In 1621 the thanksgiving feast that the pilgrims had with the natives lasted three days. Can you imagine if today’s celebration of Thanksgiving lasted three days? Three long days with the dysfunctional family with who currently, in order to visit, a prescription of Valium must be involved. I mean I’m sure the Indians had some sort of corn whiskey on hand, but whiskey be damned…Jack Daniels alone isn’t enough to get you through the Thanksgiving dinner now and days. I’m sure that three days seated around a table with those pretentious, European pilgrims eating themselves to gluttony and all drunk on moonshine was what drove the Native Americans to discover opium and the peace pipe. I imagine that at the very least, by the middle of the second day they were desperate and tried to discover any medicinal elements that a cornhusk may have had. In my mind, by the third day of the feast those natives were sitting around toking on dried leaves and corn silk and making fun of the black and white outfits the pilgrims were wearing. And you know those hats with the buckles on them were the butt of more than one joke.
Think about the Thanksgiving celebrations of your past and how just the one day was one of the longest of your life each year. Remember, you were a kid who had to be dressed up in itchy clothes just to eat a lunch from a buffet, that every other day of the year serves as the kitchen countertop of your mother’s kitchen, on a Chinet paper plate at a kid’s table in the living room instead of the dining room table where all of the interesting topics were being discussed. After lunch you only got a piece of pecan pie if your hypoglycemic grandfather had been stopped in time before stealing and scarfing it down in his bedroom while he was pretending to take a nap. After the meal was done you were stuck letting the destructive cousins play with all of your toys as they were guests in your home for the day. They mixed up the Play-Doh colors, showed very little respect for the intricacies of the tinker toys and flat out abused your toy Smurf collection.
As a teenager, your responsibilities to be sure the day was indeed a successful feast increased. There was no sleeping in late even though you didn’t have any school and it was a Thursday, because your mom needed you to get up and begin slicing and dicing the onions and peppers for her famous cornbread dressing. The turkey had to be basted every hour on the hour. And the house had to be made spotless and festive for all of the Mississippi relatives who had traveled all morning in their Lincolns and Buicks with a box of wine between the seats and a various assortment of cakes and pies and the broccoli and cheese casserole in the trunks.
Then, those four Thanksgivings celebrated while you were in college were really no different. Even though that now you were technically an adult, making most decisions on your own and having to clean up your own messes from bad decisions, you still stood a chance of having to take a seat at the kid’s table. You still had to get up early in the mornings and begin preparing the delicacies of the day for all of the misfit relatives. But at least these years you were able to cope with the help of Mr. Jack Daniels. Yes, at this age you had discovered the fine gentlemen while you were studying at the University. Jack Daniels has been a guest at Thanksgiving dinner ever since. By the time they sit your grown, packer ass in the vinyl chair at the kid’s table you don’t really care because you have the nice warm glow inside that not only makes Aunt Nancy’s dried turkey go down better, it helps you endure the “Do you have a boyfriend?” talk and “ohhh…you cut your hair short, that’s…ummm….cute.” Ahhh yes, Mr. Jack Daniels is still the man in my life at any and all family holiday celebrations.
Thank god that somewhere along the years following the first three-day feast between the pilgrims and the natives that somebody said, “This three day festival sucks. I hate to eat and leave, but I need to rest up because the Mercantile is having a big sale tomorrow.” Not that I don’t love my extended family, but it’s hard to keep a three day drunk going without it becoming obvious or me making an ass out of myself. I guess I’m thankful this year for the same thing I’ve always been thankful for…I’m thankful that our feast only lasts one day…and that I live in the state where Jack Daniels is produced.Live and Love Equally…Happy Thanksgiving!