Elizabeth Geris | T-minus seven months and counting to T-giving
It can’t be April already. My goodness, how the time flies! But here we are again, just seven months away from his big day, and this year I’m going to get it right. This year, I’m not going to wait until he is a roasted, golden, fragrant, delicious centerpiece of feast plopped on my table, completely unaware of how much I respect his finalizing sacrifice. No, this year, dear Tom Turkey, you’re going to bask in a shameless blather of gratitude right here, right now. Sit down and get comfortable. It’s going to be intolerably sappy.
Where do I start, Tom? Well, I guess I can begin with the obvious … thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for not being smart enough to run away like the wind from that turkey farm, but instead eventually allowing your proud, beautiful, plump, fluffy self to be crammed into those cages and hauled off for slaughter. Thank you for freezing so well, so that I may buy you weeks before the big day, usually hours after my most recent pay day (you are expensive, but worth every penny, of course). You thaw so safely and easily in my fridge, which allows me the time to plan the other delicious trimmings that, although pale in comparison beside you, are destined to fulfill their expectation of simply bringing out the brilliance of your flavor and texture. They know they will take a back seat, but when you are a boring potato plucked from the common ground, you know better than to peep out “shot gun” anyway.
Oh, dear Tom, I don’t want you to think, however, that I merely value your superficial qualities. No, that would be shallow, and the reverence that I hold for you reaches far deeper than your epicurean genius. At the risk of sounding nauseatingly sentimental, I must gush here, so please indulge me.
Tom, I want to thank you for being the ultimate symbol of human gratitude for what we have. Whenever those crude, cartoonish window pane stickers of your image start popping up in neighbors’ houses and businesses grand and small, people start to wax humble and grateful for their possessions – both tangible and not – and whine less about what they don’t have, or what they feel is being unjustifiably taken from them by the big, bad government or whatever. Come to think of it, you would also nary find a one of them standing in their neighborhood park shouting about their rights, their money, the Obamas’ pure-bred dog, or that nasty toe nail fungus that won’t go away despite their repeated visits to the podiatrist. Heck, they don’t even gripe about the co-pay required up-front at the podiatrist’s office; in fact, they may even reflect on how lucky they are to have employer-provided health insurance, or a job they can skip for the day to exercise their freedom of speech, for that matter.
Now, I don’t know if the declarations of humility, graciousness, and appreciation that fall so easily from the lips of folks around your Big Day on the Serving Tray are token or heartfelt. Really, I don’t question or judge. I’m just glad to hear less “me, me, me,” and more “I’m grateful for,” or “thank goodness I have,” or “thank you, (insert name of preferred higher power here) for everything good I have, and everything bad that I don’t have.”
Boy, am I relieved I had forethought enough to tell you this now, Tom, before whacking day is once again nigh. I want you to know that the loss of your life for our bellies is not in vain, nor is it merely for feasting. It’s a beautiful, delicious time to remind ourselves that we don’t have it so rough after all. Too bad the sentiment wears off the next day when we get up at 3:00am to head out to the mall and bludgeon fellow shoppers into a stupor in order to grab whatever “my kids, my kids, my kids” want for Christmas this year. Hey, you can’t win ‘em all, but you tragically know that already.
– Column by Elizabeth Geris