For once it has been decently cool down here in the southern portions, and actually feels like Autumn.
And thus, after a hectic beginning of the month, we’ve progressed to the fourth Thursday of November which is traditionally Thanksgiving here in America.
My thoughts have gone to Helene Hanff’s description of the holiday as written for the BBC Women’s Hour audience of 1978, and kept for us to enjoy in her 1992 volume, Letters From New York, BBC Women’s Hour Broadcasts.
November, 1978 . . .
“Before the days of James the First, a group of English farmers disagreed with the Church of England. “They will conform,” said King James, “or I will harry them out of the kingdom.” They didn’t conform, and he harried them out… They got on a ship called the Mayflower and sailed to the New World, and landed at Plymouth, Massachusetts, and established a colony. And since they called themselves “pilgrims” they became known to American history as the Pilgrim Fathers…
“What happened was: the Pilgrims were befriended by the native Americans—the Indians—who taught them how to fertilize the land with eels, how to grow Indian corn and eat it off the cob,
and how to cook and eat an American bird called a turkey. And the next autumn, when the Pilgrims reaped a bountiful harvest, they invited the Indians to a feast where everybody gave thanks to God for the harvest. That feast was the first American Thanksgiving…
“What makes New York’s Thanksgiving unique is the Macy Parade, which has been hauling parents out of bed on Thanksgiving Day for fifty-five years.
(Note: Today is the 92nd parade.)
“The parade features helium-filled balloon likenesses of cartoon characters each as tall as a six- or seven-story building.
(Note: In between the balloons are high school bands and flag wavers and floats from across the country. There was a balloon missing, but as it was windy and below freezing, perhaps they decided a Florida golf course was a better place for someone in a diaper. 😉)
“Americans across the country are determined to get home for Thanksgiving, our quintessential family holiday, more so even than Christmas, since it embraces all religions and recalls the Dissenters’ faith on which this country was founded.”