November 24, 2008
How Not to Pardon a
Turkey, and Other Thoughts About Thanksgiving
Ah, November in Michigan. The autumn leaves are all gone, and the ice is
forming on the lake around the dock poles I was planning to get out of
the water on the next nice day. Christmas decorations and the latest
crop of toys have been torturing kids riding around in Costco shopping
carts since Labor Day. A light and festive dusting of snow is on the
It’s Thanksgiving time!
One of the first signs of Thanksgiving is the annual Pardoning of the
Turkey by various American heads of state. We all remember a few years
ago when President Bush was repaid for his official act of mercy, live
on national television, with an impromptu pecking by the pardoned
poultry of the president’s crotchical region.
case you missed it, this year the Pardoning of the Turkey by the
governor of Alaska set a whole new standard of “Maybe I should have
thought this whole thing through a little more thoroughly.” After she
read her Commutation of Sentence proclamation to the lucky bird, she
conducted a spunky on-camera interview while a turkey farm worker stood
immediately behind her, staring at the camera and stuffing live non-pardonees
into a beheading machine.
The word is that Governor Palin is now reconsidering her plan to go on
the air in December to sing Christmas carols with her children Bristol,
Piper, Track (via satellite from Iraq), Willow and Trig, along with
their cousins Mitten, Screwdriver, Lamp, Faucet, Sticker, Tampon and
Crank, while Todd stands in the background tossing puppies into a wood
Along with turkeys and unfortunate press events, Thanksgiving also
serves as a reminder that the Christmas holidays are bearing down on us
like a runaway team of angry reindeer. For a lot of people over the age
of, say, eight, this raises a fair amount of anxiety. We feel an
obligation to provide our families with a holiday season that is as
magical as the ones we remember from when we were under the age of, say,
eight – a wonderland of twinkle lights and youthful avarice.
want to shower our families with all the spiritual bliss that money can
Back here in Michigan we’ve had a pretty rough time over the past couple
of weeks. The Michigan State football team got blown off the field in
Happy Valley, the University of Michigan has racked up the worst
football season in the history of the school, and the Detroit Lions at
0-11 are . . . well, they’re the Detroit Lions.
yeah, and the entire American automobile industry is threatening to
crash and burn.
while this Christmas deal can be pretty stressful in the best of times,
this year, with our 401(k) plans bursting into flames and all of our
credit cards checking into rehab, the season is shaping up to be
Now I can’t control the things I can’t control, like whether Citigroup
declares a shareholder dividend, or if whoever thought of marketing the
Hummer gets his freaking head examined, but I can control how I’m going
to think about it.
And I’ve decided not to participate in the recession.
family is going to get together for Thanksgiving to have our own version
of a feast. We will take some time to see and touch and talk with each
other, and some more time to phone the ones we can’t be with. And we
will take some time to remember the ones we can’t physically see or
touch or talk with any longer.
Then we are going to brainstorm about how we can make each other happy
this Christmas without spending a lot of money. I have no idea what we
will come up with, but I feel pretty confident that it might involve the
gift of seeing and touching and talking to each other. That is something
the Dow Jones just can’t touch.
Michael Ball. Distributed exclusively by North Star Writers Group.
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