WE KID THANKSGIVING — a little. OK, quite a bit.
Someone had to do it.
But look: The holiday is one of those cultural traditions that can take it; it’s been through much worse, and somehow endures.
Just to recap: Thanksgiving, aka Turkey Day, has historical roots to 1621 and Plymouth Plantation, where the Pilgrims, separatist colonists, established it as a harvest festival. (Historians have long argued whether this was the first “true” American Thanksgiving, whether turkey was even served and to what degree local natives participated and why, as recalled in likely embellished accounts of cross-cultural harmony associated with the harvest feast.)
It was first recognized as a holiday by George Washington in 1789, but didn’t become a true federal holiday until Abe Lincoln, pushing the togetherness narrative for obvious reasons, made it so during the Civil War. Originally a distinctly religious observance to thank God for a harvest bounty, it’s become largely secularized in modern America — more a celebration of traditional food, family, friendships and football than fealty to a higher power.
For those of you keeping track at home, it’s now the fourth Thursday in November, come hell or rising sea levels.
In my mind, there are essentially two types of Thanksgiving celebrants: a handful of traditionalists who take every last trapping superseriously, and the rest of us, the teeming masses who just want to toss around a football and eat too much turkey, capped by way too much pumpkin pie, topped of course by whipped cream.
This year’s ode to the Thanksgiving feast is a tribute to the latter: folks for whom the mere thought of baking from scratch prompts a violent itch.
At our house, Thanksgiving is about good food, friends, family and old household traditions, such as the ceremonial playing of Arlo Guthrie’s delightfully rambling protest song, the Thanksgiving-set “Alice’s Restaurant,” in the car on the way to my sister’s house. A fine 18-minute tradition, start to finish.
Kids: Ask your parents, or just know: You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant (excepting Alice). And if you want to end war and stuff, you gotta sing real loud.