<em>“Our necessities never equal our wants.”</em>
— Benjamin Franklin
My editor does not want me to use the word “thoughts” in my columns where I discuss many issues in short blurbs. But as that word is alliterative to the word Thanksgiving—and we are supposed to be thoughtful on Thanksgiving—I think I can coax him into letting it go this one time.
— Thanksgiving has always been special for me. I wrote last year about how I was angered by the “Christmas Creep” essentially hijacking November. Those who want our money are so libidinous in their avarice that they have destroyed the much more sincere and thoughtful holiday that used to be known as Thanksgiving.
Consider, if you will, that a close friend of mine informed me this week that he has to be in work by 5 PM on Thanksgiving so that some of you lecherous cretins can shop for Christmas gifts on the holiday.
What price do you place on your dignity?
Do you really need to save money on gifts so badly that you spend your Thanksgiving sitting outside a box store, sitting on a folding chair freezing, waiting for them to open their doors? Is Christmas just one long month of spending money?
Nothing shows the difference between the haves and have-nots more than forcing retail workers to miss Thanksgiving so that you can be a raging bull stepping over other morons trying to get a raffle ticket that can earn you the privilege of buying a television cheaply.
Spend Thanksgiving in your home, with people you love, eating food and generally being happy. The money you save elbowing fellow lost souls in Wal-Mart can’t compensate for losing the true meaning of Thanksgiving.
— For those of you unfamiliar with the term “Irish Twins”, allow me to define it for you. They are siblings who were born within a year of each other. For at least one day, both siblings have to be the same age. My two older children are Irish twins.
Every year on November 22nd, 23rd and 24th, my son Vincent catches up to his older sister Rita only to see her turn a year older on the 25th. The jokes are plentiful on those three days. This year has been a little more sentimental for me. My daughter will turn 18 on November 25th. It is very difficult for me to admit that I am getting old. Having a daughter become a legal adult has made that nearly intolerable.
One day they were toddlers playing in a room strewn with baby toys. Within the blink of an eye, they are high schoolers talking about what they will do in college and beyond. My immaturity can only hide so much. On Tuesday, my daughter will be an adult. My son is following close behind her. The photographs of them as inseparable babies is all I have left. They grow up too damn fast.
— As a proud Philadelphian, this Thanksgiving will have to be dedicated to football. The NFL decided to put my beloved Philadelphia Eagles in Dallas to take on the Cowboys for one of this year’s Thanksgiving games.
I wonder if the NFL knew that this season was the 25th anniversary of the “Bounty Bowl.” A game that many Eagles fans look back at fondly; especially given our complete dearth of Super Bowl championships in our unimpressive trophy case.
On November 23rd, 1989, the Eagles swaggered their way down to Dallas to play a Cowboys team that was rebuilding. Gang Green were the defending division champs. Dallas was in Year One under new head coach Jimmy Johnson.
The Eagles’ coach, Buddy Ryan, had a seething hatred for the Dallas Cowboys. All Philadelphia Eagles’ fans have a seething hatred for the Dallas Cowboys. Anyone who is a good person with a pure heart and a desire for evil to be eliminated from this planet should still have a seething hatred for the Dallas Cowboys!
The game itself was a slaughter. Eagles 27, Cowboys 0. But after the game, Jimmy Johnson was apoplectic. He accused Ryan and the Eagles’ coaches of putting a $200 bounty on the head of Dallas kicker Luis Zendejas—who had kicked for the Eagles the year before. Ryan laughed it off. He reasoned that Zendejas was a terrible kicker. Why would he want a terrible kicker injured?
Unfortunately, the Cowboys got the last laugh. Within the next 5 years, the Cowboys won 3 Super Bowls. And 25 years later, the Eagles have nothing but a resume filled with January chokes and outright implosions.
But, on Thanksgiving Day in 1989, my beloved Birds beat up a crappy kicker on an awful team. (Shaking my fist) We showed them!
— Staying with football, this Friday I will tailgate and be in attendance for the Utah State Aggies last home game of the season. If life really is made up of aesthetic pleasures, then spending time in the north parking lot of Romney Stadium with my motley crew of fellow Aggie fans is the very best thing I have done recently.
It was not that long ago when the Aggies had to scrape out close victories against teams that were nearly as pitiful as we were. Now, it almost is expected for us to win 10 games. Success has spoiled us a bit. But what I will do for the time I am in that freezing cold parking lot is simply enjoy the company of good people who make me smile. I am often (and justifiably) called a grump. I can be dour when things go bad. But this Friday, you will not be able to wipe the smile off of my face.
— Finally, a word about traditions. Thanksgiving should be a time when we are thoughtful to what we have. We should embrace traditions that are passed down from year to year. I will wake up early Thanksgiving morning to prep the dinner. I will peel the potatoes in front of the television while watching the Broadway musical numbers on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I will watch football.
When the dinner is concluded, there will be cannolis and pumpkin pie. There will be eggnog and rum. The inspired voices of Bing Crosby, Elvis Presley, Judy Garland and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir will fill the house with Christmas songs. And that night, I will sit down with my kids to watch “Planes, Trains and Automobiles”. What a great film to watch on that day.
At some point next weekend, I will get together with friends so we can play games and just enjoy each other. Nothing extravagant. It does not have to be. We just have to be together.
Whatever your traditions for Thanksgiving are, I sincerely hope they fill you with the joy that mine does for me. I hope all sadness can be curbed for a few hours while you enjoy being with the people you love.
And I hope that you remember what I struggle to remember every day. No matter how bad things get, we all have goodness in our hearts and in our life. So long as there is one person on Earth who smiles at us when we enter a room, no calamity can keep us down.
To you and yours, I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving.