If the media is to be believed – and that’s a big if, then there will be any number of families and friends that will alter their plans for sharing Thanksgiving dinner this year. No puns intended, but it seems that one of the outcomes of the recent elections is that political allegiance trumps familial allegiance. Reading the news, one would be led to believe that this is the first time in American history that families refused to sit down together to celebrate Thanksgiving. Nothing could be further than the truth! If the Civil War pitted brother against brother, then there is every reason to believe that refusal to share Thanksgiving dinner was one of any number of causalities that came about when the North and the South of this country faced off against each other.
When all is said and done, Thanksgiving transcends politics. Despite strong held Democrat or Republican beliefs along with more than a healthy dose of stubbornness, Thanksgiving has transcended party allegiance. Say what you want about turkey and trimmings, but they are oblivious to political ideologies. So too has been the case for the vast majority of Americans who refuse to let their appetites become ruined as they debate within themselves whether or not they should go for second helpings or whether the turkey is as tender and tasty as it was last year.
When all is said and done, Thanksgiving transcends trends. There may be a world of difference between America of 2016 and America of 1966, just as there was most likely a world of difference between America of 1966 and America of 1916. America has changed! Despite the packaging along with the fact that by the time they are in the supermarket for purchase, turkeys seem to have lost their feet, necks as well as their internal organs, the prerequisite Thanksgiving fowl has remained the same. That’s why grandma’s recipe for Thanksgiving Dinner is savored more and more as the years go by; that’s why traditions and honors such as who is asked to carve the “ toikey” (see the 1990 Barry Levinson movie Avalon) remains sacrosanct.
When all is said and done, Thanksgiving transcends self-interests. How else does one explain millions of Americans turning airports into “scareports” as travelers desperately attempt to keep their tempers in check? First they must stand in line to check in, and then stand in line to go through security only to have to stand in line once again to board a plane, where for all intents and purposes they will be pretty much forced to assume a sitting posture not all that dissimilar to the turkey they are about to dig into at the Thanksgiving meal. How else does one explain inching along overcrowded interstate highways wondering if you are going to make it in time, in that under the best of circumstances, your destination is still an hour and a half away? How else does one explain adjusting one’s personal calendar and rescheduling appointments, so that one is able to spend a couple of hours around a Thanksgiving table, all the while hoping and praying that one does not end up sitting beside cousin Bartholomew who gives new meaning to the word obnoxious?
Thanksgiving transcends it all. Perhaps that’s why in the hundredth psalm otherwise known as the Psalm of Thanksgiving, we find the phrase “from generation to generation”.