Friday, November 21, 2014

"Gobble, Gobble"

The other day I Googled, “Little known Facts about Thanksgiving.”   I was overwhelmed with how much I did not know about Thanksgiving.  

Here are just a few items that caught my eye:

  • The famous pilgrim celebration at Plymouth Colony in 1621 is traditionally regarded as the first American Thanksgiving.  However, there are actually 12 claims to where the “first” Thanksgiving took place: two in Texas, two in Florida, one in Maine, two in Virginia, and five in Massachusetts.
  •   President Jefferson called a federal Thanksgiving proclamation “the most ridiculous idea ever conceived.”
  • Now a Thanksgiving dinner staple, cranberries were actually used by Native Americans to treat arrow wounds and to dye clothes.
  •  Thanksgiving Day became an annual national holiday upon a proclamation issued by President Abraham Lincoln at the height of the Civil War in November 1863. It was set as the last Thursday in November. 
  • Thanksgiving football games began with Yale versus Princeton in 1876. Princeton lost!
  • Baby turkeys are called poults. Only male turkeys gobble and therefore are called gobblers. 
  • Sarah Josepha Hale, who tirelessly worked to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday, also was the first person to advocate women as teachers in public schools, the first to advocate day nurseries to assist working mothers, and the first to propose public play grounds. She also wrote the poem, "Mary Had a Little Lamb”.
When Sarah Hale championed the cause of Thanksgiving to President Lincoln, one of her goals was that it would “awaken” in us “a love of home and country, of thankfulness to God, and peace between brethren.” Those still sound like worthy goals to me.
There are no perfect families in American, but that is OK; we still love our families, warts and all.  We love this land, not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but still an amazing place to live in this beautiful world. Thank you for home and country.

The pilgrims came to this land to worship God as they pleased and not have any state or king impose on them whom they must worship. The separation of church and state still carries a lot of wisdom.  Thank you for religious freedom.

Learning to live peacefully as brothers and sisters is never an easy task, but always worthy of our highest effort. Appreciating and respecting diversity and difference are as critical today as when the Pilgrims and Natives sat down together years ago. Thank you for differences.

If we ever took the time to think about all the people and things for which we are thankful, they would far outnumber our complaints. As one wise person wrote, the most perfect prayer in all the world is simply, “Thank you, Lord.” Hope you have a great Thanksgiving Day.

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