Thanksgiving 2020–Picking Through The Bones Of A Turkey Of A Holiday To Find Positives

As Thanksgivings go, Thanksgiving 2020 will undoubtedly go down in the books as a real turkey. How enjoyable is it to celebrate a holiday when we are told to stay home and stay away from everyone except immediate household members? The pandemic has cast a pall on the entire year, and now it is robbing us of traditional celebrations. But if we pick through the bones of this turkey of a holiday this year, positives can be identified. Yes, really!

Let’s Talk Turkey

Thanksgiving and turkey go together like peanut butter and jelly. It is hard to imagine one without the other. While we may not have Grandma, Uncle Horace, cousin Betty, and the rest of the clan around the Thanksgiving table, mercifully, we can still have a turkey gracing it.

About 40 million turkeys are eaten each Thanksgiving according to the National Turkey Federation. While TP has at times been scarce during 2020, there are no turkey shortages across the board. So, if you want to gobble down some turkey for Thanksgiving, you will not be disappointed.

That having been said, however, there is a challenge facing Americans. Consumers are facing a harder time finding smaller turkeys to serve for their big holiday meal. Kroger found that 43% of its shoppers planned to celebrate Thanksgiving with only those in their immediate household. Thus, there’s no need for a ginormous turkey to fill the special turkey platter. The pandemic has driven up the demand for smaller turkeys.

This shift in demand is good news for male turkeys who are also known as Toms. Most large turkeys (defined as more than 16 pounds) are male. Most small turkeys are female and are called hens. Preparing smaller turkeys is thus going to result in a hen party this Thanksgiving.

We Gather Together

The Centers for Disease Control, familiarly known as CDC, has recommended people not travel for Thanksgiving due to the pandemic. So gathering together with kith and kin who do not live in the local area is pumpkin pie in the sky for those who adhere to this advice. CDC is such a party pooper! Right now that acronym seems to stand for Cancelling Desired Celebration.

Despite the ban on in person gatherings, people can still gather together–just not in the traditional Thanksgiving way. Using technology, relatives and friends may share a meal albeit virtually. In the past? TV dinners. Now? Zoom dinners.

Gathering together is such an integral part of celebrating Thanksgiving that the hymn most associated with Thanksgiving is “We Gather Together.” But the back story of this hymn provides a better understanding of something else which Americans can be thankful for despite an ongoing pandemic.

The hymn, of Dutch origin, was written in 1597 and its words were set to the music of a well known folk tune. The song had nothing to do with a holiday. It celebrated the Dutch victory over the Spanish at the Battle of Turnhout. The Protestant Dutch were fighting a war of liberation against Spain’s Catholic king who forbade them to assemble for worship. The king basically told them, “Don’t Gather Together!” To stick it to the king, then, the victorious Dutch thus gleefully sang “We Gather Together.” Well at least they sang that idea in their native language.

Although the pandemic may have altered the look of church services with congregants wearing masks and socially distancing, Americans of faith can still be thankful this Thanksgiving. There is no government prohibition against assembling to worship as one sees fit. We can gather with those of like faith whenever we choose–Thanksgiving or any other day of the year.

Pilgrim’s Pride

After a turkey, the Pilgrims are the probably the most familiar thing about an American Thanksgiving. In fact, the holiday is based on what the Pilgrims did hundreds of years ago. Even though the pandemic has radically changed how the holiday will be celebrated this year, everyone can be thankful that a modern celebration looks nothing like the one the Pilgrims observed.

Sure the pandemic has caused an ever mounting and ghastly death toll in 2020. But the Pilgrims had it way worse. The 53 Pilgrims who celebrated the first Thanksgiving had survived the long journey on the Mayflower and the first winter in the new world. Disease and starvation struck down HALF (that’s 50% for those of you who are mathematically challenged) of the original 102 colonists. Thankfully COVID-19 is nowhere near decimating half of this country’s population.

If Americans have to scale back their celebrations, they will surely have an easier time than the Pilgrims did. Their celebration lasted for three days, and there were no paper plates, refrigerators, and microwaves back then. Sounds like lots of work for the Pilgrim womenfolk–who are believed to have only been four in number by then.

