Tuesday, November 26, 2013

It's the Gift Which Keeps On Giving

NOTE WHICH BASICALLY SAYS WHAT THE NOTE BELOW SAYS:  As threatened promised, the following is a repost.  Since quite a few of you read this last year (or, God help you, a version the year before that), it's a warmed-over Thanksgiving leftover.  But, since sometime leftovers are quite good, this may also be worthwhile.  It's not, though.  May I interest you in one of the many fine blogs I follow to keep you entertained while I foist another rerun on you?  I could write in the links to those blogs, but if I'm too lazy to write something new, what makes you think I'm going to write blog titles in?  I'd give you suggestions, but I'd probably forget someone.  And who needs someone from New Jersey, Canada, or Australia to come punch me in the nose.  Although, since it's summer down under, they'd be crazy to leave the warmth.
Anyway, do what you can.  Try to enjoy.  Christmas reruns are coming.

**********

Be Thankful You're Not Having Eel Pies (Take Three)



NOTE:  This is a repost.  But, it's a repost with a few new pictures.  And maybe a couple new jokes.  Basically, it's a warmed over Thanksgiving feast.  If you haven't read it already, it's new to you.  If you have read it, I hope you like the new stuff.  If you've read it already, but can't remember that you did, congratulations.  The Republican Party has a spot for you.

       Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.

NOTE FROM 2013:  This is true.  Although Bastille Day gives it a run for its money.

    It’s the first of the year-end celebrations, the others being Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Years. And, by New Years, I mean New Years Eve.  January 1st is really only meant for watching college football and making resolutions to not act like a jackass at the next New Years Eve party.

NOTE FROM 2013:  Occurring as it does on the Jewish date 25 Kislev (yeah, I know.  
The whacky calendar doesn't even list Easter), Hanukkah 2013 begins on November 27th and ends on December 5th.  From a Jewish person's perspective, this is swell timing
Go ahead.
Party like it's 25 Kislev.
because they can have two holidays at once.  They won't have to worry about Christmas horning in on their action.  Some folks call it 'Thanksgivukkah' or some one such nonsense.  Like 'Brangelina.'  Apparently, the next time the Festival of Lights happens around Thanksgiving will be in something like 77,000 years.  Which will give people plenty of time to reserve the local legion hall for Naked Dreidel.  Or something like that.


    It’s really the 4th Thursday of November which gets the festivities rolling (hey, it’s easier than trying to figure out when the frik Easter is).

    After all, what evokes the holiday spirit more than getting trampled at Wal-Mart by frenzied harpies in bathrobes and curlers on Black Friday?

NOTE FROM 2013:  Or, now, Thanksgiving Night, with drunken harpies in curlers.

Thanksgiving was proclaimed a federal holiday
in 1863 by Abraham Lincoln.
Not surprisingly, the Confederacy said,
"Ya'll can take your Yankee Holiday and shove it."
Which was a shame. Because they
were supposed to bring the sweet potato souffle.
    As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to appreciate how special Thanksgiving is.  A more sober occasion than the frenetic zaniness of the Yuletide season, at Thanksgiving we gather just to be together, not because we hope to score the latest electronic gizmo.

    Oh, sure, even though there are parades, football games, and enough food to sink the Mayflower, Thanksgiving is thankfully (pardon the pun) devoid of the commercialism of Christmas and the bacchanalian excess of New Year’s Eve.  Or, if you were paying attention, whatever it is they do on Hanukkah.

On December 26, 1941, signed a resolution
switching Thanksgiving
from the last Thursday in November to the fourth.
"Hey, get off my ass, it's all I had time to do.
There's a frikkin' war going on, you know."
    Gratefully, we aren’t bombarded by wall-to-wall advertisements to get our loved ones (or our families) the very latest in techno wizardry (“Because, if you REALLY loved Mom, you’d buy her a Kindle Fire!”) in the run-up to Thanksgiving. Plus, there’s no such thing as a “24-Hour Thanksgiving Music Station” or a “Randolph the Hair-Lipped Turkey” special on the Hallmark channel.
Oh, forgot about this one.
No wonder.
It sucked.

    No, it’s a calming prelude to the mania which paralyzes every December.  It’s a time to appreciate what we’ve been given.

    As the day draws nearer, I think back to that very first day of thanks held almost four hundred years ago...

    The brightly colored leaves swirling madly amongst the trees, a chill autumn wind blowing briskly over freshly-harvested fields, and the forest animals bustling crazily about in preparation for winter.

"Hey, does anyone else
have to pee after that long ass boat ride?"
    And nobody fighting over the remote.

