Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Turkeys everywhere

by AB Plum aka Barbara Plum

The political junkie in me really, really, really wants to write a blog this month with a political slant.

The common sense adult in me demands I holster my trigger finger. Three repetitions of the adverb in the first sentence wakens my Inner Editor screaming one question.

What insight do you, she screeches, bring to the on-going political debacle?

Ooops, my editor's less-than-neutral noun reflects the political slant's inherent volatility.

My Inner Editor returns to reason.

Thanksgiving approacheth. Why stir up gastric acids even before the turkey and dressing, the green bean casserole, corn pudding. two kinds of cranberry sauce, sweet potato casserole (with gooey marshmallow topping), whipped potatoes, baked Brussel sprouts, creamed onions, pumpkin, Bourbon pecan, chocolate, apple, cranberry-pear, coconut custard, and lemon meringue pies are served?

Why not write about the First Thanksgiving?  Inner Editor suggests.
Something with a light-hearted touch?

All right, I like humor. Stuffing my darker side down into my mental vault, I return to the keyboard.

What's the difference between Election day and Thanksgiving day?
On Thanksgiving, you get a turkey for the day. On Election day, you get a turkey for four years.
OMG, my Inner Editor groans. You're the turkey. Get your head on straight. Thanksgiving doesn't have an audience for anything that smacks of politics.

So, I forget the humorous twist. The posturing Washington turkeys aren't funny. They're ridiculous.

Consider a historical perspective, advises my Inner Editor, sharpening her red pencil. Be sure to include a hook or your reader will stop reading after the first line.

Exactly why I want to lead with: something hooky.

Unfortunately, most of the Thanksgiving hooks are really myths. Deconstructing those myths leaves the early founders (Separatists—not Pilgrims—debunking one of many myths) tarnished. 

Reframing those stories—learned in kindergarten and earlier when we dressed kids in paper bags with a feather duster tails—probably borders on political incorrectness.

Okay, so go with a few historical facts (i.e., not fake news).
Whew. We do have a couple of facts:
  • ·        In 1863 Abraham Lincoln declared the 4th Tuesday in November officially as Thanksgiving. (By proclamation vs executive order).
  • ·        FDR, in 1939, capitulated to changing the date to the 3rd Thursday in November. (To increase shopping days until Christmas. Whether sound economics or flack from various groups forced a date of the 4th Thursday in November, we may never know).
  • ·        Mashed potatoes didn't show up on the first menu around 1621. Fact, potatoes weren't a staple of New England at that time. Ditto for sweet potatoes—a Southern staple.
  • ·        Venison rather than turkey provided the protein.
  • ·        The Separatists (known much later as Pilgrims) didn’t sport buckles on their shoes.  Or on their hats. Buckles became fashion accessories decades after the original "pilgrims" left England. In the New World, they were too poor for such frippery. Since they provided their own medical care, public assistance was a moot point.

·        AOBTW, the indigenous inhabitants of the new world most likely celebrated "the first Thanksgiving" long before the pilgrims immigrated. (I said in the beginning I wanted to write with a political slant).

My Inner Editor isn't happy, but it is her right to pursue happiness elsewhere. And for all my border-line bah-humbug 'tude, I am thankful to live in this contradictory place where none of us is above the law.
In Silicon Valley. AB Plum reads too much political stuff and switches to writing mysteries to "find justice". She writes romantic comedy because love transforms us.

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