The Pilgrims’ guest list was rather lengthy as well. Ninety Wampanoag Indians from a nearby village gathered with them. That puts having 20 family members over for Thanksgiving dinner in perspective, huh? But the Indians were well-mannered guests and brought a hostess gift–5 freshly killed deer. I guess it is the thought that counts because such a gift would make me lose my appetite for a big holiday meal.

We, of course, could use the Pilgrims as inspiration for adhering to CDC guidelines this year. An outdoor meal is suggested. Turkey, but not deer, al fresco it is! See? There really are some positives to be found in this turkey of a Thanksgiving 2020.

Just WONDER-ing:

Will you be abiding by CDC guidelines for observing Thanksgiving? If so, how? What positives can you find in this surreal Thanksgiving 2020? Have you ever stopped to think about the details of the first Thanksgiving celebrated by the Pilgrims?

Over The Ocean And Through The Dark To See The Troops He Goes

In a classic case of “you can’t believe everything you read,” Newsweek predicted President Donald Trump would spend his Thanksgiving golfing and tweeting. What really happened? The Commander in Chief flew to Afghanistan under cover of darkness to be a surprise guest at the Thanksgiving meal for troops at Bagram Air Field. So, who was more surprised? The troops or Newsweek?

Regardless of what your political leanings are, Americans can certainly agree  the troops stationed in Afghanistan serving our country sacrifice a lot. Having their Commander in Chief make the effort to appear personally to express thanks for their service was undeniably a morale booster for them. I mean, President Trump could have spent his Thanksgiving merely playing golf, tweeting, and eating turkey at Mar-a-Lago. But no, he went out of his way to travel halfway around the world to serve turkey to our troops.

Lest you think that this trip was no big deal, let’s consider the facts. In the first place, President Trump’s Thanksgiving destination was further than over the river and through the woods to Grandma’s house. The round trip totaled 33 hours. Upon arrival in Afghanistan, the president advised he had traveled 8, 331 miles to get there to join the men and women stationed at Bagram. That’s a long way. Just imagine how many times someone on his plane could’ve asked “Are we there yet?”

Furthermore, this Thanksgiving trek was unannounced. It had to be kept under wraps and concealed from the president’s public schedule for security reasons. As a result, cloak and dagger moves were required. Trump flew to Mar-a-Lago on Tuesday where he would presumably, according to Newsweek, be golfing and tweeting. Nevertheless, Trump secretly flew out of Palm Beach back to Washington, D.C. Wednesday under cover of darkness leaving Air Force One behind. Apparently it was believed people would assume he was still in Florida if his plane was there.  There is no word as to whether the president wore a trench coat for his great escape.

Awaiting his arrival in D.C. were thirteen clueless reporters and photographers assembled on the top floor of a parking garage. I say clueless because they had no idea of their destination. The group was transported to Andrews Air Force Base where they secretly (from other journalists and the public) boarded the hidden twin version of Air Force One which was stashed away in a large hangar. The plane took off at 9:45 p.m. on Wednesday night with the shades drawn and the running lights off.

Cell phones were confiscated from all those aboard the plane. Yes, even President Trump’s phone was taken from him. But wait! Weren’t tweets coming from his Twitter account during his flight? Why, yes, indeed they were. To cover his absence, the White House posted tweets from the president’s Twitter account while he was in the air.

President Trump and his entourage arrived in the darkness at Bagram just after 8:30 p.m. local time on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day. He was escorted around the base by heavily armed soldiers because, after all, the Commander in Chief was in a war zone. The President was put to work serving turkey to the troops, but he didn’t get time to eat any. He eventually got food for himself, but after taking a bite of mashed potatoes he was called to pose for photos leaving the turkey, cornbread, and remaining mashed potatoes on his plate uneaten. Eagle-eyed and likely hungry pool reporters revealed that ham, mac and cheese, and candied yams were also on the military’s holiday menu.

While at Bagram, the president fulfilled presidential duties. He met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and announced that talks with the Taliban had been reopened. He also addressed some 1,500 troops who had gathered in an aircraft hangar to hear from their Commander in Chief. Apparently the president was too busy with these presidential duties to play golf while there. He also spent the holiday away from his wife, Melania, who did not accompany him.