    So it was in 1621 that Governor Bradford of Plymouth Colony thought it was high time to celebrate a day of thanksgiving.

"I know.  Whaddya say we have a harvest feast right here?"
"Outside!?   You do know this is Massachusetts, don't you?"
"Hey, we can stay warm by burning a witch or two."
    Frantically scurrying to find a suitable venue at which to hold their celebration, the Pilgrim Fathers were disappointed to learn they were too late; all the good days in October and early November had been reserved months ago for the Pequot/Schwartz wedding reception, the Jamestown “Up Yours, We Were First” Commemoration, and the last of the Mohican family reunions.

    Luckily, a spot opened up the last Thursday of November when “Mohawks On Ice!” was forced to close after some Hurons stole their loincloths.  So, the Native Europeans invited their friends, the Native Americans, to a grand feast at the local Elks Lodge picnic pavilion (with real elk). 

    A deeply devout people, the Pilgrims wished to thank the “Godless heathen savages” for all their help getting the colony on its feet.  After all, the tribe was essential to gaining a foothold in the New World, long before the Trail of Tears, Wounded Knee, and all-you-can-eat casino buffets. 

"Behold, for I bring you the gift of maize.
As long as you don't mind the smell of dead fish."
    Imagine what would have happened had Squanto not taught the Pilgrims to plant fish with their corn.  

    Prior to that, they just stuck them in their trousers.

"Seriously, Sleeps With Chickens?  Eels??
Couldn't bring a French Bean casserole
like a normal person, could ya?"
    Plus, the tribe brought the eel pies. Hmmmmmm....eel.

    Many customs today hearken back to this coming together: the feast, the fellowship, the two-hand touch lacrosse game after supper, and the men falling asleep in front of the fire with their hands down their pants while the women cleaned up all laid the foundation of our nation.

    Happily, it was the giving of thanks which has endured through peace, war, and disco.  No doubt Governor Bradford himself began a tradition which survives to this day: putting relatives on the spot to state that for which they were thankful.

    In homes across the nation, this scene will be played out anew during halftime.  In the true spirit of the holiday, millions of family members will likewise be grilled.

    This year, though, in addition to joyful thanks for family, friends, and the feelings of warmth which come from both, one will resonate above all:

    That Great-Aunt Mildred was able to buy the last case of Twinkies from that guy in the back of his van at the Stop N Shop.

    Because the alternative was Eel Pies.

    And I don’t care how much Cool Whip you put on them, they’re still eels.


HAPPY THANKSGIVING, EVERYONE!

And...Robyn and Julie (and whomever I missed)...HAPPY HANUKKAH!
Okay, you've got him


But, we've got...
So, let's call us even.



FINAL NOTE:  Penwasser Place will be off-line this weekend.  I've got some serious eating and drinking to do.  And giving thanks that I didn't have to pay for it. See you Sunday or Monday!
Or whenever I dry out.

41 comments:

  1. Chow down on some of those eels, that will dry you out pretty damn fast lol have a great weekend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd have to have a considerable amount of beer to wash those eels down. Unsolicited Information: When I was a kid, the old man would shanghai my brothers and I to go fishing for...you guessed it...eels. Which he then brought home to eat. I NEVER wanted to eat any of those fish snakes. So, this explains my psychological to fishing in general and eels in specific.

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  2. Enjoy that lovely Chardonnay!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Or whatever's in the cooler on the deck outside. I'm not fussy.

      Delete
  3. I know eels have been considered a delicacy since Roman times but yuck! Many laughs in this piece but my favorite was a reference to the Mohican Reunion. Really? If there were relatives then there wouldn't be a" Last of the Mohicans." Very funny.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Romans used to clean their togas with urine, too. So....
      Good point about the Mohicans. I think there may be a few left in a casino in Connecticut.

      Delete
  4. American and Canadian Thanksgiving are so similar; I really wonder why they're not on the same date.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Because I think Columbus Day already reserved the date.
      Dammit. It's so much warmer in October, too.

      Delete
  5. well we don't celebrate thanksgiving here so no abnormal eating for me, but have fun and don't go to the hospital from all that eating :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I may not go to the hospital, but I probably won't be hungry again until Sunday.
      NOTE: I realize that is a horrible thing to say, when you consider world hunger. Seriously, a horrible thing to say.

      Delete
  6. Please enjoy your Thanksgiving but watch out what you buy out of the back of any vans near Stop and Shop. I hear the goods are hot and from some guy in Joysee!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just hope they have the Soprano balloon in the Macys parade. The weather may say otherwise, though.
      FUGEDDABOUDIT!

