Thanksgiving and Turkey


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Thanksgiving and Turkey

  1. 1. Turkeys a Gobbling - You Ready?
  2. 2. Preface / IntroductionAmazing Thanksgivings and Turkeys-a-Gobbling!
  3. 3. Table of Contents1. My most memorable Thanksgiving... and oh the memories!2. Not in the mood for Thanksgiving? Then be grateful for what you dont have!3. Thanksgiving from the turkeys perspective. Over the river and through the woods, a nations fowlbehavior is noted, bemoaned, admonished, challenged. Timely commentary from the cutting edge.
  4. 4. Turkeys a Gobbling - You Ready?My most memorable Thanksgiving... and oh the memories!by Dr. Jeffrey LantAuthors program note. Quick can you name your favorite Thanksgiving song? Unless its "Over theriver and through the woods" (1844), you probably dont have one. But I do. Its called "Turkey inthe straw", and it is a traditional American folk song from the 1820s. And though strictly speaking itwas not written for Thanksgiving, youll have to forego its strict history in favor of the elasticmeaning I shall give the tune and its use. I am sure, in due time, you will forgive me. In any event,start by going to any search engine, find the tune, and put on your dancing shoes... because thisThanksgiving youll be dancing, not just filling out your embonpoint, and belching.What my family usually did for Thanksgiving... celebrated, sanctified, dull.I was brought up in an Illinois family which, like all our neighbors, believed in the verities of God,country, and family. These were the bedrocks on which we built our homes, our communities andour nation. And these three essential parts of American life came sharply together at Thanksgiving,an event which had to be arranged and celebrated in the grand manner... best china, best crystal, bestsilver and food that was quite simply awesome, no stinting contemplated, allowed, or accepted. Wewere Americans, part of the great heartland of the nation, and if we didnt have much to be thankfulfor, then who did?Still, this holiday (and Christmas, too) always raised the issue of where to celebrate, for we were partof large extended families with matriarchs in various branches who made it clear their feelingswould be hurt if we didnt grace their Thanksgiving Day tables, though why they wanted my sisterwith her tendency to scream while eating (admittedly she was only in pre-school) and my brother(but that is another story), I as eldest son and eldest grandson (on both sides) could neverunderstand. I knew why they wanted me... "let me count the ways...."The solution to this problem of venue was solved in most years by the simple expedient of appearingat two (or even more) holiday tables groaning under the weight of families who had done well... andstuffing ourselves to sickness accordingly. It is no wonder they felt queasy by days end. Personally Ialways saved room (if at all possible) for the desserts... for here amidst so many culinaryachievements... was sweet perfection in so many alluring ways. Pies of every kind (pumpkin derigueur of course), cobblers, cookies with holiday themes... strudel (we were of Germanic stock andproud)... and the cakes... but enough. Suffice it to say there was no thought of mere sufficiency. Itwas all about excess... in so many ways so that no one could ever say anything else, or even suggestit.Time -- and holiday arrangements -- marches on.Sadly, over time things changed and my father and mother were significant reasons why themulti-mealed Thanksgiving came to an end. Specifically, we moved from Illinois when I was just 16to California, where family (as Charles Manson and hippies from Haight-Ashbury proved) had analtogether different meaning. And so, unless my father decided (and my mother concurred), forfathers sister and his wife did not love each other, unless, that is, we were going to our Cartercousins ranch in Bakersfield, we stayed home... and invited people we liked, who were neverrelated. In short, we went from the traditional Thanksgiving of too much of this, too much of that,people we "had" to like because we were related, to Thanksgivings we invented... and, as wediscovered later when sociologists explored American migrations, most other people were doing thesame thing. And thats why my mother, Shirley de Lauing Lant Phelps de Barlais y de Kesoun, and Iwere in the port of San Pedro, California en route to Baja California for Thanksgiving, 1985. Copyright Lance Sumner - 2012 4 of 13
  5. 5. Turkeys a Gobbling - You Ready?Fourth book, second Thanksgiving out of America.I have always been of an industrious nature and my breakneck pace through 1985 made clear that Iwas a man on a mission, going places, meeting people. I had my fourth book underway, a publishingcompany to oversee, an international consulting business, a multitude of lectures nationwide, and anationally syndicated program on the Business Radio Network. Managing time was of the essence..and this precluded vacations and other ways of wasting time, including voyaging to a part of theworld in which I had absolutely no interest. But, then, my mother did... and she was a veryformidable woman. She named the destination, I ponied up for the tickets, and so we boarded one ofthe floating restaurants and bars they call cruise ships, where eating and lassitude are the order of theday, every day.We were booked as Dr. and Mrs. Lant, which while absolutely accurate was also