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Tag Archive: November

Nov 04

November—gray and bleak with lots of weird holidays

“November always seemed to me the Norway of the year.”—Emily Dickinson

November isn’t so bad, I suppose.

Its gray and bleak days seem to be more Icelandic than Norwegian in my view. Colorless, cold, stark.

“No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease. No comfortable feel in any member. No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees. No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds – it’s November!”

Ah yes, those words of Thomas Hood, 18th Century British poet and humorist, ring true.

On the other hand, November has weird holidays, and what’s not to like about that.

For example, the November calendar tells me that Plan Your Epitaph Day has come and gone already and so has National Deviled Egg Day.

I missed them. Did you miss celebrating them, too? At the very least, I could have made an egg sandwich.

However, we should not be dismayed because, dear readers, we can still celebrate today’s exceptionally weird November holiday–Waiting for the Barbarians Day, which deserves no comment.

Or, if that isn’t enough to get you in the mood to celebrate, you could await with high anticipation Marooned Without a Compass Day, which happens on Saturday.

Makes me want to rent a Tom Hanks movie.

Then, there is Vote for Dimpled Chad Day, and I have absolutely no idea why.

When I learned that Nov. 12th is National Pizza With The Works Except for Anchovies Day, I had an “ah ha” moment. That’s my brother’s birthday and our son and daughter-in-law’s wedding anniversary.

Pizza without anchovies sounds like a perfect gift for them. I may celebrate this holiday every year myself since I am not a big fan of anchovies.

We’re not done yet. There are a few more peculiar November holidays to mention.

Around the time of our daughter’s birthday later in the month are a bevy of holidays she could honor—National Cashews Day, Use Even If the Seal Is Broken Day (I really like that one), False Confessions Day and National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day (I really don’t like this one).

And at the bottom of the list of holidays, I found that it is once again National Write a Novel During the Month of November Month. I tried that last year, and never got past page one.

I don’t have time this year. It will soon be National Bundt Pan Day, and I need to start baking, soon to be followed by National Flossing Day and Name Your PC Day.

I’m busy.

And besides, I have to rest up for Nov. 30th—Stay Home Because You’re Well Day.

I love November.

Nov 26

Holiday holds odd placement.

As our story begins, Robert is confused about when Thanksgiving Day will happen this year.

Robert (aka Robby to his family) is away at college studying weighty and honors-type curriculum.  Robby is also planning the trip home for Thanksgiving break.

Note: The names have been changed to protect the innocent.

“So just when is Thanksgiving this year?” Robby asks.

To which Mom incredulously replies, “It is always the fourth Thursday of each November. How could you possibly have missed that all the way through grade school and high school!”

Robby comes back with, “But Mom, the date is different each year.”

Mom rejoins in her best impression of Charlie Brown characters Lucy and Linus, and cries in mortification, “Argh, you Blockhead!”

To which Robby, who by all standards is quite brainy, proceeds to give Mom a history lesson on Thanksgiving. He just does not know when it falls this year. Sure knows his history though.

Here, then, is the abridged version of “The History of Thanksgiving Day”, according to Robby and Mom, student and editor, in that respective order.

  • The Pilgrims arrived in America in the fall of 1620 after fleeing religious persecution in England. The trip had a stopover in Holland where they lived awhile collecting their fortunes. Unfortunately, the Dutch were too loose in their lifestyle for the Pilgrims’ liking. The Pilgrims thought the Dutch might corrupt their children and destroy morality. So, off they sailed after a few years to a new land filled with hope and freedom.
  • Luckily, when they arrived at Plymouth Rock, now well-known to all school-age children, they found the perfect spot to locate. It was a campground, long abandoned by Native Americans. A clear fresh-water stream was nearby, and a variety of wildlife and native flora were plentiful.
  • Unfortunately, the first winter was brutal and nearly half the settlers died from both illness and the cold, harsh weather. By the next year with the help of friendly English-speaking natives, Samoset and Squanto of the Abnaki tribe, the Pilgrims were able to survive and enjoy a bountiful harvest. Some speculate this occurred during the full moon of October.
  • Time to celebrate, and, celebrate they did! Most historical records of that first thanksgiving celebration, as proclaimed by Pilgrim Governor William Bradford, say it lasted three days.
  • Massasoit, chief of the Wampanoag, and his tribe joined the Abnaki and the Pilgrims at the festival. After all, they had all worked together planting crops, salting meat, and tapping maple trees for sap. They played games, ran races, and just had a jolly old time, not to mention the fact that the food they enjoyed was strange, quirky, and quite delicious. Turkey, salted deer meat, corn, fish soup, berries and nuts were the fare of the day.
  • The custom continued throughout the years even though some harvests were bleak.
  • During the American Revolutionary War in the late 1770’s, the Continental Congress suggested a day of national thanksgiving.
  • On Nov. 26, 1789, George Washington issued a day of proclamation and a public day of “thanks-giving” and prayer.
  • President Abraham Lincoln also declared “a day of thanksgiving and praise” on the last Thursday of November, 1863.
  • For 75 years after that, the President of the United States formally designated each year that Thanksgiving Day would be celebrated on the last Thursday of November.
  • In 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt knew that businesses needed help staying afloat during the Depression and decided to lengthen the shopping period before Christmas. He set Thanksgiving one week earlier in order to help out the economy. No kidding. Pundits say he would have done anything back then to get the country out of the Depression. When he changed it to the third week of November, some folks took to calling it “Franksgiving!”
  • Finally, in 1941, Congress ruled that the fourth Thursday of November would be the official day of Thanksgiving and would, thereafter, be a legal, federal holiday.

Now, you know all Robby knows about Thanksgiving and more, but I digress. Back to our story.

Robby, still not clear on when Thanksgiving will occur this year, asks Mom what day she plans to have her big Thanksgiving feast.

In desperation and with her voice filled with resignation, Mom replies, “Hey honey, do this. Check the TV listings for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. That is the day we will have our big dinner.”

“OK, Mom. See ya. By the way, I have a ton of laundry I’m bringing home.”

Sigh. “Bye son.”

End of story.

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