This tradition began with our first President, George Washington, and continues to this day. Eventually, the date was set at the fourth Thursday of November. Every year, the day before remains the worst day to travel anywhere on the Easter seaboard.
The aforementioned origin of the feast is, of course, the official mainstream American (that is, Protestant) line.
The fact is that the idea of a day for giving thanks in America is (naturally) a Catholic one. It was brought to the New World by the Spaniards, more than half a century before those Protestant upstarts farther north along the coast.
Robyn Gioia was a fifth-grade teacher from St Augustine, Florida. A few years ago, she published a book, America's REAL First Thanksgiving.
What does REAL mean? Well, she's not talking turkey and cranberry sauce. She's talking a Spanish explorer who landed here on Sept. 8, 1565, and celebrated a feast of thanksgiving with Timucua Indians. They dined on bean soup ...
The article is worth reading, and worthy of reflection for those who underestimate the Catholic heritage in what is now the USA. It might be one more positive by-product of a growing Latino population, that the birthday of Our Lady was the true inspiration that we would have reason to give thanks.
It's been easier these days. As this is written, Paul is in the living room, sleeping on the couch, having caught the early morning flight out of Atlanta for BWI. Following the usual rapid-fire debate over what's wrong with the world, he needed to rest up before tending bar tonight. He'll make more in tips for three nights in DC, than he would for ten nights in Atlanta. He knows where the money is.
At Nordstrom, we won't be decking our halls until Friday, November 23rd. Why? Well, we just like the idea of celebrating one holiday at a time. From our family to yours,
Nordstrom will be closed Thanksgiving Day. On Friday, our doors will open to welcome the new season.
And so, later today, we'll head out to the western hinterlands of suburban Virginia to a friend's house, and from there, after dropping Paul off at the subway, proceed to her family's place. A vast table will be spread, and I won't understand a word most of them are saying -- but more than they think I know. You got that right, pare!
I could do worse. I already have. Here's hoping for you, dear reader, in spite of everything, to have reason for giving thanks.