Friday, November 21, 2008

Birds Walking South

On the way to school each day, we cross an intersection with a Whataburger on one side, and Braums Ice Cream/Dairy and Kroger grocery on the other side. In between, on the telephone wires lining the road, lives a very large flock of … birds.
Today, they were not on the wires. They were in the median, and so were easier to notice.

For weeks now, mention has been made every morning that since it’s getting cold out, it’s time for the birds to fly south.

Today, mention became question, “Why are those birds still here? Why haven’t they flown south?”

Everyone in the car, of course, answered immediately. Several blocks later, with the din quieting down and ears still ringing, I got them to talk about it.

It seems there is no reason why those birds haven’t flown south yet.

However, if they don’t hurry up and get going, it will get too cold and they won’t be able to fly. Then they’ll have to walk their way south along the telephone wires.

November 21, 2008

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Sunday, November 9, 2008

Giving Thanks

We’ll do them this year like we did them last year, and the year before, and all the numerous other years even before that. It’s holiday time. We’ve already flown through Halloween. Next comes Thanksgiving, a day of giving thanks.

Rrrrrrrrrrrrrpp! (Did you hear that? It was the sound of a phonograph needle scratching the top of the record … that now famous sound that screams, “WHAT?!!”)

Did I say “a day of giving thanks?” Yes, I did.

Just what does that mean, “giving thanks?” I ask because the only thanks I’ve ever seen given on Thanksgiving would be from me and you, as we sit down to that feast we had to work so hard to pay for. Isn’t that why we always say our dinner prayers … because we’re thankful for the “bounty” we share? And isn’t that also why we invite all those relatives we may or may not hate to be around … because we are “thankful” for having them?

Rrrrrrrrrrrrrpp! (There it is again!)

So, it’s a day when I’m supposed to be thankful for my bounty and my relatives.

Rrrrrrrrrrrrrpp! (Man! That record is getting scratched pretty bad.)

Well, that’s what I was always taught way-back-when in grammar school when I had to draw those pictures of the Indians and Pilgrims having a feast. I was taught that it’s a time to celebrate those things we have to be thankful for. You know the story, the celebration of the bounty of food shared by the Pilgrims and the Indians. Everyone brought food and everyone brought a relative too.

Rrrrrrrrrrrrrpp! (Will somebody take that needle off?)

So then, does “a day of giving thanks” only apply to you and me, the ones who are having the feast?

I’m not sure it should.

I’m neither a Pilgrim, nor an Indian, so I can’t be thankful for being in the story … and I haven’t seen much bounty lately, so I can’t really be thankful for that either. And I think I already mentioned the issue of relatives. So what is it again, that I should be giving thanks for?

No, I’d say Thanksgiving is more a day when we have to give out extra money from our pocketbooks so that someone else can say, “Thanks for the extra profit!”

I think we’re all confused. We’re not the ones who should be giving thanks. We’re the ones who should be receiving it.

Rrrrrrrrrrrrrpp! (Please, would someone with long nails scratch the chalkboard?)

I ask you now, seriously … isn’t it time for the grocer, the grower, and the manufacturer to give some thanks too?

We’ve “given” thanks to them all year long, through every penny we’ve spent at the store. We’ve paid them for 3 meals a day for 364 days … that’s 1,092 meals, per person … and we haven’t even mentioned snacks yet. On top of that, we’ve “given” thanks to them through every extra penny we’ve spent each year on Thanksgiving feasting … and Christmas feasting too, for that matter.

Now, when you last went shopping, did the store’s greeter hand you a coupon? Did your Butterball Turkey come with a discount? Were your potatoes plumper? Were your Ocean Spray Cranberries reduced in price? Did Mrs. Smith hand out free pies? Did Cool Whip give you an extra dollop?

Or did you notice that prices went slightly higher instead?

Rrrrrrrrrrrrrpp! (Higher?)

Quite frankly, I think it’s time for you and I to have a turn at receiving on Thanksgiving. I think it’s time for the grocer, the grower, and the manufacturer to be thankful for our loyal business by giving us our Thanksgiving feast … for free!