The news embargo about the unannounced trip was lifted after the president had been at Bagram for about three hours and was getting ready to depart. The long trip back home was broken up by a stop at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany where the president switched to the real Air Force One which had been flown in from Florida for him. (Does this mean there is an Air Force One A and an Air Force One B?) He returned to Mar-a-Lago where he was still able to work in some golf and tweets before returning to the White House.

President Trump’s trip to Afghanistan was not his first trip to a war zone. OK, well, an official war zone. Political skirmishes are ongoing in Washington, D.C. He and Melania traveled to Iraq to visit troops last Christmas. In choosing Bagram, the president went to the largest military base in Afghanistan, one occupied by the Afghan Armed Forces and U.S. forces. Bagram is the base of operations for most U.S. air activity in Afghanistan as it has a dual concrete runway capable of handling any size aircraft.

A military base in Afghanistan is not a cushy or particularly safe spot to spend a holiday or even a few hours on one. Bagram is located at a high altitude (4,895 feet above sea level to be exact) near the Hindu Kush mountain range. Temperatures can be extreme (translate below zero) and violence is always a threat (think suicide bombers and incoming mortars).

President Trump was beaming and smiling during his time at Bagram. Even assuming he had a great Thanksgiving there, he hopes he won’t have to return. He campaigned on a promise to get the U.S. out of “endless wars,” and the war in Afghanistan certainly qualifies for that designation. It is the longest war in U.S. history; American troops were first deployed to Afghanistan in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001. The war has spanned three presidential administrations and seen thousands of U.S. troops stationed there. Currently about 12,000 troops remain in Afghanistan, down from the 14,000 earlier in the year. That’s a lot of people to supply with a holiday meal!

Thanksgiving is now over, but the president’s trip provided reasons for giving further thanks. The troops in Bagram had a memorable holiday and were told how much they were appreciated even if they were far from home. American citizens were assured that if, God forbid, something happened to Air Force One, its twin is ready and able to take to the skies. The press got a feel good story to run for the holiday albeit pretty much after the fact. Not giving thanks, however, are a large number of turkeys who got the short end of the wishbone and gave their lives to feed Americans both at home and stationed abroad.

Just WONDER-ing:

Are you surprised that President Trump was able to slip out of the country unnoticed? Is it safe for a sitting president to visit a war zone? Has someone you know been stationed in Afghanistan?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Toe-Tapping Thanksgiving Tune

Americans love to celebrate holidays. We decorate for the occasion, eat special food, and gather with friends and family. Music also plays a part in these celebrations. We sing patriotic songs on the Fourth of Ju and beloved carols at Christmas. Although we have much to be thankful for on Thanksgiving, a plethora of Thanksgiving tunes is not one of those things. Other than “We Gather Together” and “Over The River And Through The Woods”, it’s slim pickings for tunes related to Turkey Day.

Thanksgiving is such a big holiday that it just isn’t right to lack tunes for the occasion. Thus, I decided to do something to fill the void. I sat down and wrote some entertaining lyrics which are meant to be sung to the catchy and well known tune to the Christmas novelty song “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer.” For Thanksgiving, I give you “Grandma Got Run Over By A Gobbler.” Come on and sing these lyrics with me. All together now:

Grandma got run over by a gobbler                                                                                    C            Cooking food for our Thanksgiving feast                                                                                  You can say there’s no need for Mylanta                                                                                    As for me and Grandpa relief please

She’d been cooking too much turkey                                                                                          And we begged, “Throw in the towel”                                                                                            But she’d gotten too ambitious                                                                                                        So she hurried out the door in search of fowl

When they found her Thursday morning                                                                                    At the scene of the attack                                                                                                          There were claw marks on her apron                                                                                        And turkey feathers sticking from her cap

Grandma got run over by a gobbler                                                                                      Cooking food for our Thanksgiving feast                                                                                  You can say there’s no need for Mylanta                                                                                     As for me and Grandpa relief please

Now we’re all so proud of Grandpa                                                                                                He’s been slaving over Grandma’s stove                                                                                    See him in there making stuffing                                                                                          Basting Butterballs with cousin Joe

It’s not easy without Grandma                                                                                                        All the family’s yearning for her yams                                                                                        And we just can’t help but wonder                                                                                        Should we serve the Tom or eat some ham?

