Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

A Bird in the Roaster…


…is worth two in the store. (G. Dalrymple, 2016)

Can you smell it yet? At least in your imagination? The scent of the turkey as it roasts away, stuffed with dressing? The skin turning a delightful golden brown, dripping with juice, filling the entire house with the glorious odor of Thanksgiving!

Do you have your bird already? If not, you should probably rush out and get it or you might be stuck with eating something like this bird in today’s photo. This egret was sitting on top of a piling as the boat that took us out to Fort Sumter was returning to the dock next to the USS Yorktown in Mt. Pleasant, across from Charleston. He seemed to be quite content to just sit there and watch the boat pass him by, though his eyes made me think maybe he was ticked off about something. Maybe he knows he’s to scrawny to be threatened by humans thinking of Thanksgiving dinner!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1783, John Hanson, the first president of the Continental Congress under the Articles of Confederation, died in his home state of Maryland. Hanson is sometimes called the first president of the United States, but this is a misnomer, since the presidency did not exist as an executive position separate from Congress until the federal Constitution created the role upon its ratification in 1789.

Hanson was the self-educated son of Charles County, Maryland, farmers. His family had lived in Maryland for three generations beginning with the emigration from England of his grandfather, for whom he was named. At age 25, John married 16-year-old Jane Contee in Maryland (uh, this wouldn’t go over too well today, but back then, I gather, it wasn’t all that uncommon.) Their lasting union produced nine children, five of whom survived to adulthood, although their son Peter was later killed in action as a Continental soldier at Fort Washington, New York, in November 1776.

Hanson’s political career began in 1757 with his election to the Maryland Colonial Assembly. He returned to represent Charles County again from 1758-1763, 1765, 1766 and 1768-1769. As colonial-British relations frayed, Hanson took a seat in the revolutionary Annapolis Convention, which took control of the colony from the British in 1774 and renamed itself the Assembly of Freemen in 1776. An outspoken supporter of the Patriot cause, Hanson was instrumental in Maryland’s decision to back the rebels laying siege to British-controlled Boston in the aftermath of the battles of Lexington and Concord.

Named a delegate to the Continental Congress in 1779, Hanson served in that body from 1780 to 1782, including a term as the president of Congress (a position similar to that of prime minister in the British Parliament) from 1781 to 1782, during which time the Articles of Confederation were finally ratified and General George Washington defeated the British army at Yorktown, Virginia. Upon the ratification of the Articles on March 1, 1781, the Continental Congress became the “Congress of the Confederation” or the “United States in Congress Assembled.” Hanson was the first president of that body, but not of the United States.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: Geovanny Escalante, a Costa Rican saxophonist for the band Marfil, broke Kenny G’s world record for holding a single saxophone note in 1998. He held the note for 90 minutes and 45 seconds, nearly doubling Kenny G’s time.

For Your Thanksgiving Preparations…


I think that Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday. I remember as a young boy that lived on the farm in Iowa how we would go to my grandparent’s home (also on a farm) on Thanksgiving for dinner. The weather in Iowa then was usually pretty cool so we’d dress in a warm coat, hop in the car, and my dad would drive us the 15 miles or so to my maternal grandparents (my paternal grandparents were both gone by the time I was born).

We’d get out of the car and grandpa’s big black dog, Midnight, would come to greet us and we’d walk up the sidewalk to their farmhouse (that always seemed so big and scary to me!) and enter through the back porch. The porch, though enclosed, was still pretty cold, but once you walked through the door into the kitchen – oh, my! – the warmth of the house and the smell of the turkey being roasted made the world a wonderful place! I shall never forget those sensations and smells as long as I live. They made an impression on me that made me love this holiday from my earliest years!

Not being a woman, I don’t do a lot of the cooking (and you really wouldn’t want me to because the little bit of cooking I do never seems to turn out that well!) but I do my share of eating. So I have a deep appreciation for those who prepare meals for others – and I hope we’ll give thanks for those people this week!

