Ichabod's Kin
A place for politics, pop culture, and social issues


English: "The First Thanksgiving at Plymo...

English: “The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth” (1914) By Jennie A. Brownscombe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thanksgiving traditionally is a time to eat like there’s no tomorrow. And there are some big fat ideas about the day that ain’t necessarily so.
    Of course times have changed and so has Turkey Day, an occasion that such fowl surely would anticipate with dread, except that they don’t have powers of anticipation till they see the farmer’s axe. A late friend of mine was a chronic stutterer but compulsive musician who dubbed himself, “The Worst Country Singer in the World,” and would stammer through his signature song, an ingenious rendition titled, “Please, Mr. Swift, Don’t Take My Boy Again This Year.”
    Clearly the song was about the meat processing industry, of which Swift & Co. was representative of those in the U.S. that, well, “made a killing” when Thanksgiving came around. Today there are more vegans among us who eschew, rather than chew, any kind of meat then or any day in the year. If nothing else, their influence has occasioned more sensible controls on our amount of consumption.
    We are also a far cry from the first issue of Life Magazine, whose “dietician” was firmly in the pocket of the Camel cigarette company. For the family celebration of that year, her special spread suggested that each course of the Thanksgiving meal be preceded, and followed, by diners enjoying a good smoke (of a particular brand, of course). In each case, she said, it enhanced taste, digestion, conviviality and other crap that said dietician was paid to promote. For that hallowed tradition, let us all fold our hands and say in unison: “No, thanks.”
    But there is more to consider than gastronomical matters. The “values” people out there, of whom there is a frightful number in the world these days, love to say that Thanksgiving is a “conservative” holiday, since only their kind love family and children, not to mention land and liberty. My encyclopedia however says the “Pilgrim Fathers” were the “left wing” of Puritanism who also dumped the Nicene Creed in favor of a Covenant of community relations. Oh, damn the facts! There’s nothing more inconvenient than truth as confirmed by historical records.
     It is also believed that Thanksgiving Day goes back not only to the pilgrim-ish people but perhaps even to Adam and Eve when, to his chagrin, she served an apple when he adamantly preferred turkey–and thus inspired a noble tradition observed ever since.
    Well, the Pilgrims did have much to be thankful for, first and foremost to the Wampanoags and other “savages” who shared generously with that rag-tag bunch. Too bad the natives didn’t take a dimmer view of those fun folks who would grow from fifty in number (an equal number had died off at an alarming rate) and would be followed by others bearing disease and a tendency to break treaties. That’s why we give thanks that Day while descendants of  “Indiana” protest the whole kit and caboodle.
    On a recent trip to my Missouri hometown, my wife noticed the word “Capaha” on various sites and local institutions and I explained that was the local tribe that inhabited the region prior to white settlement. She rightly mused that use of their name was our way of dealing with the guilt for what we did to them.
    Once rid of the natives all over the U.S., for the most part, we’ve become our own worst enemies. As we sit down this year to the obligatory feast, the visions of sugar plums dancing in our heads will be the economic distress occasioned by a recalcitrant, extremist Congress. Wow, once we took this land by force we sure knew what to do with it, didn’t we.
    For the above we utter a sad but harsh, “No, thanks.”
    But for all else: for love, family, and for good, generous, tolerant people, each of whom is worth more than a hundred times those others who tell lies on TV news and vote for nincompoops at every opportunity, we join the character in Shakespeare who said, “I can no answer give, but thanks, and thanks, and ever thanks.”

One Response to “THANKS, BUT NO THANKS”

  1. John, Another thoughtful and insightful blog. “THANKS” to you – have a wonderful day. Bill McDowell

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