Different version of Embracing the Awesomeness of Thanksgiving post. With more ranting, as promised.
It’s almost impossible to avoid. The temptations are everywhere. The radio, the mall, up and down your street. America has a problem. We’re all cheating on Thanksgiving and it needs to stop.
This truly American holiday gets lost between Halloween and Christmas. It’s Wendy’s to McDonald’s and Burger King. It’s Coors Light to Bud Light and Miller Light. It’s the Admiral Ackbar of minor Star Wars characters. Appreciated? Yes. Quickly discarded? Also yes.
Thanksgiving has become the tailgate before Black Friday. It’s the get together after we put up our Christmas decorations. We’re completely dismissing the meaning of the day. Which is of course football. And carbs. And gravy. Probably beer too.
Why is Thanksgiving awesome? Well, it’s opposite week as Bails told me. Only go to school for two days and we’re home for five. That is excellent reasoning. Not going to work has sort of become an American custom under this administration. I mean if we’re going to spend money we don’t have, we may as well stay home from work too.
Seriously, why do we have Thanksgiving? Well, as I’ve mentioned before on this blog, we’re all taught that back in the fall of 1621 the pilgrims were so happy that they didn’t die in what would eventually be Massachusetts that they partied. This was the last thing that happened in Massachusetts that wasn’t taxed. True story. Anyway, they invited the locals, or townies as they are sometimes called, and they killed some deer, boiled some pumpkins and collected berries and stuff like that. Then they ate it and all sat back rubbing their bellies and unsnapping their suspenders or whatever it was that pilgrims used.
A little while later, George Washington decided that the last Thursday in November back in 1789 should be a day of thanksgiving for all 13 colonies. I think it was just a polite way of spiking the football in the redcoats face! Or we could have been happy that powdered wigs were leaving with the Brits. Regardless, it didn’t catch on right away. Most because football hadn’t been invented yet.
Abe Lincoln, using ol’ George as a guide, understood we needed a day of thanks after literally killing each for a few years back in the 1860’s. So he made the last Thursday in November officially Thanksgiving. For every year after that every President issued a proclamation making that day Thanksgiving. Until FDR. Still find it sort of amazing that Thanksgiving survived the Wilson administration since nearly nothing else American did. Anyway, back to FDR. Back in ’39 the nation was still suffering the effects of the Great Depression. Weird considering prohibition was repealed in ’33. So retailers went to the White House and asked the president to move Thanksgiving up a week to increase the number of shopping days before Christmas. Why we needed the approval of the president to begin shopping isn’t totally clear. So FDR, unable to contain his need to intrude into economy, moved the day. Sorta like Jim Delaney and college football. Despite the outcry, FDR did it again in 1940. Finally in 1941 Congress, in true congressional fashion, split the baby. They made Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday in November meaning sometimes it would Franksgiving and sometimes it would be the last Thursday in November.
That’s a lot of history to ignore as we’re eating our Halloween candy and hanging our Christmas wreaths. But we do it. Although it could be that we’ve simply deformalized Thanksgiving. Which is okay. Its one of the reasons Turkey Day is my favorite holiday. Plus you get two Fridays…