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  7. I just finished Susan Bauer's History Of The Medieval World. You can't imagine how many times (at least three) that I read about some king dropping dead over overindulging in eels. Of course, they wiped their tushes with their bare hands too, I hear.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How coincidental is that? I'm almost done with that book (I also read her History of the Ancient World-great book), having begun the chapter on the Crusades (can you believe those crazy Islamists still hold a grudge about that?). It's a great book, but I'm surprised it ends just as the First Crusade gets underway. I thought there was plenty of Medieval left.
      "Come for the Barbarian Invasions, Stay For the Black Death!"

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    2. Oops, I should have said the new book "The Renaissance World." She comments on her blog about how the descriptive terms get a little muddled. The third book goes till the fall of Constantinople in 1453.

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    3. Once I finish the Medieval World, I plan on reserving the Renaissance World from the library. I'd like to get her take on descriptive terms. Although, MY take on the Renaissance is that it went until 1500. The fall of Constantinople seems like a very good ending point, though. She's a very good writer. What's her blog? I'd like to follow her (in a literary sense, of course).

      Delete
    4. http://www.susanwisebauer.com/blog/

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  8. Thursday is a damn funny day for a national holiday. Was it Abe's idea or the Pilgrim fathers? Anyway, I'm all in favour of the Southern States having their own holiday. They should name it Colonel-Sanders-Uncle-Remus day after their two greatest heroes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is. Until you stop to think how easy it is to turn it into a FOUR day weekend. Works for me.
      Seriously, the South still looks upon Robert E. Lee as one of their heroes.

      Delete
  9. I love this Al, I really hope that you have a great time for Thanksgiving, filled with family, fun, lots and lots of beer and relaxation, I love Thanksgiving, a beautiful American tradition, I refuse to dislike something that promotes loving the family we have.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Beyond all the snarkiness, I really love this holiday because of family and friends. When I was a boy, Christmas was number one because of all the "loot" I got. Now? I just enjoy being with the "folks."

      Delete
  10. Don't go eating all that eel pie by yourself. Save some for the rest of us! Have a great Thanksgiving!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe if I load up the eel pie with a LOT of Cool Whip...?

      Delete
  11. crazy yanks and your crazy november thanksgiving. have fun! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Seriously, except for the next day having to go in to work, Canadian Thanksgiving sounds so much better.

      Delete
  12. Leave it to America to turn a holiday of being thankful to time where we stuff ourselves with food and then embarrass ourselves the next day getting stuff we don't need.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, you won't catch me going anywhere on Friday. I just hope no one in my family wants to hit the stores Thursday. Because, then I'll be just a "cranky old man" when I refuse to budge. I think it's wrong, wrong, wrong.
      Stuffing myself? Oh, that will probably happen.
      I may even lose the power of speech by sunset, too.

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  13. I don't know what to say each time I write something I don't like it and I scrape it and start again, I wonder why the word eel looks strange if you write it Eel so that say's you can't start a sentence with the word eel................lol I was going to say eel's are creepy and disgusting in my opinion and I don't get why people would eat them............yuck

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    Replies
    1. Your Eel Disgust is well placed. 'Eel' works well in Words With Friends, though.

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  14. You're sweet, Al. But I won't say that aloud. Thanks for the Hanukkah wishes.
    I think I'd rather eat an eel pie than a fruitcake.
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.
    xoRobyn

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But you don't need to go fishing for a fruitcake.

      Delete
  15. THANKSGIVING WAS LAST MONTH. GET WITH THE TIMES.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Ahhh Thanksgiving. Yet another holiday where I have to eat some one else dried up turkey and greasy stuffing while getting the sideways stares because I'm gargling my can of Old Milwaukee trying to force that breast meat down my gullet. 15 years with the wife's family and do you think they would let me host the 4th Thursday of November? Oh hell no. I did manage to finally force a Christmas Coup so no more Wal mart fried chicken on baby Jesus's Birthday at least.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But, there's beer. Even if it's Old Milwaukee.

      Delete
  17. Are eel pies kosher? I wonder how they'd go with latkes and jelly donuts. ;0)

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  18. They're not shellfish so I think they a...wait, you were fooling around, weren't you?

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  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving Al! This is a classic Thanksgiving leftover that never gets stale! I am disappointed about not seeing the Randolph the Hair-Lipped Turkey holiday special though. Thanks for the Hanukkah wishes!

      Julie

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  20. Hope your thanksgiving was fine, Al! We don't have it here, of course, but winter brings a lot of celebrations of St. Patron's day which every family here has (Each family kinda has their own Saint protector and they celebrate his day feasting). I'm not religious so I don't have it, but since I also do catering for money, I use the opportunity to earn more money in this part of the year :)

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