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“I have always believed that this anointed land was set apart in an uncommon way, that a divine plan placed this great continent here between the oceans to be found by people from every corner of the Earth who had a special love of faith and freedom. Our pioneers asked that He would work His will in our daily lives so America would be a land of morality, fairness, and freedom.”

— from Ronald Reagan’s Thanksgiving proclamation, Nov. 25, 1982.


Aboard the International Space Station — for six American, Japanese and Russian astronauts in orbit 260 miles above Earth — according to NASA:

“Irradiated smoked turkey with NASA’s own cornbread dressing, thermostabilized yams, rehydrated green beans, rehydrated home-style potatoes, cranberries, cherry-blueberry cobbler and the best view from any Thanksgiving table.”

At Plimouth Plantation, Plymouth, Mass: a 17th-century harvest dinner: “Cheate bread, sweet butter, sallet of herb, mussels seeth’d with parsley and beer, dish of turkey, sauc’d; pottage of cabbage, leeks and onions; sweet pudding of native corn, stewed pompion, chine of pork, roast’d; fricassee of fish, cheesecake with spice and dried fruit, charger of Holland cheese and fruit, ciderkin.” Incidentally, “cheate” is wheat, “pompion” is pumpkin and “chine” is a pork butt cut.


Family togetherness even at Thanksgiving can be tricky when the topic of national health care comes along. There are best practices afoot, apparently.

“If you’re a liberal and your uncle says something crazy about Obamacare? Do you try to correct him?” Luke O’Neil, an Esquire magazine contributor, asked former Maine senator and diplomatic envoy George Mitchell.

“It depends on the circumstances. Nobody likes to be embarrassed in front of a crowd. If I thought it was really egregiously wrong I would probably wait till later and privately, say ‘I just want to let you know I don’t think what you said is correct.’ There’s no need to upset a whole family dinner by pointing out errors publicly,” Mr. Mitchell replied.

“What if he goes berserk? Mr. O’Neil countered.

“The most important thing is to have patience and perseverance. Don’t respond in kind. If someone who is angry runs into someone who is calm, they tend to calm down. Don’t add any fuel to fire. It’s a little difficult when people have been drinking — so it’ll take a little bit of patience,” Mr. Mitchell said.

He later added, “I think you often can persuade people on a particular issue, despite political difference. It’s the same as conflict resolution. You have to identify what their self-interest is, and figure out a way to accommodate that. That’s the essence of negotiating, understand what the person’s real bottom line is, and try to accommodate it.”


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