Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pass (Or Throw) The Cranberry Sauce

Without going off the deep end, I gotta tell you that this famous Norman Rockwell painting -- like Thanksgiving itself -- leaves me feeling conflicted.

On the one hand, it brings back fond memories of when my family -- grandmothers, aunts, uncles and sundry nieces and nephews -- lived closed by and we would have big feasts like this one. In fact, the woman putting the turkey on the table looks a lot like Nana, my father's mother. (That's Rockwell himself in the lower left-hand corner.)

On the other hand, there is a bitter irony in the painting. Its title is "Freedom From Want" and is from Rockwell's famous Four Freedoms series, which also includes "Freedom of Speech," "Freedom of Every Person to Worship in His Own Way" and "Freedom From Fear."

Hallowed concepts all, but a little tattered, no?

When I was looking for an image to post, I found several with Pilgrim-Indian themes, but realized how hypocritical it would be to use any of them. The Pilgrims came to the New World to escape religious prosecution, made nice for about five minutes and then began the slaughter of Native Americans that continues today in more subtle ways.

Far be it from me to tell American visitors to Kiko's House how they should celebrate the holiday. Feel no guilt when you join millions of other people to shop at the mall this weekend or watch football. As it is, the DF&C and I try to keep it simple and view the holiday as a version of the harvest rituals practiced for millennia.

Just do me a favor: If someone tells you how proud they are to be an American this Thanksgiving, ask them if they support health-care reform. If they don't, have the cranberry sauce passed to you and throw it at them.

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Am I the only one of thinks that Helen Philpot is getting a little help with her wonderful posts over at Martha and Helen? I cannot imagine being able to write so seamlessly if I make it to age 84. No matter. Here's her 2009 Thanksgiving Letter to the Family. Like last year's, it's a hoot. Or a gobble-gobble.


Charles Amico said...

A very Happy Thanksgiving to you Shaun. Very much enjoy your posts throughout the year.

Shaun Mullen said...

Likewise. Best wishes to you and yours.