Wishing you the happiest of Thanksgivings as this four day time of celebration continues to unfold here in the U.S.
With the gathering of family and friends, it is a great time for sharing stories and reminiscences.
“I don’t know whether you can look at your past and find, woven like the hidden symbols on a treasure map, the path that will point to your final destination.” Jodi Picoult
Thanksgiving is a great time for this type of reflection. This exercise led to these topical prompts about joyful moments to be thankful for and share. A few of you have received messages to help me fact-check (certainly out of style in many areas) some of those happenings and dates. Here are a few I hope you will enjoy. And, thanks to our evolved technologies some can be shown as well as told. For me, these make the memories even more precious. A discovery of the past several years is that not everyone has experienced what we have. Sometimes we don’t share because we think the stories been told and are already known. Anyway if I was to distill the lesson, it would go like this. Nobody knows what you know. You are a special imprint on the universe!
Oh! The prompts. Travel, movies, brushstroke artists, music, football, food, and the uniqueness of timing. The thread here is my very personal relationship with Thanksgiving. They are shared chronologically.
Freedom From Want – 1943
Freedom from Want, also known as The Thanksgiving Picture or I’ll Be Home for Christmas, is the third of the Four Freedoms series of four oil paintings by American artist Norman Rockwell. The works were inspired by United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1941 State of the Union Address, known as Four Freedoms.
Timing of Things – 1947
Thanksgiving Day and November 27th coincided in 1947. It happens occasionally but not often. At about four in the afternoon I left the warmth of Marge’s womb to the bewildering lights of the world. Seventeen days earlier President Harry S Truman issued Proclamation 2756 which designates the fourth Thursday in November of each year as Thanksgiving Day. “I proclaim Thursday, November 27, 1947, as a day of national thanksgiving; and I call upon the people of the United States of every faith to consecrate that day to thoughts of gratitude, acts of devotion, and a firm resolve to assist in the efforts being made by religious groups and other bodies to aid the undernourished, the sick, the aged, and all sufferers in war-devastated lands.”
Alice’s Restaurant – 1967
“Alice’s Restaurant Massacree” is a song by singer-songwriter Arlo Guthrie, released the title track to his 1967 debut album Alice’s Restaurant. It is notable as a satirical, first-person account of 1960s counterculture, in addition to being a hit song in its own right and an inspiration for the 1969 film, also named Alice’s Restaurant.
Macy’s Parade and the Russian Tea Room – 1986
Thanks to my sister, Carla, we had extraordinary accommodations at the Essex House for the long Thanksgiving weekend. Pam and my traveling companions were Bob and Cate Miller and we had agreed to meet at the Russian Tea Room for lunch after the morning’s parade. It was a blustery day with clear skies, perfect for the parade. The Tea Room was like stepping into a Faberge egg and we ordered a decadent bottle of champagne at the bar while waiting for our friend’s arrival. The maître d’ took me aside as we were sharing hugs to inform me that he couldn’t seat us because the dress code didn’t allow blue jeans. Now Cate and Bob, both in their designer jeans, looked straight out of Hollywood and all I could picture was Woody Allen (his favorite haunt at the time) in his crumpled corduroys and tweeds. We finished our champagne over laughs and taxied down to Washington Square to a place Bob had on his list. We were welcomed like celebrities and the afternoon buzzed on.
David’s Turkey – 1987
Two decades of mentoring between Chappaqua and Bermuda by my gourmet Uncle Walt and Craig Claiborne’s New York Times Cookbook resulted in a quintessential basted bird not without some creative touches of my own. What evolved was the year-changing Thanksgiving soup; its accompaniment the turkey and caviar sandwich.
Scent of a Woman – 1992
Perhaps my favorite movie set over the Thanksgiving holiday in an around New York. Pacino won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance and the film was nominated for Best Director, Best Picture and Best Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published. The film won three major awards at the Golden Globe Awards: Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor, and Best Motion Picture – Drama. The movie cascades from one poignant vignette to the next leading to the climactic speech and a lesson for the ages.
Florida/Florida State Football – 1994
My father and I had a special and dynamic relationship. Dad’s Memorial 2.6.05 For most of the 90s, we spent the long weekend at his home in Naples. Our daily golf matches were something to behold. They were adorned with a competitiveness and all the joy and garbage a father and son can bring to the field of play. Thanksgiving day his wife, Betty, and I would cook and sometimes my two sisters were there. During some of those halcyon years, Bowden and Spurrier led two great football teams. The 1994 game defied all odds.
I hope some of these episodes inspire your own reflection and storytelling. Beyond the experiences themselves, I am grateful that our evolved technologies enable this level of sharing.