Do you know what the slowest day on the blogosphere in the U.S. is? Not Christmas, not Easter, not even Valentine's Day. It's Thanksgiving. Everyone is going to be busy cooking turkey, welcoming friends and family, playing football, running charitable marathons, or bringing about the final downfall of western civilization by running out for a consumerist pound of butter. Anything, anything at all, but not reading blogs.
All bloggers know that feeling of typing into a void -- of expending pixels for naught, dispersing their words into the ether, or possibly the ethernet, whatever that is. It doesn't really feel bad. It reminds me of when we used to watch the TV show Cheers when I was little, and my father would mutter darkly, "And sometimes you want to go where nobody knows your name."
We are having some family over for Thanksgiving, and I don't expect any kind of strife or turmoil, except for when the kids discover that some sadistic monster put chives in the mashed potatoes this year. So between all the peace and good will in my home life, and the lack of audience here online, I find myself in the uncomfortable and unlikely position of not being able to offend anyone. With that in mind, here are my thoughts on Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving is a day unlike any other. And yet, why should this be? In the words of one of our nation's foremost thinkers, Deepak Chopra,
Happiness is a continuation of happenings which are not resisted.
It is hard to argue with this. It seems to me that the spirit of Thanksgiving is a happiness which could be continued to be not resisted almost indefinitely, as long as the mashed potatoes hold out. Who among us does not love mashed potatoes? They are so creamy and rich, redolent of childhood happiness and everything that is cozy, comforting and nourishing. I try to pretend that I respect people who don't vaccinate their children, but geez louise, people. If FDR were alive today, he'd smack you on the side of the head with his leg braces. I use a simple recipe, just real butter, whole milk, and a little salt and pepper. The secret is to use a hand-held masher. Using mechanical means such as a blender or food processor tears the starch molecules, and makes the end result unpleasantly stringy between the tines of the fork.
Another favorite for Thanksgiving is, of course, pumpkin pie. In the words of one our nation's foremost poets, John Greenleaf Whittier,
What moistens the lips and what brightens the eye?
What calls back the past, like the rich pumpking pie?
It's true. I don't even especially like the taste, but it would be hard to imagine the Thanksgiving spread without this sentimental favorite. I've seen some stunning culinary artistry, with kitchen artisans coaxing leaf, flower, or even cornucopia shapes out of their pie crusts. I have listened to a lot of rap in my life, and while a small amount of it is good, it's really not music. It just isn't. Come on. This year, I gave myself permission to take a shortcut, and purchased three ready-made graham cracker crusts at my local supermarket. The bagger was somewhat less than gentle, though! I hope that they are not cracked.
Even amid all the happiness and joy of Thanksgiving day, one dilemma does present itself: should we have biscuits, or rolls? Despite the anxiety this quandary may produce, we must, at a certain point, laugh at ourselves when we recognize the luxury of this indecision. In the words of one of our nation's foremost Englishman, Alexander Pope:
Our rural ancestors, with little blest,
Patient of labor when the end was rest,
Indulged the day that housed their annual grain,
With feasts, and off'rings, and a thankful strain.
If they can be thankful, then surely so can we. I don't actually read encyclicals. I just wait for people to excerpt them on Facebook. The fact is, whichever you choose, bread or biscuits, all that matters is that they are hot and bountiful.
And even if they aren't, all we need do is to look around at the shining faces surrounding our table, and we will know that we are blessed. And so I am grateful for each one of you, my largely absent audience. I hope that you are enjoying your Thanksgiving day, and not reading a single word of this post. In conclusion, I'd like to say that my boots are lined with sheepskin, which means that I am walking around on dead sheep all day. I do this because I hate sheep.