What with one thing and another, it’s been a rough week. I took a hiatus and wandered over to Jenny Crusie‘s site, where I learned about The Toast, which is a blast and just what I needed when I was done assembling receipts for Uncle Sam. For a fun look at oppressive activities, take a look at “Women Having A Terrible Time At Parties In Western Art History” by Mallory Ortberg. In fact, her entire “Western Art History” oeuvre is not to be missed. As one of her women who’s having a terrible time at a party would say, it’s bears.
When I was a kid, my family celebrated all the holidays in a Norman Rockwell-esque Midwestern way. There weren’t many of us, so that worked for a while. By the time I hit early adulthood, though, enough had changed that holidays couldn’t be celebrated the way we used to do it, so every year since we’ve made some kind of nontraditional accommodation in one way or another. Now we know that what counts is the time we take together, whenever that is, wherever that is, and whatever it looks like. Sometimes a six-foot meatball subway with your vegetarian second cousin twice removed and the church bag lady on the Sunday before is the best holiday ever.
I dug around a little for what other people might think about Thanksgiving. One of my favorite quotes is from William Jennings Bryan, who from school history, I always thought was a bit of a blowhard. Here’s what he said: “On Thanksgiving Day we acknowledge our dependence.” I love that idea.
A Native American saying also hits the spot for families who might be living through dark days: “Give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way.”
Finally, I rounded up a few memories, thoughts, amusing stories, and jokes about our “uniquely American” (as write O. Henry would say) holiday. Have at it! And wherever you are, with whomever you are, I hope you have a Thanksgiving that brings comfort to your heart.
From Johnny Carson, entertainer:
Thanksgiving is an emotional holiday. People travel thousands of miles to be with people they only see once a year. And then discover that once a year is way too often.
From Oprah Winfrey, entertainer:
Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never have enough.
From Erma Bombeck, journalist:
Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Half-times take twelve minutes. This is not coincidence.
From Sherman Alexie, writer:
I always think it’s funny when Indians celebrate Thanksgiving. I mean, sure, the Indians and Pilgrims were best friends during the first Thanksgiving, but a few years later, the Pilgrims were shooting Indians. So I’m never quite sure why we eat turkey like everybody else.”
From Phyllis Diller, comedian:
My cooking is so bad my kids thought Thanksgiving was to commemorate Pearl Harbor.
From Debi Mazar, actor:
On the morning of Thanksgiving, I would wake up to the home smelling of all good things, wafting upstairs to my room. I would set the table with the fancy silverware and china and hope that my parents and grandmother wouldn’t have the annual Thanksgiving fight about Richard Nixon.
From Robbie Robertson, musician:
It’s a bit of a sore spot, the Thanksgiving in Indian country.
From Dave Barry, writer:
Proper turkey preparation is critical. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, more Americans die every year from eating improperly cooked turkey than were killed in the entire Peloponnesian War. This is because turkey can contain salmonella—tiny bacteria that, if they get in your bloodstream, develop into full-grown salmon, which could come leaping out of your mouth during an important business presentation.
From Larry Omaha, comedian:
My mother won’t celebrate Thanksgiving. She says it represents the white man stealing our land. But she’s not angry. She figures, what the hell, we’re taking it back one casino at a time.
And—if you want to see what my family looks like, just google weird families under Google Images. You won’t be sorry.
The Mistletoe Madness Blog Hop is now closed. Congratulations to Wendy, who won Beth Barany’s The Writer’s Adventure Guide. Thanks to everyone for dropping by! And may your holidays have madness only of the good kind.
If you like contests, and who doesn’t, here’s one that’s easy to enter and the prizes are many. Join the Mistletoe Madness blog hop, sponsored by 50 writers including yours truly, and you have a chance to win 50 prizes, including the grand prize: a color Nook preloaded with many fine books that you can enjoy during the upcoming joyous holidays while your Uncle Al is yelling at the TV and your Aunt Myrtle is telling you how well her other niece is doing.
I can hear you now: what is a blog hop? I need that color Nook!
Here’s how it works. Each participating blog (that’s me) hosts a giveaway. All the blogs are linked up so blog hoppers can zip from one giveaway to the next, with the chance to win 50 fabulous prizes. (But not all of them. I think they’ve fixed it so you can’t do that.)
Except my blog doesn’t link up. The tech setup here means that you actually have to go to the sponsoring blog (the Mistletoe Madness link) to link in and get into the mix for the grand prize. An entrance form will go live there on Dec 16, and the grand prize winner will be chosen at random after the contest closes on Dec 23. (Because of various restrictions, this contest is open to U.S. residents only. Sorry!)
But if you register on this blog (no purchase necessary), or okay, even leave a comment, you are entered into my portion of the grand giveaway. The lucky winner will receive a paper copy of Beth Barany’s The Writer’s Adventure Guide: 12 Stages to Writing Your Book. Beth is a creativity coach for writers, and if anybody can help you get that manuscript out the door, it is she. I know; I’ve read the book.
I’ll choose a winner at random after Dec 26 and ship the book out shortly thereafter–right after I get back from that annual visit to Uncle Al and Aunt Myrtle. Happy holidays!