- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 24, 2010

THANKFUL THEN

“Being thus arived in a good harbor and brought safe to land, they fell upon their knees & blessed ye God of heaven, who had brought them over ye vast & furious ocean, and delivered them from all ye periles & miseries therof, againe to set their feete on ye firme and stable earth, their proper elemente.”

Thus wrote WIlliam Bradford, arriving in Cape Cod Bay on Nov. 9, 1620, after 65 days at sea aboard the Mayflower with 102 passengers. Bradford later became governor of Plymouth colony and included this account in “Of Plimouth Plantation” - a 270-page, vellum-bound volume measuring slightly larger than 11 by 7 inches. He continued to add to the historic record for the next 27 years.

Once the Pilgrims’ first corn harvest proved successful about a year after they landed, Gov. Bradford organized a celebratory feast with local Wampanoag tribe allies, which occurred somewhere between Sept. 21 and Nov. 11, 1621. When they are not trying to rewrite the event as a secular occurrence or “mythology,” many historians still squabble over the date, the menu and the early society itself. The prevailing sentiment cannot be altered, though. Gratitude was alive and well, and now living in America.

THANKFUL NOW

“Every Thanksgiving, we give thanks to God for all the blessings we have. And there are no people in the world that should be more grateful than the American people,” says Sen.-elect Marco Rubio, Florida Republican. “What we’ve had for over 200 years is unparalleled in human history - a free and prosperous society where generation after generation has been able to leave the next better off. We’re thankful for the blessings of our country, and we’re also cognizant of the responsibilities that come with those blessings.”

Mr. Rubio continues, “On this Thanksgiving holiday, let’s take a moment to reflect and remember how special a country we share, how exceptional it is in human history and how important it is we secure it for the next generation of Americans.”

ALSO THANKFUL

“In confronting the challenges of our day, we must draw strength from the resolve of previous generations who faced their own struggles and take comfort in knowing a brighter day has always dawned on our great land. As we stand at the close of one year and look to the promise of the next, we lift up our hearts in gratitude to God for our many blessings, for one another, and for our Nation. … As Americans gather for the time-honored Thanksgiving Day meal, let us rejoice in the abundance that graces our tables, in the simple gifts that mark our days, in the loved ones who enrich our lives, and in the gifts of a gracious God. Let us recall that our forebears met their challenges with hope and an unfailing spirit, and let us resolve to do the same “

From President Obama’s 2010 Thanksgiving Day proclamation.

ASTROTHANKS

He is not exactly just over the river and through the woods. Try 220 miles above Earth, and grateful to be American.

“Happy Thanksgiving. I am thankful to be a crew member on the International Space Station, an amazing vehicle. And I am thankful, and I feel privileged to have been born in a country that could be a major contributor to something as magnificent as this station,” says astronaut Scott Kelly, a former F-18 pilot and U.S. Navy captain - now a NASA engineer aboard the 827,794-pound, football-field-sized space station, which has now clocked 1.7 billion miles on its odometer after a decade in space.

NASA, incidentally, is inviting the public to send holiday greetings to the astronauts and cosmonauts aboard the space station. To send a personalized message to the crew, visit: www.nasa.gov/externalflash/postcard.

DINNER ELSEWHERE

“A sallet of herbs; mussels seethed with parsley & beer; a dish of turkey, sauced; a pottage of cabbage, leeks & onions; a sweet pudding of native corn; stewed pompion (pumpkin); A chine of pork, roasted; fricassee of fish; 17th century cheesecake; a charger of Holland cheese & fruit; ciderkin and cheate bread & butter.”

Before you tuck into that 22-pound Butterball, behold the 17th-century-style Thanksgiving dinner, served Thursday to visitors at the Henry Hornblower II Visitor Center at Plimouth Plantation, near Plymouth, Mass., and hosted by “Native Wampanoag and Colonial Pilgrim interpreters.” Oh, the price? $88 per adult, $65 per child.

A 21st-century-style Thanksgiving buffet is also being served for those who might fear the likes of pompion, and maybe the chine.

AT THE TABLE

“Caveman behavioral traits might kick in at Thanksgiving table before eating”

Title of a study released Tuesday by the McGill University Department of Psychology.

HOLIDAZE

Holiday season? What holiday season? If you’re still clinging to your desk while others revel in domestic bliss or vacation relaxation, you’re not alone. A survey of 1,000 senior managers nationwide finds that almost a third of them do not plan to take any time off between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. A quarter will take “one or two days” while 19 percent will allow themselves three days. A paltry 8 percent allow themselves a week. The findings are from Office Team, a staffing service that cautions those who do choose to vacate their office to at least “have a re-entry plan.”

POLL DU JOUR

- 16 pounds: Average weight of the typical Thanksgiving turkey.

- 736 million pounds: Amount of turkey Americans eat on Thanksgiving.

- 46 million: Number of turkeys eaten in the U.S. on Thanksgiving.

- 226 million: Number of turkeys eaten annually in the U.S.

- 17 pounds: Amount of turkey the typical American eats each year.

- 247 million: Number of turkeys raised in the U.S. in 2010.

- $3.5 billion: Annual farm income from “turkey production.”

A “respectable bird.” (Benjamin Franklin’s description of the turkey).

Source: The National Turkey Federation

Happy Thanksgiving to all from Inside the Beltway. Gobbledeegook and prim observances to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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