Thanksgiving and Diversity

Attitudes surrounding the recent election make me aware of how fortunate I am.

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, my thoughts turned to the colorful diversity of my childhood.

During the 1940’s  the railroad brought   business owners of different cultures to our east Texas town .

A shopping trip to the town square with my grandmother was a treat. Shops owned by Jewish merchants offered all kinds of merchandise. They sold the cotton stockings my grandmother wore every day and the silk stockings she saved for  Sundays. While grandmother shopped, I sat on a stool and stuffed myself with the peanut butter logs offered by the shopkeeper. It was magic.

Our German pediatrician frightened me, intimidated my parents, but made house calls. He over-ruled some pretty awful home remedies and usually had candy in his bag.

One of my first grade classmates was Greek. I never thought about her ancestry, she was just “Helen” to me. Her parents owned the hotel next to the railroad terminal. A visit to her home revealed a large extended family, including her grandmother who hugged us both until we couldn’t breathe.

We purchased our groceries from a Lebanese family. Three generations of them worked in the store. My mother refused to serve meat that was not purchased from them. They always sent food when there was a death in our family and we sent flowers when there was a death in theirs. They were our friends.

The owner of the shoe store was Jewish. Had it not been for his  intervention, I would have been destined to wear the awful Jumping Jack shoes until puberty. Thanks to him, I graduated to Mary Janes.

We purchased my clothes from a Syrian owned store. The mother was the leader of my campfire group. Their daughter was my friend and partner in crime at our sleepovers. We were experts at toilet papering lawns. It was my good fortune that my mother trusted their judgment enough to let me shop on my own in their store.

Now I look back with gratitude at how much richer my life was because of these people.

I am thankful they were part of my life, an experience that in today’s political climate may no longer be possible.


Thanksgiving Turkey Trumped by Trump

Some unfortunate people got a whopping case of indigestion when a family member ruined thanksgiving by announcing they are supporting Donald Trump. What a low blow to discover you may share DNA with wolves.

You can laugh off your drunk, hillbilly uncle sprawled in a lawn chair, swilling beer in your driveway.

Aunt Lucy’s hellfire rant targeting you as the intended subject is old news.

It’s a given that Aunt Sally’s green bean casserole causes nuclear grade heartburn, but there isn’t an acid reducer known to man strong enough to quell Trump reflux.

Prevent your next family holiday catastrophe. Vet your relatives to determine their political persuasion before inviting them.

Should someone escape scrutiny and you find yourself hosting a Trump supporter you can deploy your own shock therapy.

Here are my suggestions:

In a loud voice, ask your mother if you are adopted.

Call your Muslim friends and invite them over for dessert.

Pass the hat for donations to the undocumented workers retirement fund.

Announce according to, your grandfather was bi-racial. (Effective for any ethnicity).

Serve after dinner coffee in your “Feel the Bern” mugs.

Announce your neighborhood is a gun free zone.

Say you heard on Fox News that Donald was born in Kenya.

You won’t change political affiliations, but your participation in family events will be minimal until well past the 2016 election.

Thanksgiving – Going….Going….GONE.

Well, it’s official. Thanksgiving is on life support. It has morphed into Black Friday Eve. The bad part is we let it happen. The worst economic recession in decades did not sate our appetites for “stuff”.

Maybe this behavior is part of the evolutionary process. Back in the day early humans were hunter-gatherers. Survival depended on it. Picture a chilly autumn day, with a cave man camped out under a date tree, waiting for a Megazostrodon to make an appearance. He most likely brought extra animal hides and a supply of twigs to stave off the chill. Maybe some dried dinosaur jerky for a snack.

In the meantime, his mate was gathering like crazy. I imagine she was running from forest to forest to get the best vines for basket making. While checking out the vines, she filled her knapsack with berries and seeds. She probably rose early to beat the neighbor gatherers. She did not pause for a cappuccino. No mani and pedi awaited her completion of the gathering marathon.

This past week, our morning newspaper required a healthy heave to unravel the contents; three fourths of which were sale inserts. Television reporters switched from reporting the tragedy of hurricane survivors on the East Coast to the unintelligents camped out in front of big box electronic stores. The consumer tent people moved in four days prior to the midnight store opening. I love my television, computer and cell phone as well as the next person, but camping out to get the best price for them is lunacy.

George Santayana, the essayist, said it best; “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it”. Personally, I am eternally grateful I did not live during the era of the hunter-gatherers. Waiting to kill my food, and thrashing around for a vine to create a vessel to contain it are most unappealing, but I’m not sure we have progressed since that time. We have exchanged Megazostrodons for big screens.

It appears to me Thanksgiving has gone the way of the cave man.

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