It’s Thanksgiving. Time for one of my train of thought diatribes that will either make fans of those reading and have them heading back for seconds or have people humming Crazy Train by the end of the article. Maybe a bit of both. Anyhoo — It’s also time to reflect on what we’re grateful for, spend time with family, watch college football, watch parades with over-sized cartoon character balloons float by and eat ourselves until we lapse into food comas. Some of us, in the wee hours of the morning, will rise and engage in the American version of the ‘running of the bulls’ known as “Black Friday”.
There are some folks just can’t seem to slow down for even twenty-four hours and really unwind over a holiday. Me? My version of “Black Friday” does not include such rushing around, urgency or stalking gifts like prey on the savannah. Nope. I have no problem rolling out of bed as late as my young children will let me, padding down to the kitchen for my morning injection of caffeine and then lazing through the deals on Amazon.com.
Don’t get me wrong, I like to shop just like the next gal. I just don’t relish being mowed down by people who think Christmas shopping is a contact sport. My day will include watching parades, The Peanuts holiday classics and of course, my Thanksgiving favorite, Home for the Holidays. Can’t go on writing without playing the clip of one of my favorite scenes. This is the dinner scene, which epitomizes both the dysfunction and awkwardness of some family interactions with the added bonus of being chock full of Robert Downey Jr. comedy win. NSFW warning
Of course, all that shopping mayhem comes after the food, drink and more food, drink and food and drink… lather, rinse, repeat. There’s the meal to deal with first and I guarantee you this year will have a slice of Obamacare conversation fun with a side of “how’s that hopey changey stuff workin’ out for ya?” Those of us dealing with liquid courage fortified, progressive family members who just can’t let it go — Ace has some tips for you. Personally, I try to avoid politics talk at the holidays. I do enough of it every day as a blogger. Holidays are my reprieve. When relatives on the other side of the political fence does bring it up, I politely side step the first time and even a second. If they persist… well, they’ve had fair warning and you should be recording it with your phone. Nothing is a better wet blanket and subject changer than a liberal given a verbal wedgie caught on camera. Just sayin’.
Those were the days
When I was younger – school age, Thanksgiving often included some kind of artistic expression like tracing your hand. You know, a hand turkey? Your thumb becomes the head and you decorate the other fingers like they were feathers. I can remember half our the class one year making Pilgrim hats and the other half making Indian vests out of paper grocery bags, complete with papooses for the girls. Almost every year without fail, there was the inevitable Thanksgiving luncheon. Moms and dads showed up and the cafeteria served turkey and stuffing.
When I got older, Thanksgiving meant an essay or research paper. Some of the over-achievers would make Mayflower replicas or pilgrim settlement dioramas. These tasks all reminds me of The Peanuts, which are staples in our house on every holiday. Their straightforward take on just about everything is something sorely missing these days. I dare say some of the politically correct parents probably find Peanuts appalling. I find them refreshing. Sally sums it up nicely:
Going back to the research paper bit, I always seem to remember Myles Standish first. One thing that irked me then and still irks me now, is most places spell his name Miles when it’s really Myles. Pet peeve I suppose. Anyway — Standish was, for all intents and purposes, the Pilgrim’s military leader. The Pilgrims hired him to both lead and coordinate the defenses of the Plymouth Colony. The consensus is that Standish was stationed in Holland as part of Queen Elizabeth’s army when he was engaged by the Pilgrims to become their military leader. His duties were not only of a defensive nature, he was instrumental in some of the exploration of the area we know today as Cape Cod. At History.com, there is a decent summary of the departure of the Mayflower for America.
Myles Standish Proud
The farthest thing from history lessons and The Peanuts is probably my retro taste in 80’s music. Peanuts are nostalgic and so is music for most folks. This might be jumping the train tracks a bit I know, but for me the name Myles Standish also conjures up the opening to R.E.M.’s song
The song Begin the Begin is the first track off R.E.M.’s fourth album, Life’s Rich Pageant, which came out in 1986. Yep. I’m a bit of an R.E.M addict… still.
Begin the Begin was meant to be a protest song, which in a historical way, suits the reference it makes to Myles Standish. Standish after all was basically accompanying protesters. I think I also like this song because how often do we see historical references like that in lyrics any more? The number of kids getting the reference the first time around today would probably be less than those who get the obscure references in a Dennis Miller stand up routine. That failure to grasp onto knowledge is becoming a systemic failure nationwide. No one thinks anymore – hence the rise of the low info voters. But I digress…back to the song.
The opening lyrics:
Birdie in the hand for life’s rich demand
The insurgency began and you missed it
I looked for it and I found it
Myles Standish proud, congratulate me
A philanderer’s tie, a murderer’s shoe
Life’s rich demand creates supply in the hand
Of the power, the only vote that matters
Silence means security, silence means approval
Watchin’ Zenith on the TV, tiger run around the tree
Follow the leader, run and turn into butter
The song overall is a statement on the corruption of society and its institutions. . It’s also got a bit of the ‘look at me!’ bit in the line ‘Myles Standish proud, congratulate me.’ Shorter: Look at me, see what I’ve created of what you rejected. The last refrain I included above (bold text), for me, is a little shout out to the media right now. You reap what you sow, guys.
When it came out, Reagan had just been re-elected and Iran-Contra was swirling in the media. The title itself was a call to arms that is arguably more applicable today, given the transparency issues and scandal of the Obama administration, than when first written. Hopefully, our history books will read in a more straightforward manner like a Peanuts cartoon or have the brutal honesty of an R.E.M song. That would be something to be grateful for I think.
As I said in the opening paragraph, you’re either going back for seconds with a re-read or humming Crazy Train. Well, enough of the train of thought ramblings from me, pass the pie and whipped cream. Enjoy your food comas, folks. Either way, let’s begin again…Take a page out of Linus’ book and have a Happy Thanksgiving!