the seed for amemorable (and oh so wrong) deduction... because, you see, on this ship, as on all such vessels, theladies of a certain age always out number the gents... and so the hopefulness which alwaysaccompanies these ladies on board always quickly wilts.My mother was a stylish and youthful looking woman and made a point of so appearing, to bestadvantage. I was, as usual, slovenly, a demolisher of clothes, even those from the best shops inBoston and England. Still, as Agatha Christie once observed, old clothes properly cut are alwayssuitable attire for a gentleman. My mother strenuously disagreed, but here her jeremiads fell on memorable evening, a woman of the purple-haired ilk sidled up to POM (Poor OldMother) and asked how long wed been married... and how shed managed it; (no doubt wantinginstructions on how to secure as willing mate one as young, winsome, and obviously God-favored asI.) Freud must have had a conniption.And that was just the beginning of the memorable holiday voyage.My mother and I worked as a team; she was admiral, I cadet. The moment after we arrived on board,she took a page of her cream colored stationary as Baroness de Barlais y de Kesoun, gold coronetablaze at the top, and sent a charming message (of which she was past mistress) to the Captain,advising him a celebrated author was on board whom shed like to present. That "celebrated author"would have been me. That note she delivered post haste to the purser along with a First Edition ofmy book "Our Harvard," suitably autographed by that self-same author. She always traveled with afew copies...The next day I sat in a deck chair, enveloped in a plaid blanket, hands chilled, writing the currentbook, "The Unabashed Self-Promoters Guide: What every man, woman, child and organization inAmerica needs to know about getting ahead by exploiting the media." For all that I had to be thawedout each evening, I was making lickety-split progress... and could still dance attendance on HerLadyship, my mother. It was a model that worked...The Captain requests...In due course, of course, the Captain responded... not just with an invitation to the table at dinnerwhere he held court but to cocktails in his luxurious private quarters. We dressed accordingly; (myHarvard blazer was wrinkled but its insignia buttons were solid gold.) When we discovered he wasGreek, we should have recalled the old maxim "Beware of Greeks bearing gifts..."He was a man of charm, information, and what we Midwesterners call schmaltz. As such he wasvery good company, paying every courtesy to the Double B (as we termed the double Baroness, inher own right, too). But there was something not quite right... which became instantly apparentwhen, in paying my mother an exaggerated farewell he tickled the inside of my hand, in a manner Copyright Lance Sumner - 2012 5 of 13
  6. 6. Turkeys a Gobbling - You Ready?which could not possibly have been misconstrued. I meant to tell her... she would have roared withlaugher and indignation. Which brings us to our unique Thanksgiving on the high seas.On board, one ate and participated in activities which could never quite obscure their purpose: to letair out of bloated stomachs. One of these activities was the time-honored "talent show" which wouldhave been anything but... except for POM. She had an idea to sweep the boards... she always did...and with her vision, energy, imagination and unparalleled ability to shame people into doing things,she generally succeeded. "The First Thanksgiving".POM dragooned one passenger after another into taking part in what was certain to be the winningentry: a sure-to-please musical rendition of the first Thanksgiving, with dialog by me and directionby... but you can guess who. Despite frequent (ever escalating) reminders that the script needed tobe written, yours truly did not write the script; instead falling victim to Demon Rum... and so whenPOM came to get me for dress rehearsal (a bare hour before the opening curtain) she found her boydrunk as the lord he was. No script. No excuse. No hope.But still the show went on, though I had to ad-lib every word, including musical cues to the band,which gamely played our game. Pilgrims said the silly things they would say... Indians (face-paintperfect) acted aboriginal... and "Turkey in the straw" rang out frequently as passenger Pilgrims andIndians ran about the stage capturing passenger turkeys. Then le tout ensemble sang "God BlessAmerica". Of course we were cheered to the echo, and I got the kind of hugs and kudos I expected...and she had deserved.My Thanksgiving this year will be dull indeed without her... for she is making friends and raisingcane in a better place, where she will know, for certain, I would write this article and remember....***** What are your favourite Thanksgiving memories? Let us know by posting your commentsbelow. Copyright Lance Sumner - 2012 6 of 13