When we were in Charleston, we went aboard the aircraft carrier (retired) USS Yorktown. As we wandered through the canyons and crevices of the great ship, we came to the mess hall. Stuck up on the wall was a recipe for how to make 10000 chocolate chip cookies (when you have several thousand people on board, you have to make a lot of cookies for everyone to get even two each!)

Knowing that you might be making cookies this week and feeding a mass of people at your home, I thought you might appreciate having this recipe. Oh, and if you’re not planning to feed 10,000, you can reduce it by a factor of 10 and send me any left-over cookies you have. But please, if you’re making chocolate chips cookies for me, know that I love having walnuts in my chocolate chip cookies!  Yum!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1923, the U.S. Patent Office granted Patent No. 1,475,074 to 46-year-old inventor and newspaperman Garrett Morgan for his three-position traffic signal. Though Morgan’s was not the first traffic signal (that one had been installed in London in 1868), it was an important innovation nonetheless: By having a third position besides just “Stop” and “Go,” it regulated crossing vehicles more safely than earlier signals had.

Morgan, the child of two former slaves, was born in Kentucky in 1877. When he was just 14 years old, he moved north to Ohio to look for a job. First he worked as a handyman in Cincinnati; next he moved to Cleveland, where he worked as a sewing-machine repairman. In 1907, he opened his own repair shop, and in 1909 he added a garment shop to his operation. The business was an enormous success, and by 1920 Morgan had made enough money to start a newspaper, the Cleveland Call, which became one of the most important black newspapers in the nation.

Morgan was prosperous enough to have a car at a time when the streets were crowded with all manner of vehicles: Bicycles, horse-drawn delivery wagons, streetcars and pedestrians all shared downtown Cleveland’s narrow streets and clogged its intersections. There were manually operated traffic signals where major streets crossed one another, but they were not all that effective: Because they switched back and forth between Stop and Go with no interval in between, drivers had no time to react when the command changed. This led to many collisions between vehicles that both had the right of way when they entered the intersection. As the story goes, when Morgan witnessed an especially spectacular accident at an ostensibly regulated corner, he had an idea: If he designed an automated signal with an interim “warning” position—the ancestor of today’s yellow light—drivers would have time to clear the intersection before crossing traffic entered it.

The signal Morgan patented was a T-shaped pole with three settings. At night, when traffic was light, it could be set at half-mast (like a blinking yellow light today), warning drivers to proceed carefully through the intersection. He sold the rights to his invention to General Electric for $40,000.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: Aristotle’s famous division between Greek and Barbarian was not based on race, but on those who organized themselves into community city-states and those who did not. The ancient Romans categorized people not on biological race or skin color, but on differing legal structures upon which they organized their lives.

Getting Ready

Belly stuffed, feeling so full I can hardly inhale.  You, too?

What a bounty we enjoy!!!  So much to celebrate!!!

A day to be surrounded by joy, thanksgiving and love.  It doesn’t get any better.

A picture of the preparations today….hope your day was even half as wonderful as ours!

_MG_7829ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1979 a New Zealander sightseeing plane traveling over Antarctica crashes, killing all 257 people on board on this day. It was the worst airplane accident in New Zealand’s history.

During the 1970s, air travel to Antarctica became more popular, as tourists sought to view the isolated and mysterious continent at the bottom of the world firsthand. Day-long excursions from New Zealand gave people tremendous views of the Ross Ice Shelf. However, the trips did pose a danger, as flights to Antarctica can be problematic.

The vast ice plains provide virtually no visual reference points for pilots and magnetic compasses are useless so close to the South Pole. The McDonnell Douglas DC-10 that carried 257 people to Antarctica on November 28 was piloted by five officers who had no experience flying to the icy continent. To make matters even worse, the data entered into the flight profile was wrong. When this same data had been used on prior flights, no problems had been encountered because visibility was good. The poor visibility on November 28, though, led to a fatal pilot error.

