Paean to Thanksgiving

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Despite its rather depressing backstory,[1] Thanksgiving ranks as my favorite holiday.

This Thanksgiving won’t be as festive as most.  Ned’s in Germany, Harrison and Taryn will be in New York, and Brooks is flying to Seattle to spend time with her father.  However, Caroline and I will make the most of it, maybe take a road trip to check out some foliage, probably eat some turkey and trimmings with her great cook of a dad up in Awendaw.

Why Thanksgiving? Well, Easter doesn’t work if you don’t believe, and Christmas depresses me, especially since it’s more or less degenerated into an obscene potlatch whose blatant materialism obliterates the tropes of the nativity story – being born in a barn, lying in a manager, etc. – not to mention the adult Jesus’s warnings of the spiritual poverty that often accompanies wealth.

Certainly, inquisitive good little boys and girls of modest means must wonder why Santa showers rich-as-Nebuchadnezzar bully Trey Warbucks and his sister Sassy with presents whose cost eclipses the GNP of Gambia while the inquisitive good little boys of modest means end up with Chinese-manufactured trinkets that may not survive until New Year’s.

lavish xmasthreadbare xmas

You’re not obligated to buy anyone presents or unwrap any yourselves on Thanksgiving. The holiday is about food, family, and considering your state and contemplating the positive, which, psychologically, seems like a good idea.

***

I feel extremely fortunate to have met and married Judy Birdsong and to have begotten and reared two successful sons with her, to have found true love despite my grieving, and to have a sweet, intelligent, talented, creative stepdaughter who brightens every day.

I feel fortunate to live in a country that allows me to express myself freely and to have taught at a school that allowed me to express myself freely (including publishing  this blog without censure).  I suspect the Powers-That-Was (and Continues-to Be) might not have dug my declaration of the death of Satan,  or my call to bring the missionaries home from abroad to minister to Republican operatives, or my declaring myself a sun god whose first edict is banning bikini tops on Folly Beach – oh, wait, that’s next week’s blog’s big announcement.

wes sungod

[Odd segue warning] I also feel incredibly thankful for Bob Dylan, despite his being somewhat of an asshole.  Over the years, I cannot think of any musician who has provided me with so much pleasure.  When I was a disaffected teenager, Bob supplied me with oxygen to breathe and a model to follow.  His lyrics – the imagery, sonic associations, themes – gave me strength somehow.  And let me add that I feel extremely fortunate to have caught his gig at the Orange Peel, a bar in Asheville, where Judy Birdsong and I got to stand within twenty feet of the master.

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I feel thankful for my host of friends, whom I’m not about to list for fear of omission, but you know who you are.

Let’s face it, there’s so much to be thankful for that I could fill 5,000 Gutenberg-Bible-sized journals with them.

For example, I’ve never had to give or receive the Heimlich maneuver.

4x5 Heimlich

I’m thankful for not having my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandmother’s being convicted of witchcraft.

hanging witch

I’m thankful for not being invited to Thanksgiving at John Currin’s.

currin_thanksgiving_2003

 

Come to think of it, that looks sort of fun.

At any rate, our blessings are indeed bountiful.  Happy Thanksgiving, dear readers!

And thank you for reading.  I really appreciate it!


[1] I.e., soon-to-be-exterminated natives helping land-grabbing religious fanatics survive the winter so they can begin the important business of drowning and hanging witches.

 

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