posted on November 24, 2009 03:58
With all due respect to Detroit residents, I'm trying to figure out why we football fans must watch the Lions on Thanksgiving Day year after year. This would be the same team that went a record 0-16 last year (yes, a perfect season), and has not had a winning campaign since the Eisenhower administration or so. Yet, every turkey day, regardless of what other exciting and winning teams are available, here comes another home game in one of America's most depressing cities. (I remember visiting the Detroit airport earlier this year and noticing the utter lack of Lions gear in the stores there. I did find a great deal on GM stock, however.) At least the other game is always the Dallas Cowboys, and they're usually pretty good and--at least for me--lots of fun to cheer against, regardless of the opponent…even it was Jon and Kate.
Well, some traditions simply refuse to die when it comes to holidays. And aside from the Lions-in-Your-Face, Thanksgiving has some pretty awesome rituals. The Macy's parade on television in the morning, before everyone in the kitchen starts to get really stressed out. The sheer anticipation of the food. Running an occasional "turkey trot" 5k run in the early hours of the day to make room and void guilt about the coming food fest (wait, you’ve never done this?). The arrival of the golden-brown bird out of the oven at last, and the ceremonial carving and the mourning of the one who sacrificed everything just for us. The plates filled beyond capacity with some damn good eats. And oh yeah, getting to eat while watching the Lions, uh, the Cowboys. And the leftover "snack" that occurs around 8 p.m. during some warm and fuzzy prime-time holiday special or classic.
Another cool Thanksgiving ritual for me is watching the Peanuts special in particular, the one where Peppermint Patty so rudely invites herself and a bunch of other short persons over to Charlie Brown's house for Thanksgiving...and then complains about the quality of the food. They have popcorn and toast, for God's sake. So inhospitable, Chuck, not to mention having a dog assist with the food preparations. And where are your underwater-talking parents, anyway???
And yet, Patty and her friends finally realize...it is more important to simply be together. The quality of the food or football aside, the beauty of relationships is woven throughout the heart of the Thanksgiving experience for those open enough to see it. Engaging with people you care for, and even meeting new friends, is the true spirit of any holiday beyond the materialism and customs that pervade it. Loving others well is the best meal one can serve.
Everything else is just dressing.