I'm so thankful for Thanksgiving
Sure, it doesn’t offer the loot from Christmas/Hanukah, the fireworks on the Fourth of July, or the New Year’s Eve party (a personal toughie since it’s my birthday). What it does give me is a 4 day holiday – a boon engrained from every school year from kindergarten through 20th grade. Learning wasn’t restricted to math, social studies and French; I learned right away that once a year a Friday becomes a Saturday. “School’s closed” shares honors with its subsets “snow day” and “summer vacation” as my most cherished 2-word phrases.
The gift of an extra Saturday is so much better than a winter respite of just a 3-day weekend pass from President’s Day or Memorial Day. And don’t get me started on how nice the extra hour of sleep is for daylight savings because they it take back 6 months later.* Now, slip me an extra hour of sleep every weekend and then maybe DST could give TG a contest.
Being idle on Friday was built into my belief system. Even now as an adult I believe we should all have the day off. (Editor’s note: Please do not tell my staff I wrote that!) But it’s not just the day off that lets me celebrate it as a kid’s holiday. I love that my only obligation is to over-consume. This is perfect because Gluttony and Sloth are two of my favorite 7 sins. Actually, my other 5 have their own holiday milieus: Greed and Envy rule at Christmas, Wrath and Pride duke it out at New Year’s over year-end bonuses (the report card for adults), while Lust is powerful enough to claim Valentine’s Day for itself.
To eat and collapse, that’s my ticket. And there are cornucopias a-plenty. My first year in Los Angeles I was invited to 5 Thanksgiving dinners – and didn’t miss a leg, a wing, a haunch, a slab, a cut of anything that flew or walked. And true to my inner kid’s delight, Thanksgiving meals are without vegetables - at least not in their naked form. Carrots are a cake, zucchini is a bread, sweet potatoes come coated with melted marshmallows, pumpkin only exists as pie, spinach is heavy creamed, corn has so much butter it’s “corn Kiev”, and anything else green is submerged under so much gravy I consider it a beverage.
“Carbohydrates?” I hear you say? Biscuits, muffins, rolls, popovers – I eat my daily bread hourly. And passing on stuffing (aka: more bread!) is plain bad manners. Have some bread and stuffing leftover? Try a stuffing sandwich with gravy. You’ll never go back to Hamburger Helper.
And on to dessert. The Halloween sugar binge was a dinky warm up lap to the sweet Thanksgiving marathon. Pies, cakes, cookies, nuts, puddings, syrups, ice cream (sorbets are banned for the weekend!), caramel, chocolate Turkeys, whipped cream… Yum!. Plus I wash it all down with ciders, beers, wines, and all sorts of free-flowing alcohol, for which I cite Tiny Tim: “God Bless, Uber, everyone.“
So this Thanksgiving, when I recall what I’m grateful for, I will give thanks to our Pilgrim forebears who did mimic bears and packed on as much fat as fast as possible in anticipation of winter. So, bring me my mead - and have a wonderful, wonderful Thanksgiving!
*I’d call that “Indian giving” but that’s especially weird on Thanksgiving when Native Americans saved the lives of the Pilgrims.