So many turkeys to be roasted, fried, or smoked.
About forty-five million. Seems like a big number, but we’re a nation of big people, and Thanksgiving is one of our biggest holidays.
The National Bird?
Benjamin Franklin argued for the wild turkey to be our national bird, but he lost the argument to the Bald Eagle. For 364 days, the eagle soars majestic and free. But on Thanksgiving, the humble turkey is king, in our hearts if not on our plates.
Alexander Hamilton said, “No citizen of the United States shall refrain from turkey on Thanksgiving Day.” Well said, for we were never going to eat roasted eagle.
But it was President Lincoln, in 1863, who made a proclamation for a national day of Thanksgiving. And here we are, 154 years later, serving up forty-five million turkeys.
A Social Bird
Thanksgiving is shared with family and friends. The Pilgrims shared with the Wampanoag Indians. Edward Winslow recorded that there were fifty Pilgrims and ninety Native Americans at their feast. Must have been a big table!
So, we will gather around our tables, or in front of our big screens, and enjoy the turkey, cranberries, dressing, homemade rolls, and lime-jello. For desert: pumpkin pie, pecan pie, and berry cobbler. Yum, dinner is served.
They lost half their people that first year, a disheartening start for those who sacrificed so much to get so little. But the colonists soldiered on, possessing a profound faith they believed that God had led them there to live in freedom and prosperity.
Our Thanksgivings don’t usually follow bitter winters of sickness and death. It’s more about being together with family, with plenty of good food, and football, and pie.
But maybe it’s more. The Pilgrims made a perilous voyage across a violent sea to seek a new life in the new world. Did God truly lead them here? Was their faith well founded? Is our own house of faith, freedom, and prosperity built on their foundation?
This Thanksgiving, don’t let the turkeys die in vain. For they will make the last full measure of sacrifice, and for what reason? Just so I can over-indulge and fall asleep during the game? Is that how I say thank you?
Part 2-Wednesday morning.