Thanks for Thanksgiving

In her earlier career as a poet and editor, Sarah Josepha Buell Hale (1788–1879) composed a poem so beloved it is a surprise to learn that a human being wrote it: “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” She is also the individual most responsible for the creation of an American holiday so beloved that it is a surprise to learn that someone had to campaign for it: Thanksgiving, which we celebrate today.
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‘You can get anything you want’

An essay in tribute to Arlo Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree”

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There are three quotes, three statements, in my head this Thanksgiving afternoon, 2016.

Earlier this morning, a friend and I were chatting about our different Thanksgiving Day plans and he asked me if I had ever been to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in New York City. (I almost marched in it, by accident of all things, but that is an anecdote for a different blog post. Perhaps later today.)

“Well, I just hope,” he said, that no one tries any terrorism down there today, but if they do,” and here he looked like someone who hoped that “someone” would “try terrorism down there” because he added, “If they do, I hope we go ahead and use our nuclear weapons the way they were meant to be used. Just go over there and flatten that whole place.”
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Thanksgiving’s Mother

In most of her portraits, Sarah Josepha Buell Hale, the reason we celebrate Thanksgiving, looks stern. Gentle, but stern. She was an editor, but befitting a woman of her era, she employed the term, “editress.” From age 33 until her death at age 90, she wore black, which designated her as a widow in mourning from the day her husband died until the day she was to join him.
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