Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Happy Thanksgiving

 Michael - Thanksgiving

I've been blogging on (alternate) Thursdays since MurderIsEverywhere got underway all those years ago, so I've done quite a few Thanksgiving day posts. Last year I even took the liberty of writing about the tradition even though I've only participated in the event when kind friends included me on one of my visits to the US. 

When it comes to actually being thankful, we have to admit that it's been something of an up and down year. That seems to be pretty well par for the course these days. Still, there are a lot of positive things to be grateful for. Here are a few examples. Please add your own favorites.

  • We're alive! Admittedly, staying that way is more expensive than it used to be, but consider the alternative.
  • Covid has dropped out of the news. Apparently more or less everyone has had it now in one strain or another. (Yes, even the guy in the cartoon.)

  • Donald Trump isn't President of the United States. Yet.

  • We've had nice warm summers.
  • There no shortage of turkeys. In fact, judging by Congressional shenanigans there won't be one any time soon.
  • South Africa won the Rugby World Cup. As for the Cricket World Cup, check back in four years time.
Finally, here's my take on the Turkey's role in all this from last year's blog:

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Assuming that you celebrate it, of course. Turkeys generally don't, except perhaps for the one who gets feted at the White House. 

Although many countries have a harvest festival of some sort, Thanksgiving is rather specifically a North American festival, although there are spin-offs in the Caribbean and even in Liberia, because of their American connections. Black Friday, however, has spread around the world as a bargain sale day. That shows the power of commerce and marketing, I suppose.

But back to the turkeys. How do they fit in? One's immediate thought would be that wild turkeys were common, and so when it came to celebrating a plentiful harvest, they were available for the center piece of the feast. However, it seems more likely that the turkey was added afterwards when Sarah Josepha Hale, the 19th century American author of Mary Had a Little Lamb and other classics, popularized turkey as the main course for Thanksgiving dinner by featuring it in her novel, Northwood.

The domestic turkey is a descendant of the north American variety. Probably these turkeys' best chance is to be sent to the White House as a Thanksgiving gift. That's been a long tradition. The presentation of a domestic turkey from the National Turkey Federation to the president is followed by the pardoning and then the turkey goes to a good home instead of a good dinner. 

Apparently, Ronald Reagan came up with the idea when he was getting flack over the pardoning of Oliver North in the disastrous Contra scandal. All rather odd, since the turkey had obviously done nothing that required a pardon whereas Oliver North obviously had. 

History does not record whether the president has a different Turkey for dinner afterwards...

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  1. Hi Stan, Barbara and I hope you had a terrific Thanksgiving even if sans turkey and the fixins--including relatives. Here's hoping to see you soon!

  2. Aah, thanks B and J. I'm still in Minneapolis enjoying the fine weather - even golfed last week for which I give thanks. Golf in November?? In Minneapolis?? Of course it has nothing to do with climate change. A very happy Black Friday to both of you - I followed your exploits in Iceland with overwhelming jealousy. For a non-farmer like me, it is friends like the two of you for which I give thanks. And the rest of the MIE gang.