Saturday, November 22, 2008
It's Time to Talk...er...Sing Turkey
Last week, I was invited to post on a blog that features a cross-section of Southern authors, A Good Blog Is Hard to Find. Since there are entries almost daily, my post is now way down the totem pole so, rather than make you search for it, I'll share it here--with a few revisions. Apologies to anyone who subscribes to both blogs, but, hey, the more people working on turkey carols, the better!
America, your country needs you.
Every year, the situation becomes more dire and the encroachment gets bolder. Charlie Brown tried to warn us. It started with our merchants, moved to our radio stations and, now, it's moving onto a street near you as homeowners with too much time and too little tradition start hanging their Christmas lights the day after Halloween. The problem? No Thanksgiving songs.
Oh, of course, there's "Come, Ye Thankful People, Come" and "We Gather Together," but that won't even get you started. I suppose you could count "Now Thank We All Our God" and "Give Thanks," but you won't find two out of ten people who know those, and even if you find someone who does, they're not likely to be singing them in the carpool line or humming them while they work. They aren't sing-a-long songs. They aren't lively, or festive, or fun; they are, dare I say, boring. Now I've heard some very fine choral renditions of all those tunes, but you can't change the fact that they're just not...well...zippy.Why is that? Thanksgiving's certainly zippy. It has families, football, fabulous food, and definitely as many nifty accoutrements as Christmas: all those vibrant, plump pumpkins...colorful, whimsical gourds...vivid, jewel-toned leaves...quaint corn shocks and hay stacks...grateful pilgrims and Native Americans...and, speaking of gratefulness, what's not to celebrate about that? Don't we all have blessings for which we're immensely thankful, everything from the biggies--like family and friends and good health--to the cherries on top--like good hair, cell phones (are those still a blessing?), and cranberry sauce? We have the reason, the inspiration, and the opportunity, so why AREN'T there pumpkin carols (or pilgrim polkas, or harvest hymns, or turkey tunes, or whatever we want to call them)?
We think it's appalling when stores start hanging candy canes as soon as the jack-o-lanterns come down but, really, what choice do they have? We Americans like to celebrate, and if nobody's willing to go to bat for Thanksgiving, well, we're just gonna move on to the next occasion on tap. Personally, I'd like to see Louisa May Alcott's birthday make it onto the list of holidays celebrated in November (that would be the 29th, if you'd like to raise a leftover drumstick in her honor), but I'm not going to push my luck. I do think, however, everyone will agree that Thanksgiving is getting short shrift.
I am hereby commissioning anyone who finds it repugnant to be hearing "Here Comes Santa Claus" before the Great Pumpkin has even made it out of the patch to rise to the occasion and produce a set of lyrics and a snappy little melody that would make Miles Standish proud. Come on, now! Don't you think it's time we gave Frosty and Rudolph a run for their money? Time to give leaf piles and cornucopias equal billing with snowflakes and Christmas trees? Just think: you could be the one to save the month of November from the jaws of those mercenary elves who would have us rush past this loveliest of holidays--this occasion that celebrates simple appreciation and is not yet tainted beyond recognition by commercialism and capitalism. In the race to get from Halloween to Christmas--the former the newest contender on the holiday spending tree, the latter the longtime saviour of fourth quarter earnings--we all but ignore Thanksgiving. A couple of parades, a few football games, a quick feast with the fam, then it's on to Black Friday before we've even digested our last helping of stuffing. So get those brain cells stirring! You have just a few days left to gaze upon your pumpkins, ponder your inner pilgrim, and muster up the inspiration needed to give Thanksgiving the three weeks or so of glory it deserves. I invite you to post your efforts here; perhaps, together, we can keep the sleigh reined in until the harvest makes it into the barn.
Your turkey will thank you.