The Star-News


Forget the turkey, there are better reasons for thanks

Sat, Nov 23 2013 12:00 PM Posted By: Richard Peña

By my special calendar we have entered the Christmas Season.  The other day we went over to National City’s Clarion Hotel to attend the California Retired Teachers luncheon that featured a roast turkey meal and music of the season performed by children.  This, I think, is reason enough to say that the coveted season of Christmas has made its entrance and things will only get better from now on.

I have written of this season many times before.  I suppose it is that I hold a special affection for it.  I was born on Thanksgiving Day and my birthday has fallen on that day many times in the past. This year is one of them.  This time, however, it is a rather big one not quite up to triple figures but flirting with it.  Ah, but what is successive birthdays? 

Just one more day in the year to savor a personal reason to celebrate.

I suppose that from the very beginning some sort of celebration was observed for me, excepting, of course, the war years.  I have stated  before that when I was a little kid I thought that all the pomp and fuss that was raised on Thanksgiving was to honor the day of my birth. Not wishing to burst my balloon no  one bothered to tell me differently.  They left it for me to figure it out.

There are, of course, many other reasons to laud this season.  For one it is the beginning of the shopping frenzy exhibited by most folks who have a bit of plastic or some of the old fashioned green left over from necessary expenditures.

Another thing it is the weather.  The Being who controls such things relents, along about this time, and decides that we should be blessed with a bit of cool, that is, lowering the thermometer to give us a jaunt to our gait, you know, that extra speed that we put on when we have gone out to feed the cats or get the paper.

To me the experience of Thanksgiving leaves me with a pleasant and warm feeling.  I suppose it was the many such days I spent in classrooms or school offices.  Children, somehow, have that ability to bring out the best of most things.  As the day drew nearer the music and diction emanating from each room was intensified.

Almost every school room had some sort of pageant or songfest to go with the holiday.  From the Kindergarten kids with their Pilgrim hats of construction paper to the upper grade youngsters who could put emphasis in songs of the day the air at the school plant was one delightful time for all concerned.

Even the cafeteria folks got into the act generally serving up a noon day meal of turkey and stuffing.  The day was culminated with the room mothers and their aids serving up Kool-aid and cookies.

The first Thanksgiving was, of course, in 1620 at Plymouth.  Not too many people were aware that the day lay dormant for some 243 years until a woman’s magazine publisher and editor, Sara Josepha Hale, launched a letter writing campaign to then President Abraham Lincoln demanding that such a day be set aside.  Lincoln, in the midst of the Civil War, and confronted with recalcitrant generals probably said, “What the heck?  Nothing else is working.”   

And we thus have Thanksgiving.

Ms Hale, by the way, was the author of the poem/song, “Mary had a Little Lamb.”

Incidentally, if you want to know how old I truly will be on the 28th you will have to find it elsewhere.

My machine is rather delicate and writing in such a figure could invite all sorts of virus.


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