FURTHERMORE AND SKIP GIVE THANKS
Brothers All: A time of Thanksgiving isn't limited by national boundaries,
so Furthermore and I take this moment to share some thoughts on the holiday
as it is celebrated in the U.S. And we thank you for your patience....Skip
THANKS, MY BROTHERS...
Furthermore, my Masonic pet raven brother, and I recently returned from a
very quick visit to the wicked city of New York. All Westerners know it has
to be wicked because it’s located east of the Mississippi River, so it just
naturally follows. As I think I’ve mentioned before, I don’t usually take
Furthermore on business trips but this time he insisted. Said he hadn’t
been to New York in a while. Wanted to know if they were still speaking
So we went. I don’t think he was impressed. We walked around Times Square
and up Broadway one evening. I thought we might try to go to a show. Well,
you can just imagine how Furthermore felt about attending shows with names
like “Cats” and “Lion King!” He is not fond of cats, even a little bit. He
did enjoy the taxi rides, pointing out—and correctly I believe—that New
Yorkers would be unable to drive if you disconnected their horns.
Anyway, we’re home now and we got into a discussion of the American
celebration of Thanksgiving last night. Furthermore was settled comfortably
atop the large skull he calls home when I stopped by. He was beaking through
a calendar and muttering around his cigar when I entered the old lab
chamber, one heartbeat ahead of the hydra’s third and fourth heads.
“You certainly have enough holidays,” he observed, tapping a claw on the
month of November.
“Only if you work for the government,” I responded, boxing the hydra’s ears
with a blackjack containing 75 dollars in old silver coins. “The rest of us
could use a few more.”
“Halloween I can understand,” he continued, paying little attention to me.
“What a glorious holiday that used to be in the old days.” He sighed. Of
course, for Furthermore, the “old days” are located somewhere between the
Salem Witch Trials and the heyday of the Inquisition. “And Labor Day. That’s
a day on which you don’t labor, right? Really, the rest of these make very
little sense. What’s this Thanksgiving, anyway?”
I sensed an opportunity here to share one of America’s most meaningful
holidays with Furthermore, so I settled down in front of the great stone
fireplace and began an expansive and remarkably intelligent discussion about
the Pilgrims or Separatists as they are more correctly known.
And Furthermore was clearly bored. It’s easy to tell with birds, you know?
So I began explain about parades and football games and turkey dinners. When
I reached the part about the traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner,
Furthermore shot straight up to the smoke-stained rafters with a screech
that could wake the dead. And probably has on more than one occasion.
It seems that he took immediate exception to a holiday that centered around
eating a bird. With a snort of disgust, he flew off to find the hydra and
some of the Things he calls friends, there to discuss the identity of the
real turkeys of the season.
I was left alone with thoughts of Thanksgiving, truly my favorite holiday.
One reason I enjoy it so much is the varied history it carries. You already
know the basic Pilgrim tale. We here in the American West have our own
special contributions, however. For example, the idea that certain sporting
events should be part of the holiday probably had its origin in Tucson,
Arizona. It started with horse races and baseball games. On Thanksgiving
Day, 1879, for example, two baseball teams sponsored by the two local
newspapers went at each other. The Citizen’s team beat the Star’s team, 31
to 30. Clearly a pitching battle. By 1899, football was the main
attraction--as it is today. That was the year Tempe Normal School (now
Arizona State University) trounced the University of Arizona 11 to 2.
As much as I love the history of Thanksgiving and the ways in which we’ve
celebrated it as a nation (I’m a big fan of parades which is another story
entirely), there is another reason the holiday appeals to me. It is a time
for me to stop for a moment and spend a day with my family and friends,
wrapped in memories of other times, other places, certain that for this one
day, at least, my world is right. When I offer up a small prayer of
thanksgiving for all that has been a part of my life, I say a few special
words of thanks for my friends. And because I number you and all the
Brothers of our Craft among them, I send you these words with
the hope you will have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, full of warm
memories and all the blessings of the Great Architect of the Universe.
And, out of respect for Furthermore, I may even switch to ham this year. On
the other hand, who knows what he eats?