Paw Paw River Journal
Let’s be thankful
I am writing this column near the end of October… to be printed near the end of November. I like to have my stories in a month at a time if possible. And I believe this gives Editor Karl confidence that I will not be late. So right now we are in a period of intense political scrutiny. Bombarded by advertising for all the candidates! And don’t you wonder how the air time will be filled after the election is over? I guess we will still have vitamins and all the products to make women feel younger than their years.
Personally I am most tired of all the hoopla and recriminations that are bouncing back and forth. A girl I know said this is going to be a “clothespin and Scotch” election. When I asked her what she meant by that, she said she will put the clothespin on her nose when she goes to vote… then come home and drink some Scotch!!!!! Yup, I understand just what she means. I am tired of all the hate, under-the-table maneuvering, and accusations being hurled back and forth. I am ready to have it all over and done with!
And it will be over! After all the dust settles we will still go on. Our country will be here, perhaps a little battered and bloody, but we will survive! And so will our country. We will still be the most powerful nation on earth, if a little shaken. And we must carry on with life as usual. The sun will rise, the sun will set and the earth will still abide! And we need to celebrate our country’s holidays as usual.
Aha! What I am leading up to is Thanksgiving. We can still celebrate in our usual ways our most unusual history… it has made us unique in the whole world. That small group of dissidents and ne’er-do-wells who suffered a grueling ocean voyage in a leaky sailing vessel to colonize our eastern shore was courageous beyond belief. They must have felt like they were sailing off the edge of the world when they left Europe.
And they suffered and endured until they got a foothold in an unfriendly land. We will never know really how the Native Americans felt and how much they helped those first settlers. They probably shook their heads and said, “What fools!”
So we will get together in groups of families and friends. And we will feast, just as those early people did after they had survived a year. There will be the traditional turkey and trimmings. Have I said before how ugly I think those birds are? Yes, I have… I do not mind a nice slab of white meat, mashed potatoes dripping with delicious gravy. So the celebration lasts all day. And when the turkey comes back out for reruns, I slip into the kitchen and find a biscuit with butter and peanut butter!
So this holiday has evolved into one of our biggest. And it spells doom for thousands… no, millions of turkeys all over this land. Usually the prize bird that is given to our presidential family receives a pardon. And he then goes to a huge turkey farm where he lives out his days in splendid contemplation of his own plumage. He does not realize how lucky he is. Remember my recipe from last year? Some housewife invented it… by stuffing some popcorn in the turkey’s rear. When the oven door blew open… the bird was done
I have the greatest respect for this occasion. Thanksgiving is one of those really special days. We made this land out of a wilderness. I feel most sad for the Native Americans who got trampled in the process. Someone among the first pioneers coined the phrase, “Manifest Destiny.” They meant that we were supposed to do this… conquer the land… displace the people who were here before us.
No matter that we were interlopers… had greed for more land… a passion for the yellow mineral that just happened to be located in grounds sacred to the people already here. It is also sad to think that the great buffalo herds were slaughtered just for their hides… and some of the meat considered a delicacy back east (buffalo tongue).
All of those reasons are part of it. Now, in our present society, isn’t it ironic to think that descendants of the people displaced in former years are getting their revenge by taking money from gamblers in their Indian land casinos. These are descendants of those who displaced them. And some are, no doubt, spending money that should go for food and clothes.
A lot of email crosses my desk. Some of it is most alarming… shouting that we are in mortal danger of losing everything. Do I believe it all? Maybe not all… but I do think there is reason to be worried. Not everyone in this world… or even in our own country want us to be Number One! We are envied… people want what we have. And they hate us for our success. A friend, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, said in a speech once… “If you want to measure a country’s greatness, just watch whether people are trying to leave it… or trying to get into it!” How are we doing in that regard?
Personally I think we are the best in the world. Would you like to live anywhere else? And although I want everyone else to have enough food and clothing, I do not believe that by our losing our preeminence they will prosper. I would much rather see us remain powerful and ABLE TO HELP THE REST OF THE WORLD.
Simplistic view? Perhaps, but after the dust from our recent election settles, I really hope we are able to keep on celebrating holidays and weaving golden threads into the rich fabric of life in these