  7. 7. Turkeys a Gobbling - You Ready?Not in the mood for Thanksgiving? Then be grateful for whatyou dont have!by Dr. Jeffrey LantAuthors program note. Rarely if ever have I seen my fellow countrymen so riled up... irritable,angry, rude epithets at the ready, bad behaviors endemic. Whats going on? Try these for openers...A rotten economic situation that just wont get better... and youre afraid it never will. And so youworry (for the umpteenth time) about just how secure your job is. Is there some guy in Mumbaiwholl be glad to do it at half what you get? Youve raised the subject with your boss... but hisanswer was not reassuring and now he wont look you in the eye.A president whose leadership style gives us no leadership... and nary a Republican presidentialcandidate who doesnt cause multitudes to hold their noses, gagging, and wonder why our mindboggling lengthy and expensive campaign produces candidates we cant stand or respect, much lessadmire.Sickening scandals like the one still unfolding at Penn State, scandals that make us wake up in themiddle of the night shouting, "What the...... is going on around here?". Sometimes we wonder, andnot just once either, whether anyone is honest, decent, and unarmed anymore... or whether its onlysuckers (you being one) who play by the rules.Every day we pick up the newspaper and read about another murder in the neighborhood, ourneighborhood. Are our neighbors only "good" because we dont know their secret lives and thehome truths that havent yet been disclosed?We read about some drug bust at the school down the street... and are horrified to see the policephoto and recognize our kids favorite teacher. We run upstairs and check the closet and dresserdrawer to see if this has touched us even closer. Youre fortunate today... nothing out of order... butthe word "yet" comes immediately to mind... since these days you expect something bad to happenany time now and arent particularly surprised when it does.We read about... and are as concerned as our busy lives will allow... another species declaredextinct... another Web sex scandal... another political official with a skill for theft and plausibledenial. You feel sure hell get off easy when his time in court comes up. Is that what the bandageover the eyes of the statue of Justice is supposed to mean?Youre concerned about Americas unending wars in countries whose names you cannot pronounce,much less find on a map, but which you are paying for. Youve got a friend whose young cousin,proud and handsome in his Marine Corps uniform, was killed by a sniper... a boy just 20 years old.The thought haunts you all day... You want to believe such early death helps the country in question,America, the world... but you dont. You see that boys eyes and feel them boring into you, askingone question over and over -- "Why?"... and you just cant give a good answer. You feel increasinglyhelpless as the barrage of bad news, miseries, muddles, mayhem just wont quit. You want time offfrom it all... but these realities, details delivered to us faster than ever compliments of the Web,constitute the unceasing rhythm of our lives.And this is only the tip of the iceberg.We wonder if, after a lifetime of contributing, Social Security will be there when we need it... andwhether Medicare will provide the level of service well need. A gal from our office had that acutebreathing problem and was put on a respirator; the hospital didnt want to pay for it... and the matter Copyright Lance Sumner - 2012 7 of 13
  8. 8. Turkeys a Gobbling - You Ready?now resides in their legal department. We want care... we get lawyers. It makes us very, verynervous.... and sad.We wonder how some shady Greek and Italian politicians can have so much influence on our livesso far away. What kind of magic powers have they got that force us (however superficially) to payattention to what theyre doing... and doing... and doing, all of which threatens the stability andsatisfaction of our lives? You want to say its "unfair"... but you know no one cares what you thinkabout the matter... and you dont want people to think youre a wimp. So you stay quiet andunsatisfied... its just the way things are. And so the days pass...... until the calendar tells you its Thanksgiving, the official day, sanctioned by custom and dictatedby law, you get together with family and friends to eat too much and give thanks for your ability todo so. But this year, you just dont feel like it, though you wouldnt mind a piece or two of pumpkinpie. Whats a body to do?Ill share something that works for me... dont waste your time enumerating all the good thingsyouve got, especially when you realize most of them are flawed and superficial. Instead, focus onthe myriad of problems, inconveniences, woeful situations and debilitating malevolence you donthave... bullets you have dodged for another year. This will make you feel really thankful aboutthings that really matter. Heres how it works...Preparation and The ListThis year I attend my 64th Thanksgiving, so I consider myself a man with some experience in thematter. Put this experience to work by putting aside the usual falderals... dont just hold hands andask little Janie to say the blessing. Janie is probably too young to have much insight into the event...and will be unable to perform her helping role to perfection. Thus the end result will be unutterablybanal, like all the years before.Instead, seize this bull by the horns and brainstorm a long list of things you are thankful you donthave to do, think about, or consider in any way. Be brutally frank.Item: your boss got fired because of that restroom peccadillo, and you never have to see him again.That was huge!Item: your estranged cousin Herbie, bete noir of many years, has gone missing, no one knowswhere. If he never returns, that would be too soon.Item: Your darling daughter didnt marry the wild idealist who always played the zither and neverbathed. Delicious.Item: your neighbors noisome