Thanksgiving was never what you would consider traditional around our house when your humble observer was a youngster. Of course, family and friends congregated at the house on the corner and we ate until the belt lost a notch, but that was about as far as tradition went.
Our Thanksgiving table was an assortment of differences, and that’s what made the holiday meal unique. It’s not everywhere a feller could sit down to entree of a Daddy-special ham (secret basting ingredient, homemade muscadine wine), maybe a hefty platter of fried chicken, and turkey (when provided by aunt or uncle).
Add-ons included Miss Rose’s dressing (begging to be smothered in giblet gravy), mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and at least a half dozen veggies from the garden of my Daddy, the man who could plant a row of peas on an asphalt road and get a bumper crop.
And, we always had one special treat. A large bowl of yams dominated the center of the spread giving my precious grandmother the opportunity to point and say, “We got sweet potatoes,” at least a half dozen times. It was a table to behold. And we were thankful.
Thanksgiving was, back then, just that. A day to give thanks. Like lots of folks we didn’t have much money but we weren’t poor. The food, the family, the friends, the warmth of home that seemed to embrace each of us, the blessings of life and health all spoke volumes of how thankful we should be. Thanksgiving was a time for celebration and reflection on the mercies of a benevolent God.
Today, we’ll join millions who will set aside cares and, hopefully, differences to enjoy a uniquely American holiday. It’s a holiday, designed to bring us together, but it’s one that was proclaimed during a time in our history when we were horrifically torn apart.
Not long after the battle of Gettysburg in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln officially set aside the fourth Thursday in November as a time to give thanks. It was more than 240 years after the Pilgrims celebratory feast, but better late than never. And the holiday wasn’t all Lincoln’s idea. Advocating for the event was a lady who’s better known for a children’s poem than as the Mother of Thanksgiving. Sarah Josepha Hale, author of “Mary Had A Little Lamb,” bent the president’s ear into submission and, voila, here we are.
But in keeping with the serpentine social/moral roads we’re traveling in country, Thanksgiving is becoming something different. Creeping into our mainstream is a demonization of the holiday, and it’s happening in houses of alleged higher education, supported by significant flame-fanning from our friends in many media outlets.
Thanksgiving, claim the intellectuals, is more about genocide, imperialism, supremacy and domination brought to this Utopia by once-starving European Pilgrims. These intruders depended on the benevolence of Native Americans (Indians, to us bloodliners) to exist; benevolence repaid by disease, slaughter and designed displacement.
Some “activists” say the day should be labeled “Colonizer Christmas” because they don’t like what Thanksgiving represents. Some years ago, an email from a college to its students reminded young sponge brains that “Thanksgiving is complicated,” adding “We urge you not to forget that this holiday commemorates genocide and American imperialism.” New York City’s Barnard College certainly had a way with Marx’s words.
Such comments and attitudes matter only to the enlightened minority who have to speak to one another to find someone who really gives a Potter’s pimple about their opinions. My ol’ granddaddy used to say it’s okay to let a fool talk ’cause sooner or later he’s gonna run outta fools who will listen to him. Grandaddy’s right. Just look at the ratings and subscription numbers of some of our “major” media outlets.
Even with the cultural demonization and snarkism, Thanksgiving is the time to focus on our many blessings, not the least of which is the absolute right to the enjoy liberties we are guaranteed. We are a society of free people who can exercise our right to speak freely and worship in the manner we choose without dictate from king or despot, Democrat or Republican.
Many believe we live in a culture identified by privilege and power; one that cannot allow itself to acknowledge the people or the Higher Power that have provided us such tremendous opportunity. Those culturally privileged and powerful just need to be reminded they are decrapitated by the ignorance of arrogance.
Thanksgiving is a day to relax and enjoy what we know to be the truth…that God is in control and His blessings will continue to flow to those who love Him. Let somebody else worry about cultural implications. Let them spoil their wokey appetite. Our only concern should be whether or not the relatives and friends leave us some leftovers. No cooking is anticipated at Rocker headquarters for the next couple of days.
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