:00 a.m. to go stand in line in the cold to be the first to get that latest video game for young Johnny’s Christmas. For others, it is a food fest … an attempt to put so much food on the table (and in their bellies) that the table has not a remaining square inch of surface showing, and the bellies are distended for days. But I think that for the majority of us, at least I hope, it is simply a time to step back from the day-to-day business and enjoy the company of friends and family. It is a day to take stock, to remember that we here in the U.S. have much to be thankful for even on our worst days. It is a day to put aside the disagreements, the angst, and just enjoy loved ones, laugh, reminisce. Good food? Sure, that is a part of it, but we can be thankful even if all we are eating is a peanut butter sandwich. Shopping? If that’s your thing, then go for it, but don’t let it be the focus of the day … put it in perspective.
Today I put politics aside and wish everyone a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday. Enjoy the people sitting around your table, laugh a lot, enjoy your meal, and take this one day to be relaxed and happy before plunging into the frenzy of the upcoming holidays. Live in the moment. Happy Thanksgiving!