Grandma got run over by a gobbler                                                                                      Cooking food for our Thanksgiving feast                                                                                  You can say there’s no need for Mylanta                                                                                     As for me and Grandpa relief please

Now the meal is on the table                                                                                                        And the goblets full of wine                                                                                                          Plus a big and pretty platter                                                                                                       That’s just the spot for Grandma’s bird divine

I’ve warned all my friend and neighbors                                                                                    It’s a better workout at the gym                                                                                                    You should never chase a turkey                                                                                                Who knows the Thursday menu highlights him

Grandma got run over by a gobbler                                                                                              Cooking food for our Thanksgiving feast                                                                                  You can say there’s no need for Mylanta                                                                                    As for me and Grandpa relief please.

Copyright 2011

Happy Thanksgiving to all, and to all a good nap after your big Thanksgiving meal!

Just WONDER-ing:

Why are there so few songs about such a big holiday as Thanksgiving? Would it be Thanksgiving without a turkey to serve? Other than Grandma getting run over by a gobbler, what could happen (or has happened in the past) to ruin your Thanksgiving?

Turkey Traditions–Are They For The Birds?

Say Thanksgiving, and the first thing that pops into one’s mind is turkey. A traditional Thanksgiving meal features a turkey front and center. But eating turkey on Thanksgiving isn’t the only turkey tradition Americans observe. Let’s gobble down some information on other turkey traditions.

Once the featured bird has been carved, a carcass is left. This remnant can only mean one thing–the wishbone must be found! A familiar turkey tradition is snapping the wishbone in two following a meal; the individual with the bigger of the two pieces supposedly will have his wish come true.

How in the world did we end up so focused on a little bone? The answer dates back thousands of years to the ancient Etruscans. They believed birds could predict the future, so they’d pick up bird bones, stroke them, and make wishes on them. When the Romans came along they modified the practice from stroking the bones to breaking them. Apparently chickens were in short supply, so two Romans would pull on one wishbone to break it into two pieces so they’d each have a bone. The Romans spread this practice to the British Isles as their empire grew. When English settlers came to the New World, so did their wishbone practices. With wild turkeys in abundance in their new digs, the settlers switched from chicken bones to turkey bones.

So breaking a wishbone is historical, fun (except for the turkey donating the bone), and potentially fulfilling (if your wish comes true). I’d say that this turkey tradition should get a thumbs up.

A turkey shoot is another turkey tradition. It’s a shooting contest in which frozen turkeys are awarded as prizes. Participants fire shotguns at paper targets 25-35 yards away. These events are popular in rural areas and are often held in November to coincide with Thanksgiving.

In their original form turkey shoots weren’t pretty, PC, or humane. Instead of shooting at paper targets, participants would shoot at actual turkeys. In some instances turkeys were tied down in a pen and shot at from 25-35 yards. If a turkey died, its dead body was awarded as a prize to the shooter. In other instances, turkeys were buried in the snow up to their necks. The object was for a participant to shoot the turkey’s bobbing head from 100 yards away.

This turkey tradition definitely gets a thumbs down from me. Although no animals are harmed in the current version of the turkey shoot, deadly weapons, competition, and noise are involved. I’d prefer to think of Thanksgiving as a time of love, peace, and unity instead.

A more recent turkey tradition for some Americans is feasting on a turducken at Thanksgiving. Americans want to supersize everything so why should turkey be left out? A turducken is fancier than a plain old turkey; it is made with three different kinds of meat whose names are combined to form the word turducken–TURkey, DUCk, and chicKEN. To make a turducken, a deboned chicken is stuffed in a deboned duck which is in turn stuffed into a deboned turkey. Layers of stuffing are placed between the birds.

Turduckens are most often associated with New Orleans and Cajun cuisine. The late Cajun chef Paul Prudhomme claims to have invented this dish. And you’d pretty much have to be a chef to make his version of a turducken. Prudhomme’s recipe calls for 30 ingredients and 8 hours of cooking.