pooch Mickey, gifted with a piecing yelp and high decibel duration,ran away in pursuit of amorous freedom. He will of course be missed by someone... but not by you.Keep going! Dont stint! As you get into the task, you see that the things you dont have, that youwere afraid you would have and forever are the very things you always needed to make this holidaysing.Now type your list. You will never remember them all and since each adds its mite to the happyevent, do not rely on memory. Practice, too, reciting them. Read slowly.... with deliberate cadenceand gravitas in your voice.Having recited this list you will feel, perhaps for the first time in months, truly happy for you havediscovered for yourself and shown the world the ample bounty of happiness at your fingertips,Thanksgiving now and forever your favorite holiday. Copyright Lance Sumner - 2012 8 of 13
  9. 9. Turkeys a Gobbling - You Ready?** Your response to this article is requested. What do you think? Let us know by posting yourcomments below. Copyright Lance Sumner - 2012 9 of 13
  10. 10. Turkeys a Gobbling - You Ready?Thanksgiving from the turkeys perspective. Over the riverand through the woods, a nations fowl behavior is noted,bemoaned, admonished, challenged. Timely commentaryfrom the cutting Dr. Jeffrey Lant.Authors program note. If youre a resident of these United States, the fourth Thursday of Novemberwill soon be upon us in all its excess, gluttony, and self-congratulation. We know this asThanksgiving Day, but it most certainly is no day of glorious and heart felt thanksgiving for thecrucial centerpiece of this annual event sacred to gourmandizing and loosened belts. In fact, for thefamily of the genus Meleagris, commonly called turkeys, this date is the darkest day of their lives,their history and their entire existence on this planet... but no longer.This year for the first time since their majestic ancestors graced the Early Miocene a long, long timeago and after nearly 400 years of unapologetic, systematic execution and intense gobbling launchedby New England Pilgrims in the 1660s, turkeys are rallying for life, liberty and the pursuit ofhappiness. In short, these ancient birds of unmitigated plumage and pluck now demand respect,restitution, and revolution. Due to a special arrangement with a band of their insurgents, I am able totake you inside their headquarters. Thus they acknowledge their need for world-wide recognitionand your support for their pressing cause.Urgency in the air: my interview with the Young Turk leader called "Squawk", a bird of starkdestiny and purpose.A Message from Squawk.I was not particularly surprised when I saw the note left under the door last night; indeed given mysupport over the course of many years for the God-given right to life of polar bears, eagles, monarchbutterflies, African elephants and many others, I should have been chagrined not to have beencontacted. I have my amor propre too after all. But there it was."Be ready. Comrades will make contact precisely at midnight. No cameras. Nothing but pencil andpaper." Then the bold, audacious, even grandiloquent mark already famous: "Squawk" and his proudsign, one blood-red claw print. So... they had chosen me...... And then it occurred to me. When I booked my Thanksgiving Day reservation at the SheratonCommander hotel right down the street, the young manager had asked me if I wanted turkey or hamfor my main course. Without thinking, I told her that if the glaze would be as deep and resonant aslast years, my selection was certainly ham. Thus inadvertently by my choice of which dead animal Ishould feast upon, I became, if anathema to pigs, yet simpatico to turkeys.In this way I came to know that adherents of the turkeys cause can be anywhere, even in the mostunexpected of places. Ah, that is what the bright-eyed, chipper serving person meant when she said,"Im so glad, Dr. Lant" in an especially insinuating manner. Old-goat that I am I thought hercome-hither look was for my geriatric charms, and so I thought again "theres no fool like an oldfool."Perforce, to my work.Understanding my task, I readied myself for what could only be a fateful encounter, its salient andurgent points to be brought to a world of the unenlightened. And so I regained myself. I was myselfagain for in such matters I remain a "Young Turk," too, deferring to no one, not even Squawk, Copyright Lance Sumner - 2012 10 of 13
  11. 11. Turkeys a Gobbling - You Ready?revolutions anvil though he be.The feathered comrades were as good as their word. At the stroke of midnight, I heard the flutteringof wing and heard the unmistakable sound emanating from the fleshy wattle or protuberance thathangs from the top of the beak. And thus I fell, through professional pride and recognized standing,into the hands of those who, without Squawks laissez-passer, in an instant could blind me and shredmy fragile flesh. I now felt as they had felt these thousands of years a prisoner, helpless,incarcerated, destined for premature death. Thus did the clan Meleagris signal the new order of theirkind... and the resulting new order of mine.Of the next several minutes, I recall sensations only. Of feathers carefully positioned to extinguishall light; just a little showing, otherwise entirely dark. Of the occasional sharp claw prick, whetherby accident or design, no less painful for that. It was an acute reminder that I was in their completeand utter power, perhaps