As your host, I have gathered a cornucopia of genuine Thanksgiving trivia, thanks to “Good Housekeeping” magazine and other sources.
(Granted, “Good Housekeeping” reached its peak of relevance in the June Cleaver era. Today’s over-scheduled families would be just as well served with subscriptions to “Adequate Housekeeping” or “Turn Out the Lights and Pretend Nobody’s Home” or “Anybody Got the Energy to Activate the Roomba?” magazines.)
For starters, President Thomas Jefferson refused to celebrate Thanksgiving as a national holiday, citing concerns about separation of church and state. Coincidentally, Jefferson was the only chief executive to greet sneezing dignitaries with sympathetic comments of, not “Bless you,” but “We hold these truths to be self-evident: it must suck to be you.”
The day after Thanksgiving is the busiest day of the year for PLUMBERS. I keep reassuring myself, “It’s because people wanted a vanity just like the one they saw at their cousin’s house, it’s because people wanted a vanity just like the one they saw at their cousin’s house…”
At the end of the annual Detroit Thanksgiving Parade, Santa Claus always receives the key to the city. He then tosses the key and just steps through the broken storefront windows. (“To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall! Now dash away! Dash away! Or it’s a 911 call!”)
Only male turkeys can gobble. So, no, turkey hens aren’t staring up at the rain; they’re sizing up that @%&$ GLASS CEILING.
It gets lost in the shuffle, but Native American History Day is the same day as Black Friday. Shoppers do give a nod to the commemoration, when they growl, “Why CAN’T I get that 219-inch widescreen TV for $24 worth of trinkets? Hey, a John Wayne commemorative magazine in the checkout lane…”
California consumes the most turkey at Thanksgiving. On the other hand, the Golden State’s use of wishbones ranks near the bottom, because of onerous regulations. (“If wishes were horses…then beggars might get trampled, so no wishbones without a license.”)
The actual title of the song we think of as “Over the River and Through the Woods” is “The New-England Boy’s Song About Thanksgiving Day.” (Some whippersnapper just chimed in, “Oh, there’s a song about over the river and through the woods?” *Sigh* I think I’ll write a song called “The Tennessee Boy’s Song About Youth Being Wasted on the Wrong People.”)
Although George H.W. Bush was the first president to initiate a CUSTOM of pardoning a turkey before Thanksgiving, John F. Kennedy had granted a one-off pardon in 1963. Rumor attributes this to JFK being convinced that the turkey was singing “Happy birthday, Mr. President.” (After this, the Secret Service began checking the eggnog more closely.)
The Butterball Turkey Talk Line answers almost 100,000 calls each season. Big deal. I get almost that many calls while I’m trying to sit down to my pumpkin pie. And most of them are either “We’d like to talk to you about the extended warranty on your Kleenex” or “I know the election is over, but I thought of a few more things I’d like to say about that commie who was running against me for dog catcher.”
Eighty percent of Americans prefer LEFTOVERS to the initial meal. Remember that next year when I work off my 4,500 calories with something other than writing a brand-new column!