Monday, November 15, 2021

Gratitude Day

From the point of view of the turkey population this could be one of their 

best Thanksgivings in recent memory. It’s not clear whether memory is 

located in their white meat or dark meat. The word in Turkeyland is that 

unvaxed deniers cannot sit down with woke vaxers much to the relief of 

the fowl community.

In any case I’m doing my part.

My plans include a dinner of virtual turkey with Google images of 

cranberry sauce, digital stuffing topped off with fractals of pumpkin pie. 

No gluttony and sloth. No gastro-intestinal reflux. And no decline in the 

domesticated turkey population.

Turkeys are a much-maligned fowl. Their reputation for not being very 

bright is probably because of their head size and propensity to stare up 

into the rain, sometimes even drowning in the process. Give them a break. 

It’s all because of their monocular vision which results in a tilt of the head 

in order to focus.

They express all they have to say, both jubilation and trepidation with 

what we hear as an undifferentiated gobble. My guess is there are gobbles 

within the gobble beyond our acoustic acuity. In fact, only males gobble. 

Females cackle and chirp. As in other species males swell their snood, that 

piece of flesh hanging down from their beak, in the mating ritual. Those 

male turkeys with erectile dysfunction are deemed good for nothing and 

generally end up in the oven.

And why do we call them turkeys when they are native to North America, 

I hear you ask. It’s a long story highlighted by European mistaken identity, 

African imports of guinea hens and a bit of Greek mythology. The chances 

are you’ll never be asked that question even on Jeopardy.

Turkey, the country, has nothing to do with it except that according to the 

Treaty of Versailles, following W.W. I, The Ottoman Empire (centered in 

Turkey) was carved up by the European imperialists. France and Great 

Britain had a virtual food fight over who was to get Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, 

Palestine etc… on their plate

The day has devolved into football games and Black Friday Eve as 

consumers gather, full bellies and all, to storm the stores for the essentials 

of life. Though I would imagine Jeff Bezos will be rubbing his hands together 

as we flock to the Amazon website forgetting about gratitude for which the 

day had been set aside.  

There is nothing about the holiday more iconic than Norman 

Rockwell’s image of the serving of turkey with four happy heads 

on each side. Consider the notion that Rockwell, himself, so often 

inserted in his own illustrations, is missing from this one. Maybe 

he was not what we had thought. Rockwell evolved into his true self, 

an outsider, an anti-Nixon Liberal, possibly a closeted 

gay man who took all his vacations with his buddies and had disdain 

for his own American myth.

As for dining alone on Thursday. I'm fine with it. I'm likely to get 

gravy on my shirt anyway and I never know which fork to use. Like 

Norman, my namesake, I’ll not be part of this year’s table signifying 

the excesses of the American idyll.


Wait, I can't end on this sour note. Thanksgiving is actually my 

favorite holiday; no flags and no religious fables. There is much to 

be said about bringing together family and friends celebrating our 

good fortune and each other. There is grace inside the word 

gratitude. And that's amazing enough.


  1. Hope it's a good one for you Norm. Much love, the Zendejas family.

  2. We would love to have you at our table of friends. This is the first time in 2 years we will be getting together. Let me know if you want to come. I wish we lived closer together.

  3. Thank you, Alone, but I prefer the solitude this year.