the first man so rendered in the long relations of turkey and human. Theysaid nothing. I said nothing. Where I was, who I was with, what they would do to me would becomecompletely apparent soon enough... and was.Squawks headquarters. We meet and "talk turkey".I never did discover just where I was and where we met. But even if I knew, I wouldnt say. I am ajournalist and my sources sacred... So I shall simply say the place had a make shift aura about it, asif this were a temporary abode, one to be quickly occupied, quickly abandoned."Good evening, Doctor Lant." It was Squawk, and I felt his power, strength, and authority at once.Here was a bird who meant business... and who saw me only as a tool to reach his objective. Weunderstood each other, and so our business could proceed, briskly, for time was limited and we bothhad deadlines...He motioned me to a chair. He stood. And then he began, the words swift, lucid, hot, each adeclaration etched in acid. He meant every one and every one came without difficulty. Here was asubject of paramount importance to every turkey. He knew he spoke for all his breed, was supremelyconfident of his position, of the need to speak out, of the full justice of his cause, and the need foraction now, complete action, long overdue action, and of what would have to be done should thisaction be deferred by even a single moment.It was a clarion call... and Squawk looked through me and made me see what he saw... he was a birdtransfigured... exactly what was required for this pivotal time in the long, one-sided relation ofturkey and human. I knew as each word emerged that I was hearing history in the making. Like it ornot, every clipped syllable was Important. Things would never be the same again.What Squawk said.Now each word came fast, irrefutable, beautiful in its delivery, purified by total belief and totalcommitment.Of the days before human came. Of a proud bird, great in size, majestic in movement, free rangingover the great land called by humans North America. These were the proud days, the glory days,when every bird knew the joy that is freedom.Of the days that brought the people called Pilgrims, people who fled tyranny and injustice only tobring a greater tyranny, more menacing and thorough injustice to the land called New England.These storm-tossed people came with only one thing in amplitude: arrogance, an arrogance thateverything they saw was theirs and theirs alone. We did not understand these humans then. We sawthem as poor, freedom-loving, in need of help we were ready to give in unstinting measure. Copyright Lance Sumner - 2012 11 of 13
  12. 12. Turkeys a Gobbling - You Ready?And so we accepted their invitation to the First Thanksgiving... where we were the guest of honorindeed: as food. We came in friendship. We found the cooking pot instead... and not merely the potfor some; the pot for all of us in our thousands, our tens of thousands, our millions.And so the Pilgrims grew fat upon the bounty of our trusting bodies. No wonder these humans gavethanks. They were triumphant over all, a revolution in every step they took. Against suchGod-believing people, forever certain in their cause what could be done except revolt, violent,intense, thorough, unceasing until the freedom of old becomes the order of the great new day."Does this mean....?", I asked. He knew the question before I even finished it. "Yes, friend, it does.There are comrades who operate in the shady lanes of liberal Newton, of affluent Brookline, evenone hero who patrols the grounds and harasses the privileged students of the Harvard BusinessSchool. And as our ranks grow, we shall expand... so that no pedestrian wherever can walk, nomotorist drive without our calculated outrage made manifest, painful."He meant every word ... and from previous print reports I knew he would do it if he could. After allthe population of wild turkeys has never been greater or demonstrated greater purpose and solidarity.EnvoiWith the briefest touch wing to hand, Squawk signalled that this unprecedented interview was over.Disciplined comrades were at the ready for my immediate departure, blocking my eyes, escortingme home to a world which suddenly seemed less equable than before.I turned on CNN which announced that the President would be exercising his powers of executiveclemency at the White House today, live in just 15 minutes. The lucky spared turkey was called"Squawk". Now wasnt that cute?The Marine Corps band was on hand and was just now commencing "The Presidents Hymn" writtenin 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln declared the first official Thanksgiving holiday. Itsauthors were William Augustus Muhlenberg and Joseph W. Turner, spiritual descendants of thePilgrims."GIVE thanks, all ye people give thanks to the Lord, Alleluias of freedom, with joyful accord; Letthe East and the West, North and South roll along, Sea, mountain, and prairie, one thanksgivingsong."Now face to face, eye to eye, Squawk and the President were just a moment from destiny... Copyright Lance Sumner - 2012 12 of 13
  13. 13. Turkeys a Gobbling - You Ready?ResourceAbout the Author Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of Worldprofit, Inc., providing a widerange of online services for small and-home based businesses. Jeffrey Lant is also the author of 18best-selling business books.Republished with authors permission by Lance Sumner Copyright Lance Sumner - 2012 13 of 13