Abraham Lincoln is often called the “Father of Thanksgiving.” Obviously the folks on the Mayflower and the Native Americans they feasted with would probably like some of the credit, although they probably don’t really care at this point. Just guessing.
And, actually, presidents going back to George Washington called for national “days of thanks,” but it wasn’t until Honest Abe issued a proclamation for it in 1863 that Thanksgiving became an official American holiday.
So Abe is Turkey Day’s daddy, but did you know it also has a mama?
Sarah Josepha Hale, the lady who penned the classic children’s earworm “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and was also the editor of the influential women’s magazine Godey’s Lady Book, lobbied for it to become an official holiday in her columns for more than 30 years, long before old Abe finally made it happen.
But during the Civil War in 1861, Hale wrote passionately about it and called for all Americans (including the ones who no longer wanted to be part of this country) to “put aside sectional feelings and local incidents” and celebrate in harmony — if only for one day — on Thanksgiving.
Lincoln, who began to realize the country needed this respite, granted her wish a couple of years later. And Thanksgiving has been celebrated ever since.
Though we aren’t in an all-out civil war (yet), our nation is about as divided as it has ever been, and much like our Thanksgiving Mama recognized, this day gives us a few hours to put aside our partisan differences, stay off social media and celebrate all we do indeed have to be thankful for. Yes, even for the barely sane people we are forced to eat turkey with, also known as our family.
And even though we love these lunatics (and even though MawMaw Shirley has pleaded for no one to talk about religion, politics, Uncle Larry’s divorce or speculate who the father of Cousin Lisa’s latest baby is), someone in the family is still going to start some sh*t, either maliciously or just by breathing and speaking.
But that’s OK. You just have to prepare to deal with their verbal excrement by being armed with an arsenal of holiday fun facts you can fire back to immediately shut them down.
Speaking of excrement, did you know you can tell the difference between male and female turkeys by examining their feces? It’s true. Male turkey turds are long and skinny. Female poo is coiled and clumpy.
If Uncle Joe tries to talk about impeachment, just change the subject to this delightful topic. If he continues by saying something like, “I’ll tell you who reminds me of a turkey turd, it’s (insert his most hated politician),” you interrupt and say, “But Uncle Joe, the reason the male’s poop is long and skinny is because it has to pass by his penis, which shapes it. So presumably the skinnier his poop, the bigger his ‘knob-bler’ is. Isn’t that nuts?”
You won’t hear another word about his thoughts on Ambassador Yovanovitch after launching this disgusting (yet admittedly fascinating) counterattack.
If you are in the unfortunate position of being the last unmarried, childless adult in the family and your Aunt Tootie starts grilling you on what you are looking for in a mate, before she determines you are “too picky” because you require more than a heartbeat and opposable thumbs, throw this out at her: “Did you know that the sweet potato is the official vegetable of North Carolina?”
Aunt Toot will suddenly get a faraway look in her eyes. And you know exactly why.
“Oh, I’m sorry Aunt Toot, I didn’t mean to bring that up. I know you haven’t been back to North Carolina since your last DUI arrest there. I really didn’t mean to make you feel uncomfortable.”
“Oh, that’s OK, dear,” she will say. “What were we talking about?”
“We were talking about Cousin Larry’s divorce, remember?”
“Oh, yes,” she will say. “Well no woman is going to put up with that kind of behavior. No way.”
“You are so right about that, Aunt Toot!”
You can use whatever state and/or fruit and/or misdemeanor and/or felony offense applies to your particular situation, as no one will be fact-checking you after statements that are designed to elicit pain and/or awkwardness. But the sweet tater truly is the official veggie of the Tar Heel State.
When the aforementioned Cousin Lisa, who has five children by at least four different daddies, but found Jesus somewhere along the way so she is super sanctimonious and preachy about everything, now tries to tell you how to raise your children, stop her and say, “Lisa, you’ll never guess how you much you and female turkeys have in common. You both like to mate with men who are much younger than you. And did you know male turkeys are polygamous? A single turkey will impregnate up to 10 female turkeys every mating season. Hell, that sounds like your first three husbands.”
Then just walk off.
Make sure to save this final “weapon” for the worst relative of all: Cousin Jessica, who is wearing her knee-high boots, a mini skirt and a turtleneck with a long fringy vest over it, even though it’s 85 degrees outside. And might I add, you are in the middle of nowhere at a hunting camp and everyone else in the entire family has on camouflage and/or Alabama and Auburn T-shirts. But, of course, not Jessica in her full makeup that is made from only the “cleanest ingredients” that are “meticulously screened.”
When she starts trying to sell you the latest sh*t she is peddling, while you are just trying to very innocently eat a piece of pumpkin pie and watch football in peace, interrupt her and say, “Jess, you know, you remind me so much of Dorcas Reilly, the woman who invented green bean casserole. Did you know Dorcas was also VERY successful, much like you, and she not only invented green bean casserole, but also the sloppy joe? And, get this, she is also credited with being the first-ever ‘multi-level marketer.’”
Jessica’s ears will perk up.
Then you will continue, “Yep, I think she sold some sort of oils or diet food or makeup – I can’t really remember. But I hear even though she didn’t have Facebook to ‘market’ to her high school friends that she hasn’t spoken to once in at least 30 years, she was still the number one salesperson. I think she got a car or something.”
“Oh, that’s great,” Jessica will say. “Well, if you would like some samples of my .… ”
“The sad thing about poor Dorcas though,” you will say before she can slather body lotion on you against your will, “she died all alone. One by one, for some reason none of her friends and family could tolerate being around her anymore. It really makes you wonder if all that ‘success’ was worth it, right?”
As Jessica processes this parable you just “customized” for her (Dorcas did indeed invent green bean casserole and sloppy joes, but the rest was “embellished”), walk over to your Uncle Joe and say, “Do you want to know why the female turkey’s poop is coiled?”
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! We are so thankful for our readers and hope you all have a wonderful, safe Thanksgiving with all of the lunatics in your family.
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