Turducken is a modern turkey tradition which would get a thumbs down from me. Simple pleasures are the best, and you just can’t beat a simple turkey baked for Thanksgiving. Why mess with success? In addition, if you used Chef Prudhomme’s recipe, who’d have time to make the required side dishes like mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, etc.?

One turkey tradition requires Thanksgiving celebrants to push back from their dinner tables and get off their couches to participate. It’s a turkey trot! A turkey trot is a footrace held on or around Thanksgiving Day. The oldest documented ongoing turkey trot in the U.S. is an annual event in Buffalo, NY. which has been held continuously since 1896. Seems like that event should be called a Buffalo Trot since it occurs in Buffalo and no turkeys are involved.

In Florida the Tampa Bay Times Turkey Trot occurs on Thanksgiving Day in Clearwater. This family-friendly annual event boasts over 17,000 registrants. Races are offered for different skill levels including walkers, recreational runners, and competitive runners. Proceeds from the turkey trot benefit local charities.

A turkey trot is a turkey tradition which gets an enthusiastic thumbs up from me. Participating in such event is much healthier than consuming thousands of calories while sitting at your dining room table and then playing couch potato the rest of the day. And raising money for charity by trotting on Thanksgiving is just the whipped cream on the pumpkin pie.

The final turkey tradition to consider is leftovers. For some, the leftovers from Thanksgiving are more anticipated than the original feast itself. Therefore, turkeys are often purchased which will provide not only meat for the holiday meal but for leftovers thereafter.

And how will those leftovers be eaten? A popular choice is a turkey sandwich, particularly the Thanksgiving Leftover Sandwich which contains various leftovers besides turkey.  A classic sandwich combination is turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and gravy between two slices of bread.This sandwich has become a year-round menu item in New England where it is referred to as the Pilgrim or the Gobbler.

Leftovers get a double thumbs up as a turkey tradition. After spending days preparing for and cooking a large Thanksgiving feast, who wants to cook more? Heating up leftovers or making a turkey leftover sandwich is a smart move for tired hostesses. Even better, leftovers taste terrific and are readily available.

Some turkey traditions, like turkey shoots and turduckens, are turkeys. We could end those traditions, and I’d be thankful. Other turkey traditions such as breaking a wishbone, a turkey trot, and leftovers are positive traditions which we should be thankful to keep. Regardless of what your turkey traditions are, it’s comforting to have Thanksgiving traditions you observe on a yearly basis. But being thankful should be a daily habit and not a once a year event.

Just WONDER-ing:

What turkey traditions do you observe? Have you ever participated in a turkey shoot? A turkey trot? Have you ever eaten turducken? If not, would you want to try it? What’s your favorite Thanksgiving leftover?

 

 

 

 

 

Gobbling Up Turkey Trivia

Happy Thanksgiving! What a wonderful holiday it is–unless, of course, you are a turkey. Turkey is synonymous with Thanksgiving, so it behooves us to know something about this bird. I’m pretty sure that your friends and family would rather talk turkey trivia than to wade into the troubled waters of political discussions. So let’s learn a few fun facts about turkeys.

The majestic bald eagle is the national bird of the U.S.A., but the turkey might have gotten this designation. Early in our country’s history, a move was afoot to make the turkey the country’s bird. However, Thomas Jefferson successfully opposed this idea. Hence, male birds became known as “Toms” in a not so subtle dig at Mr. Jefferson. Yes, politics was ugly even back then.

While news stories about mass shootings are becoming more commonplace, we don’t hear about the mass execution of turkeys. Does no one care about the targeted turkey? According to the National Turkey Federation, 45 to 46 MILLION turkeys are killed each year for Thanksgiving. That’s a whopping number of fatalities of our fine feathered friends.

If Bambi were killed for a feast, there would no doubt be a hue and cry from the public in general and animal lovers in particular. Funny, I don’t recall learning about any protests at the first Thanksgiving where the Pilgrims celebrated with the Wampanoag tribe; venison was the main meat on that menu. Not being a fan of deer meat, I have yet another thing to be thankful for today; I won’t have to eat Bambi or any of Bambi’s relatives.

