This time a week hence, many will be slouching and slumping and snoring or snorting, content in the afterglow of their gluttonous indulgences, far and wide. That is our holiday tradition, no matter how the origins and historical developments and political corrections have affected it.
Thanksgiving (<-click) because practically all of it is wrong, or considered wrong to someone. Or the official source, Plymouth Plantation, if you care to surround yourself with facts and speculations.
A bit of personal connection: I visited the Plymouth site as a child, gazed down upon the 1621-stamped big rock called Plymouth, yet did not travel there in a Plymouth automobile. The irony!
Nevertheless, holiday traditions die hard. From time immemorial I and all my relations would gather at the grandparents' residence with food in hand and have a grand feast. My cousins grew up and had their own families, grandparents passed on,and gradually Thanksgiving dinners became separate and self-contained. At some point it became pointless to go to the trouble of it, even at the risk of having no leftovers.
I remember the best of the worst:
- 2003. Stuck in my doctoral program in the snowy hills of western Pennsylvania, it did not make sense to travel back to Kansas for three days. Especially so when I had final papers to prepare. So I just made burritos at home and kept typing my papers.
- 2010. Nobody was interested in going to the trouble of cooking a big dinner, so I went out to the grocery and bought a portion of smoked turkey and side dishes from the deli in the store. Ended up I ate it all myself.
- 1988 and 1989. I was living in Japan so it wasn't even a holiday. And turkey was an unfamiliar bird. I cannot recall exactly what I ate on those days yet it was likely something with teriyaki sauce on it.
- 2007. I had the turkey dinner, which was fine. On the drive back to Pennsylvania, however, I had a flat tire on a rainy Sunday night passing through the bad part of Columbus, Ohio, and had to stay over to get the tire fixed the next morning. I ate at the Waffle House, but no turkey.
- Another year in my youth I agreed to attend a "starve-in" at a local church. Young people would empathize with the starving masses of the world by not eating Thanksgiving dinner. At all. To help us endure our hunger we played games and had other entertainments. When it was done, I went home and dove into the leftovers my parents' had. I only went to that event to impress a girl. What a turkey I was!
- Not sure of the year but it was while I was living at my parents' house, so I must have been young. We had a goose, at my request. Richer taste, oily meat, less meat for leftovers, a free portion of pate de fois gras (liver), and a bad case of indigestion which was later identified as ptomaine poisoning. Cook your bird thoroughly!
No matter what happens this year, indulge in moderation and may your moderation be indulgent. See you on the other side.