Monday, November 21, 2011

We, The People ~ Thanksgiving Edition

I am not the greatest fan of Thanksgiving. Oh, that’s not to say I don’t celebrate the day along with everyone else; I do.  I did all the usual T-day things: turkey, stuffing, potatoes, gravy. I made my own cranberry sauce, and the pumpkin and pecan pies. Yep, everything except that classic sweet potato marshmallow thing that my guys just hate.

The best of my kiddie Thanksgivings were the ones where my dad hustled us all to Lollipop Farm to get us out from underfoot. Thanksgiving could be what he called a 4-knuckler…which means the number of knuckles my mom could fit in her mouth to keep from hollering at us. If you were having 18 people to dinner in a space the size of a freight elevator, you'd be hollering, too!

The 'houses' at the Rodney
The salmon and his Zayde
After those, the best were at the Rodney on Collins Avenue in Miami Beach which started once we were all grown up and living our own lives. The whole family went…and I mean the WHOLE family. We would take a line of apartments and everyone would be in each other pots for five days or so. The uncles had the annual French Toast-off, there were endless games of Scrabble on the beach, the annual night at Dania Jai-Alai for all the "young" people. For T-day itself, every “house” housed a different course. We cooked like crazy, everybody making one specialty or another. (I did pies.) Siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, in-laws, out-laws, friends….everyone came; it was quite the crowd. Literally. Of course, my favorite year was that very first one. Unbeknownst to us, we carried back a little souvenir from that first Thanksgiving on the beach and a year later, when we all reconvened at the Rodney, it was with crib, car seat, bibs, diapers, and the joke that the salmon were swimming upstream.

These days, it’s just me and my father-in-law in the house, and I don’t feel much like doing a big Thanksgiving.  Thankfully, my machatunim* live close by, so we go there. It’s a lively table, the his 'n' hers nonagenarian grandpas get to visit and that’s always nice. We are lucky. We have a fine family with whom to hang. We all like each other, there’s no drama except for my grandpuppy’s whining when it’s time to sit down to the feast. The conversation rolls along at a good clip, the food is superb (the rolls are always spectacular because that’s my machutin’s* specialty), and there’s plenty of coffee, tea, and sweets to please everyone at table. 

But like I said, we’re lucky. Very lucky. Too many folks are facing Thanksgiving with uncertainty. Some are saying thanks for having a job, other for still having a job, and some because despite the economy and their circumstance, they still have a roof overhead. And some, without so much as a roof, may be saying thanks because on this day they have a hot meal.

Somewhere along the way We, the People stopped noticing how much we consumed and perhaps, more tellingly, where it all came from. We stopped manufacturing and started importing. We lost the sense of "made in America" and replaced it with "cheap." Our own insatiable demand for stuff fueled this economic bonfire until it raged out of control and now, when faced with a pile of smoldering ash, we want to blame someone else for the destruction.

In truth, we cannot. We own this sagging economy because we allowed it to sag. When we first noticed something was wrong, we did nothing to stop it. We shrugged our shoulders and watched movies like WALL STREET and OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY. We cheered Edward's redemption in PRETTY WOMAN, but we knew corporate raiders don't have sudden changes of heart. 

So as we give thanks, let’s also be thankful that we still have a voice and a vote. Now all we need is the will to use them.

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
If you're making pecan pie, 
try using grade B maple syrup for at least half the brown sugar.

Bonus vocabulary words: Yiddish is the only language with specific words to define the relationship between parents-in-law
                Machatunim: the parents of your child's spouse
                Machutin: your child's father-in-law
                Machatenista: your child' mother-in-law
[This is the gutteral CH as in Chutzpah...which is not pronounced shuts-pa like certain politicians think]


  1. Wonderful blog.happy thanksgiving.

  2. Oh. I remember Lollipop Farm. And Thanksgiving at your mother's house.

    Now a bit of linguistic nitpicking. Hebrew also has these words for in-laws. The Yiddish comes from the Hebrew. The word comes from חתן (chatan) groom. With the cases mechutan, mechutenet and mechutanim.


  3. Thanks for the correction, Perdie. I have always associated the words with Yiddish, not Hebrew. Must be the way I hear them in my head. I can see the shoresh - m'chatan etc, so I stand corrected. Of course, you know I'll have to seek retribution next week, right?

  4. Thank you susan and 'Stop BDS Park Slope.'

    I was entertained, heart warmed AND educated all in one !

  5. I always learn something from your blog... got to admit I really did not know you could farm lollipops. Is that verse in "Old MacDonald?" If not, perhaps we should add it -- "with a lick, lick here and a..."

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  6. Happy Thanksgiving One And All!


  7. You are the only other blogger I know who knows what " machetunim" means. Happy Thanksgiving to you and all miscellaneous relatives.

  8. Can't help it - I am THANKFUL fot your blog!