Concerned about putting on a few pounds from your Thanksgiving feast? The turkey which is likely front and center on your holiday dining table is not worried about his figure, but the hostess must figure out how much meat is required to serve her guests. An average turkey purchased for Thanksgiving is sixteen pounds. And Martha Stewart advises that the cook count on having 1 1/2 pounds of turkey for person for this size bird. If you get a scrawny turkey, i.e., under 12 pounds, you should plan on two pounds of turkey per person. And I thought that a quarter pounder contained a lot of meat! Hope each diner has a big plate to hold this mound of meat.

And does being PC fly out the window at Thanksgiving? Well we know the turkey is unable escape his doom by flying out the window because domesticated turkeys cannot fly. Turkeys are native to the Americas. In fact, they are the only breed of poultry native to the Western Hemisphere. If Native American Indian rights are protected; why are Native American turkeys not accorded similar protection and recognition? Enquiring minds want to know!

Gender differences exist between male and female turkeys. Toms (adult males) are the only turkeys who can gobble. The (non-gobbling) female turkey is called a hen. Perhaps the tom is gobbling because he is hen-pecked?

Pork may be the “other white meat,” but turkey is another white meat. A typical turkey is 70% white meat and 30% dark meat. Those who wish to maintain a healthy diet on Thanksgiving (good luck with that!) should opt for the white meat which has fewer calories and less fat.

While millions of turkeys will get to meet their maker so Americans can feast on Thanksgiving, at least one bird will have a great holiday. And who is that lucky turkey? Why, the National Thanksgiving Turkey. It has become tradition for the president to grant a pardon to this bird; he saves the turkey’s life and makes political hay at the same time. Stays of execution have been issued by presidents for years, but President George H.W. Bush was the one who came up with the idea of “pardoning” a turkey. The pardonee is then sent to live out the rest of his days at an animal sanctuary. I am not sure what heinous crime the turkey committed to be facing a death sentence, but at least he was spared to see another Thanksgiving.

And to make the pardon even more special, presidents have been asked to pardon turkeys with cutesy names. In 2013, President Obama pardoned Popcorn. Another year he pardoned Tater and Tot. Last year President Trump pardoned Drumstick and Wishbone. This past Tuesday Peas and Carrots received a reprieve. Trump even tweeted to ask citizens to vote as to which of these two birds would be the media star for the pardoning ceremony.  Let’s not ask Florida voters to weigh in. By the time their votes are counted (and likely recounted), it might be Easter.

For a turkey, Thanksgiving is both the best and the worst of times. He is the star of the holiday show, but he won’t get to enjoy it because, well, he’s dead. For Americans, Thanksgiving is the best time for us. We have federal authorization to take a holiday and count our blessings; we probably won’t count the calories we consume though. We can be thankful that we live in a country that, although flawed, allows us many freedoms which others in this world do not have. We have a higher standard of living that most. We will have food on our Thanksgiving table and friends and family with whom to share it. And last, but certainly not least, the midterm elections are over. Let’s talk (and EAT) turkey, not politics today.

Just WONDER-ing: Do you prefer white or dark meat? Would you eat either if you personally had to kill your turkey? Other than delicious food, what do you have to be thankful for on Thanksgiving? Is there any reason not to be thankful every day?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thankful For Positive Negativity

 

Thanksgiving provides an occasion where we can stop to consider our circumstances and to give thanks for them.  Unfortunately, in our materialistic society, our thankfulness is usually directed to things we have and not to things we don’t.  If we follow Paul’s directive in Ephesians 5:20, we should give thanks for everything; sometimes the things we should be the most thankful for are the things we are lacking, i.e., the positive negatives in our lives.

While superficially this statement may seem confusing, stop and think about it.  What are you glad that you don’t have?  Here’s an easy one.  I am glad that I DON’T have any physical disabilities.  I will be able to hear my four year old grandson sing a Thanksgiving blessing.  I will be able to see the table full of food that my daughter and I will prepare together for our holiday meal.

