My Thanksgiving Table Pledge

I would be lying if I said I didn’t suffer an occasional case of schadenfreude. Maybe it’s just human nature. Maybe that isn’t a good excuse. Maybe I need to grow up. Maybe at 60-something, that’s unlikely. I’ve probably done all the growing up I’m going to do. Maybe, in fact, my state of maturity could be in regression.

Still, every time the wind catches that crazy comb-over, so beloved by our P-elect-OTUS, I can’t help but enjoy it. Now there’s a discussion topic for the Thanksgiving Table: Bad Hairdos of Famous People. Speaking of orange, let’s include HFC@OSU Mike Gundy. Don’t get me wrong, I am very happy for the success of his Cowboys, but seriously does he not have a friend anywhere who can explain that mullets fall deeply in the category along with comb-overs as Most Riculous Hair Styles Ever? I know, I know, I’m BALD. But at least I can blame my do on genetics.

Back to the subject of appropriate table conversation—I was at a department store the other day buying a new shirt that might not show the gravy and cranberry stains that will undoubtedly be on it post-meal. I overheard a couple of salespersons:

SP1: I’m hosting our family for Thanksgiving. I plan to meet everyone at the door with a big glass of wine for each person.

SP2: Why?

SP1: We’ve got Trump Lovers and Trump Haters and I’m going to try to mellow them all out before the topic turns to politics.

SP2: I hear ya.

Hear Ye. Hear Ye. I have a proclamation to make. I do hereby, proclaim and promise that I will not talk politics at the Thanksgiving table.

You go first Louisa and get thine turkey started.

You go first Louisa and get thine turkey started.

I realize how problematic that is given that the Day itself is fraught with political stuff. So, I’ll adjust my pledge to not talk about politics after 1863, the year President Abraham Lincoln, at the height of the Civil War, established the Day in a proclamation entreating all Americans to ask God to “commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife” and to “heal the wounds of the nation.”

Now that’s a proclamation I can get behind.

Also, off the table, so to speak, for me at the holiday table, is the topic of ailments, afflictions, infirmities, syndromesand other medical maladies.

Let me quickly add a clause to my official proclamation: my pledge doesn’t have to be your pledge. Of courseeveryone is free to talk about whatever they choose. Just don’t count on me to enter in to a discussion of American politics after 1863 or what hurts, leaks or needs to be replaced, and if the government (taxpayers) are going to pay for it. If the talk turns to those topics however, I won’t be offended, and certainly will not walk away from the table. I am fully on board with the cause to Make America Stuffed Again.

In preparation for the event(s), and in the event I’m called on to liven the discussion, I’ve been considering topics that might make for good conversation. Some ideas so far:

What does “Mary Had A Little Lamb” have to do with Thanksgiving? Did Mary still love her little lamb once it grew to be a cranky adult with patchy, yellowy fleece?

What is schadenfreude? Harmless fun or a manifestation of deep bitterness, and if so, can giving thanks cure it?

Best Christmas movie (not counting Hallmark movies) and why. Who would win the award for best actor in a holiday movie? Best actress? Best quote from a holiday movie.

Food Fun. Tryptophan: friend or foe? Myth or fact? Jello: why did anyone ever decide to put carrot shavings in orange Jello. Did someone say, “Hey, they’re both orange. Let’s combine them.” I am trying so hard to not make a joke about our first orange POTUS.

Black Friday vs. Football: Where do you stand? Is this Thanksgiving the way the Pilgrims imagined it? Could it be that they are mutually beneficial to family harmony? She says: “Fine sit around all weekend and watch football. I’m going shopping! He says: “Fine, bail on the family and go shopping. I’ll sit around all weekend and watch football.” Everybody wins.

Like I said, this is a work in progress. Feel free to make suggestions.

Perhaps I’ll just sit quietly, look around the table at the people I love and that say they love me, be deeply thankful and wonder if maybe I’ve become “That Uncle”.

Be Glad You're Not A Lion

I AM THANKFUL. And sometimes I am thankfuller (read this and that will make some sense).

For one thing I am thankful I was never drafted by the Detroit Lions.

Here’s the thing about being a drummer in a marching band in a very long parade—you get blisters, blisters that break and ooze and bleed. By the end of a parade your hands look something like a turkey leg bone after the big meal. While most of the band members play only occasionally during the course of the parade, the drum line must play the  e-n-t-i-r-e  time. 

I commented on this reality within ear shot of my high school band director; once. The former army drill sergeant-turned band director pulled the cigar from the corner of his mouth, stuck his baton into my chest and said, “Suck it up kid. It’s an occupational hazard.” (The cigar part may only be real in my over-dramatized remembrance of the event.)

Although I had no idea what an occupational hazard was, I now had a working definition. If I could find my Funk & Wagnalls I’m sure it would say something about a risk or condition inherent in a given occupation.

So before you decide to be a bass drummer in the marching band, count the costs. About three miles in, that sucker gets heavy and your hands will bleed, and your shoes will be covered in horse crap, because the band always get placed right behind the 100-members of the county stampede club.

It’s kind of like being drafted by the Detroit Lions. (Not that I would know anything about that.) Even though you’re excited, you will suddenly realize that, no matter what, you’ll have to work on Thanksgiving.

Since 1934, every Thanksgiving with a very few exceptions in the late-30’s, the Lions have played on Thanksgiving Day.

[image from used without permission]

[image from used without permission]

Let me say to all the Detroit Lions and you poor people in retail who have to go in and work on Thanksgiving, “Suck it up kid. It’s an occupational hazard.” JUST KIDDING!

I’m sorry you have to work, but we need an NFL game to play in the background while we sleep, and apparently, some just can’t wait until Friday to get their shopping on.

Don’t blame me though, Wal-Mart associates. I’m not the reason you’re working on Thanksgiving (or any other day for that matter). And for that I’m thankful.

I am also thankful for some others, those who serve, who don’t get to have Thanksgiving off—like my youngest son. Because of his work with the less law-abiding of our citizenry, he has to be on duty. Apparently, like football and shopping; crime doesn’t take a holiday.

So, if you’re working on Thanksgiving, thank you. If it helps remember this: while your occupational hazard is costing you a day off, it is far less tragic than the hazard of the poor old turkey.