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The Deluded Diva Speaks... Thanksgiving traditions die hard, thank goodness!

November 23, 2010

The Deluded Diva

I was musing today about the civil wars I’ve caused over the years when I veered from the traditional Thanksgiving menu.
One friend threatened NOT to come to my house this year if I go ahead with my plans to serve pumpkin cheese grits. He said it was “unsouthern.”
My family and friends pout all day if I don’t serve sweet potatoes with those little marshmallows on top, dry roast turkey, and cornbread dressing. One year I added oysters to the dressing and thought I had a mutiny on my hands.
And what’s up with cranberries? You never hear a word about them except at Thanksgiving and Christmas. I bet the cranberry growers are the most grateful people in the world when the holidays roll around.
Like it or not, Thanksgiving continues to evolve with changing times. Wouldn’t the Pilgrims be surprised at what they started all those centuries ago?
There were no supermarkets, football games, or caterers to throw the party of the century in the new world. I read somewhere that more than 90 guests showed up to seal the deal on a new holiday and celebrate the autumn harvest. They stayed for three days. Talk about wearing out a welcome….
After the colonists harvested their crops they probably sent out a party of hunters to kill a few wild turkeys. Today, we harvest our “crops” at the local supermarket. Thankfully, the turkeys come home, plucked and dressed, or my family would still be wondering what turkey tastes like.
It has been reported that only four adult married women survived the first year at Plymouth, and it would have been they who did most of the food preparation. Feeding 90 people for three days would certainly kill me.
It’s not likely there were cookbooks to turn to, and the Pilgrims couldn’t call home to Mama to check her recipe for cranberry sauce.
Since their turkeys were wild and obtained by a hunting party, I expect they were stuffed with bird shot instead of cornbread dressing.
But what a great idea they had - to express thanks to God for the brave new world and the promise of what it could offer.
Americans are truly the luckiest people on earth. Even with a slumping economy, crime and terrorism, we can still dream of better times ahead. At the end of the day we can go home and crawl into our warm comfy beds and dream sweet dreams. Special thanks to our soldiers – especially those far away from friends and family. God speed.
CBS ran a news special last week on the cholera epidemic in Haiti which continues to grow. People have been living in tent cities since last January’s earthquake which killed 300,000 people and stripped them of all their worldly possessions.
Here we are, warm and comfortable, with clean water, an ample food supply and four walls to protect against the elements. Most of us have more possessions than we can find places to stash. Taking all this abundance for granted is OUR national epidemic, and we should celebrate Thanksgiving every day of our lives.
And don’t forget girls, Thanksgiving is the one day that big thighs are a good thing.

Emily Jones is a retired journalist who lives in Starkville, MS. She edits a website for bouncing boomers facing retirement and welcomes comments at

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