Admit it.  You have stood in front of your refrigerator and made the bold statement, “There’s nothing to eat.”  What you really mean is that there is nothing that you want to eat.  Food is in your refrigerator; what’s available just doesn’t strike your fancy.  Why not be thankful that you DON’T have bare cupboards like Old Mother Hubbard?

And those cupboards have to be located somewhere.  You can give thanks that you DON’T have to be labeled homeless.  My humble abode is just that.  It is humble and is not fit for consideration for a photo spread in Better Homes and Gardens.  But this humble abode does provide a roof over my head and prevents my exposure to the elements.

The elements can be devastating.  I DON’T have to worry about hurricane destruction to my house this hurricane season.  My residence is in Florida, so it is in a prime location for a visit from Jim Cantore and a storm for some reason innocently named after a human.  Who knew Marie was such a menace?  My humble abode has been spared the wrath from any sinister storm this year.

How am I warned about severe weather?  Why I can read about it on the Internet and in the newspaper.  I am not out of the loop because I DON’T suffer from illiteracy.  If I choose, I can read about who accused whom of what in the news.  I can read all about it–or not.  I can read something mindless, like the National Enquirer, or I can read a textbook to plan a lesson for the ESL class I volunteer teach to help others.

Speaking of books, I can freely purchase, carry and read a Bible in the country where I live.  I DON’T fear persecution here for my religious beliefs.  It is not a question of whether I can read a Bible; instead I have to determine which of numerous versions I desire to peruse and study.  I can bow my head and pray over my meal in a restaurant without worrying that the authorities will have my head for this behavior.  I can openly gather together with others of like faith to ask the Lord’s blessing.

While Thanksgiving is simply one day on a calendar containing 365 days in a year, I DON’T have to limit my thankfulness to that holiday.  I can and should be thankful on a daily basis for what I have and for what I DON’T.  If I DON’T limit my thankfulness to things I have, I will realize that I have more to be thankful for than I ever realized.  Yes, I appreciate those negatives in my life which are positive for me.

JUST WONDERING:  What negative thing can you give thanks for today that is a positive for you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving Tune

getty_rf_photo_of_family_singing_songs_at_dinner

Today is Thanksgiving, and if there’s a song in the air, I’m pretty sure that  it is a Christmas song and not a Thanksgiving tune.  Turn on the radio and you can find stations airing Christmas songs 24/7.  But have you heard any Thanksgiving tunes?  You might hear “Ode To Billie Joe,” but there’s no “Ode To Tom Turkey.”

One way of expressing joy and happiness is to sing.  Since Thanksgiving is a positive holiday celebrating the good things in your life, you’d think we’d have lots of songs to celebrate how blessed we are.  Other than “We Gather Together,” “Come Ye Thankful People, Come” and “Over The River And Through the Wood,” there’s not much to sing on Turkey Day.

Never one to merely complain about something without taking action, I am up for the challenge. I’ve penned a fun, family song that all ages will enjoy singing around the heavily laden Thanksgiving table.  Since Christmas has pretty much horned in on Thanksgiving, I’ve used a familiar tune from a hilarious Christmas song to go with my lyrics.  Sing it with me, will you?

Turkey-Running

GRANDMA GOT RUN OVER BY A GOBBLER

Grandma got run over by a gobbler

Cooking food for our Thanksgiving feast

You can say there’s no need for Mylanta

As for me and Grandpa, relief please.

 

She’d been cooking too much turkey

And we begged, “Throw in the towel!”

But she’d gotten soo ambitious

So she hurried out the door in search of fowl.

 

When they found her Thursday morning

At the scene of the attack

There were claw marks on her apron

And turkey feathers sticking from her cap.

 

Grandma got run over by a gobbler

Cooking food for our Thanksgiving feast

You can says there’s no need for Mylanta

As for me and Grandpa, relief please.

 

Now we’re all so proud of Grandpa

He’s been slaving o’er Grandma’s stove

See him in there making stuffing

Basting Butterballs with cousin Joe.

 

It’s not easy without Grandma

All the family’s hungry for her yams

And we just can’t help but wonder

Should we serve the Tom or eat some ham?

