Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thanks-A-Lot Day

What a great idea! Maybe not for the indigenous people on whose land we trespassed, brave but undocumented, stayed for dinner and never left. Nor is it so wonderful from the point of view of the turkey. But the observance of a day set aside to gather around the hearth and give thanks is somebody’s gracenote.

I must have endured a deprived childhood because my mother declared Thanksgiving to be a goyish holiday. If we even had a chicken it was bargained for with Murray the chicken-plucker. My memory of the butcher shop has been reduced to a saw-dust floor, hanging flypaper and a bloody apron. As for the chicken it was ultimately boiled until tasteless; great soup but not much else.

Now the forth Thursday of November is a cherished time. Aside from the gluttony and sloth it is an occasion to express gratitude for being here as opposed to there. There includes most anywhere else on the map. If I had been born in Kabul or Mogadishu I would probably be long dead by now. So I bow in thanks for the cosmic crapshoot.

White meat, thank you. No, not the Jell-O mold again. Yes, I’ll have another helping of yams. Pass the Chardonnay, please. Fabulous stuffing, what did you put in here. No, I don’t want to know. Oh my, pumpkin pie. What could be bad? I can’t move. A wee drap more of wine, wouldn’t hurt.

Of course it is harvest time in the Northern Hemisphere and celebrated as such in Canada (Jour de l’Action de Grace in Quebec) on the second Monday in October. Not a bad idea, separating it from Christmas and a three-day holiday.

But four days is better for traveling and returning to the nest. It’s a time when the grown children regress and resume their rivalries, the crazy uncle comes down from his attic room, old memories get embellished and someone gets up, half-drunk, to offer a secular prayer for another year of good cheer and that word reserved for this day, bounty.

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