On the list of my favorite holidays, Thanksgiving has never been all that high on my personal list. It’s nowhere near the top with New Year’s, Christmas and Halloween. It’s much more toward the middle, just ahead of Monkey Day (December 14) and just behind No Pants Day (officially the first Friday in May, although it can be unofficially celebrated any Friday by some telecommuters — or so I’m told. Not that I would know myself, you know. I mean, that’s just crazy. Right?)
Sure, I remember Thanksgivings of the past that were rather enjoyable. It was when I was still young enough to play backyard football. At that age, I played football roughly 382 days a year — so often that I rarely had time to do homework, particularly math homework. On Thanksgiving, though, I got to show off my backyard football skills against cousins and uncles and the occasional aunt.
Then we’d all eat too much and plop down in a chair to watch a Detroit Lions game. We weren’t Lions fans by any means, but it gave us something to pretend to be interested in while the ladies did dishes and the fellas moaned and groaned in their buffet-eating pants. Fortunately, Aunt Gladys went on to play outside linebacker for the Lions in the late 1970s, giving us a good excuse to watch.
As the years went on and I found myself somehow stuck in the newspaper business, Thanksgiving meant less and less. As a copy editor for many years (the most thankless job in a newsroom), I usually worked on Thanksgiving. We copy editors had to rank which holidays we preferred to have off, and I always put Thanksgiving as my lowest-ranked preference so that I might get a better holiday off later. Therefore, I had more than my fair share of Thanksgiving meals come off of a convenience store hot dog roller. You may think that flies in the face of the history behind Thanksgiving, but I disagree because I’m certain a few of those hot dogs had been left over from the Pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving in 1621. It was a little chewy to be frank.
(Wow, 1621, 400 years. That’s a looooong time ago, back when Keith Richards was still in kindergarten and the Detroit Lions last had a winning season.)
I believe today’s Thanksgiving has become more of a hassle. There’s so much stress when it comes to cooking and dealing with your crazy relatives like Uncle Q. Then there are the traffic jams, mainly caused this year by people who will run out of gas and not be able to afford to refuel. For folks traveling longer distances, they have to sneak barefoot past airport security, punch a flight attendant or two and fly all the way across the country just to eat turkey with family they flew 2,000 miles 20 years ago to get away from.
And I don’t buy that folks love to eat turkey that much. It’s OK as far as bird-eating goes, but it’s no Original Recipe.
The wife and I decided to do Thanksgiving a little differently this year … at the beach. Yes, it’s Beachgiving 2021. I’d say you’re invited, but, um, you’re not.
True, it might be a little chilly on the sand, but it’ll be peaceful because all of you other turkeys will be somewhere else glutton-izing with your families or sitting in traffic while we have the beach to ourselves. (We’ll be the folks in hoodies and shorts.) But no matter the weather, there’s no such thing as a bad day at the beach — the occasional tsunami notwithstanding.
I guess it’s the Parrothead in me who can find a beachy or tropical twist on any holiday, whether it’s putting Christmas lights on a palm tree or eating a turkey sandwich and drinking a margarita under a beach umbrella on Thanksgiving.
One of Jimmy Buffett’s most famous songs — “A Pirate Looks at Forty” — begins with the line “Mother, Mother Ocean, I have heard you call …”
I’ve heard your call, too, Mother Ocean — and we’ll see you on Thanksgiving.