 

Grandma got run over by a gobbler

Cooking food for our Thanksgiving feast

You can say there’s no need for Mylanta

As for me and Grandpa, relief please.

 

Now the meal is on the table

And the goblets full of wine

And a big and pretty platter

That’s just the spot for Grandma’s bird divine.

 

Grandma got run over by a gobbler

Cooking food for our Thanksgiving feast

You can say there’s no need for Mylanta

As for me and Grandpa, relief please.

 

I’ve warned all my friends and neighbors

It’s a better workout at the gym

You should never chase a turkey

Who knows the Thursday menu highlights him.

 

Grandma got run over by a gobbler

Cooking food for our Thanksgiving feast

You can say there’s no need for Mylanta

As for me and Grandpa, relief please.*

 

Happy Thanksgiving to all and to all a good bite (of turkey)!

*Copyright 2015

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s Talk Turkey

turkey

This week Americans will celebrate Thanksgiving, a national holiday in the United States since 1863. Thanksgiving is pretty much synonymous with turkey, the bird gracing the platter in the middle of the holiday table. But this year, the centerpiece of the Thanksgiving gathering may not be poultry but politics, i.e., discussions (arguments?) about the area of the world in which Turkey is located. That’s Turkey with a capital “T” as in the country and not a bird Butterball is hawking. I mean what family gathering isn’t complete without heated debate between blood relatives who make each other’s blood boil with opposite stances on hot button political issues?

In case you have been living under a rock, perhaps one the size of, say, Plymouth Rock, it may behoove you to learn that hordes of Syrian refugees are in Europe and looking for a new home. Uncle Sam’s neighborhood has been mentioned as a possibility. Some kind-hearted and compassionate Americans have become cheerleaders for Welcome Wagon and can’t wait to deliver a nice, piping hot casserole to these refugees upon their arrival. Other, more security conscious Americans, are urging that we pull up the drawbridge to protect the womenfolk and children from murderous heathens who could blow us to kingdom come while we are at a concert or out to dinner.  Gosh darn.  Now while eating our Thanksgiving meal we not only have to decide what kind of pie to have for dessert (pumpkin? pecan? apple?), but we have to take a position on life-altering decisions for thousands of Syrian refugees?

Shifting the table talk to the presidential race is not an option.  That change will lead right back into the same debate because, of course, a candidate’s stance  on foreign policy issues is a key consideration.  Just ask poor Ben Carson.  He has been shot down like a Thanksgiving turkey, plunging from his #1 spot in the polls.  Why?  Perhaps it is because, as one of his top advisers claims, the good doctor is unable to process “one iota of intelligent information about the Middle East.”   That’s a bit harsh; he’s a neurosurgeon for crying out loud.  I doubt Middle East Affairs 101 was an elective in med school.  And how many of us could pick Syria out on a map if asked to do so?  (HINT:  It borders Turkey.)

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Instead of attempting to solve the world’s problems, maybe we Americans should just take the day of Thanksgiving to well, simply give thanks.  The fact that we are alive and (relatively) safe (for the moment) is reason enough to thank our Creator.  If we knew an iota about terrorism, we’d be thanking our Creator EVERY DAY for our safety.  Think ISIS is all we have to worry about?  HA!  The U.S. Department of State has an extensive “menu” of FTO’s (Foreign Terrorist Organizations) which it  has helpfully listed for us on its website.  Choose from approximately 60 named groups including Abu Nidal, Hamas, Boko Haram (currently ranked the #1 deadliest FTO), the Real (as opposed to the fake) Irish Republican Army, Shining Path, and the Palestinian Liberation Front, to give you security nightmares in addition to indigestion from your Thanksgiving feast.

The menu choice is yours this week.  You can have dinner with political debate on the side.  Or you can embrace the essence of the holiday and count your blessings while consuming copious comestibles (and presumably not counting your calories).  Let’s take time to be  thankful for life and provisions–whether white or dark meat; peacefully co-exist with your relatives and perhaps an annoying in-law for the day by avoiding divisive topics.   Pray for peace in and around Turkey while having a  piece of turkey.IMP0190013

 

 

 

 

 

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