By Alex Berger
Over the river, and through the wood/To Grandmother’s house we go;/The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh/through the white and drifted snow.
Our stomachs are warning us that Thanksgiving will arrive Nov. 25. Did you know some holidays are about food: Easter and lamb, Hanukkah and potato pancakes, Valentine’s Day and candy? Some holidays are about music: Christmas and “Silent Night,” the Fourth of July and “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” Grandparents Day and “Darling You Are Growing Older”? And some holidays are about furniture: Labor Day and a beach chair, Halloween and witches’ love seats, my birthday and any table to eat coffee ice cream upon?
But would you believe Thanksgiving is a couch, sofa, chair, sectional and recliner?
Why? Because Thanksgiving has become a day for watching football games perched atop anything that has room for our derrieres. Be it warm weather with palm trees softly swaying outside or in cold weather with snowfall pounding windows, we sit before TVs and watch football games all Thanksgiving long. It is no coincidence that the first NFL game was played on Thanksgiving Day in 1934 and continued every Thanksgiving thereafter.
Over the river, and through the woods —/Oh, how the wind does blow!/It stings the toes and bites the nose/As over the ground we go.
Thanksgiving is also the time for families to gather, eat and give blessings. “What are blessings?” you ask. Well, be thankful you are not a turkey, that the Indians — oops, native Americans — brought the pilgrims turkey for dinner instead of groundhogs and that there is lots of Pepto-Bismol around.
Do not get me wrong. I am grateful for this holiday, but as long as the Pilgrims and I—–s were making a big deal of it, why did the main course have to be turkey? Why not lamb chops, a kosher corned beef sandwich or sushi? But it was turkey back then and it is turkey today because a non-beef eating pilgrim, Miles Standish, wanted all Americans to carry on the grand turkey tradition forevermore.
Over the river, and through the woods,/To have a first-rate play./Hear the bells ring, “Ting-a-ling-ding,”/Hurrah for Thanksgiving Day! — Lydia Maria Child
And while we are on the subject of Thanksgiving dinners, let us now discuss my wife, Gloria. Whenever she sits down to the holiday meal, she dresses to kill — and cooks the same way. I pleaded with her not to make turkey this year, since we have leftovers from last year, but she threatened to hit me with a hot drumstick.
Last Thanksgiving, Gloria cooked our turkey in a microwave oven. We never had dinner that night.
Gloria totally runs our kitchen, the only one in the world where flies come to commit suicide. To improve her culinary skills, she once went to cooking school and was a straight-A student until she burned something: her cooking school. I once timed her cooking a three-minute egg: It took 33 minutes. Whenever our two young sons, Jon and Vance, were naughty, I told them, “Either you behave or you’ll both go to bed with dinner!”
On Thanksgiving, there are lots of things to be grateful for: the Indians brought over the cranberry sauce with the turkey, you are not a turkey and you are not an atheist who has no one to thank on Thanksgiving.
During our holiday meal, Gloria passed me one of her homemade biscuits with a toothsaw to eat it with, and I broke a tooth drinking Gloria’s after-dinner demitasse. But being a sensitive soul, at the end of the meal I stroked her with a reassuring gesture. I kept quiet. When I recover from Gloria’s holiday meal, I will take her out for some real American food: pizza.
The first turkeys were not wild. They just went crazy when they found out what Gloria planned to do with them.
In all fairness, I must say a few words about the “disrespected bird,” which Benjamin Franklin nominated as America’s official national bird because it is native to North America. It lost out to the bald eagle, despite Benjy’s plea that the eagle possessed “bad moral character” like its latter-day namesake, the Philadelphia Eagles. But I contend that the Thanksgiving bird should be the vulture. Have you ever noticed how your in-laws gobble up your Thanksgiving dinner?
We have eaten our dinner, prayed our prayers, wished our wishes. Now it is time to get to work and wash up all these dishes.
Food for thought: Christmas shopping begins the day after Thanksgiving. Wear comfortable shoes and keep your sunny side up.
Contact Alex Berger at email@example.com.