As the plane headed over the Ross Ice Shelf, the pilot descended below the clouds to give the passengers a better view. The pilot was supposed to stay above 6,000 feet at all times, but went down to 1,500 feet due to the overcast skies. Because of the wrong data on the flight profile, the pilot didn’t know that his descent came right as the plane reached Mount Erebus, a 12,444-foot volcano. The plane crashed into the side of the mountain at 300 miles per hour. There were no survivors.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  Jaguar images and costumes were outlawed by the Catholic church in the seventeenth century because of their association with Indian religion, militia, and politics.

I’m Thankful

Thanksgiving is just a few ticks of the clock away in the great cosmic scheme of things.  I love this holiday more than any other.  There is a feeling of warmth and love borne from my childhood and carried throughout all these years that I associate with Thanksgiving.  The smells from my grandmother’s kitchen, the nip in the Iowa air as winter was just around the corner, the warmth of the house and the sense of well-being are all wonderful possessions I bear with me each year to this day.

I’m thankful.  I’m thankful for a wife who loves me and who I love.  I’m thankful for children grown straight and tall in all ways.  I’m thankful for grandchildren who are stretching for the sky and who are filled with creativity and dreams and light.  I’m thankful for another year of life – something many can’t celebrate this day.  I’m grateful for my relatively good health and the apparent good health of those I love and cherish.

I am thankful for music and ears that can hear and get caught up in the wonder of it.  I am thankful for peace in my heart and soul.  I am thankful for the sound of birds and of trickling streams and the touch of the soft breeze on my skin.  I am thankful for joy and for the capacity to delight in things.

I am thankful for beauty and what it does to my soul.  I’m grateful for colors and for eyes that can see and distinguish between so many beautiful tints and shades of color.  I’m grateful for the wag of a dog’s tail that greets me and the weight of the dog pressing against my back at night as I sleep in bed.

I’m grateful for a roof and warm place that is dry in spite of rain or snow outside.  I’m grateful for the friends I’ve reconnected with from my high school (and in some cases, pre-high school) years and for all the memories we share.  I’m thankful for friendship that span the decades.  I’m thankful for friends I’ve yet to meet.

I’m thankful for simple things like technology that let a camera capture a memory, freeze time, confront or comfort us with the images it sees.

I’m thankful for you all.  Happy Thanksgiving to all of you….and I hope you will give your thanks tomorrow for all we have and all we experience and all we enjoy.  Take time to thank Him not only for what He has given us, but for giving us the ability to enjoy it!

_MG_7648ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1868, without bothering to identify the village or do any reconnaissance, Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer led an early morning attack on a band of peaceful Cheyenne living with Chief Black Kettle.

Convicted of desertion and mistreatment of soldiers earlier in 1868, Custer had been suspended for one year.  Ten months later, in September 1868, Civil War General Philip Sheridan reinstated Custer to lead a campaign against Cheyenne Indians who had been making raids in Kansas and Oklahoma that summer. Sheridan was frustrated by the inability of his other officers to find and engage the enemy, and despite his poor record and unpopularity with the men of the 7th Cavalry, Custer was a good fighter.

Sheridan decided a winter campaign might prove more effective, since the Indians could be caught off guard while in their permanent camps. On November 26, Custer located a large village of Cheyenne encamped near the Washita River, just outside of present-day Cheyenne, Oklahoma. Custer did not attempt to identify which group of Cheyenne was in the village, or to make even a cursory reconnaissance of the situation. Had he done so, Custer would have discovered that they were peaceful people and the village was on reservation soil, where the commander of Fort Cobb had guaranteed them safety. There was even a white flag flying from one of the main dwellings, indicating that the tribe was actively avoiding conflict.

Having surrounded the village the night before, at dawn Custer called for the regimental band to play “Garry Owen,” which signaled four columns of soldiers to charge the sleeping village. Outnumbered and caught unaware, scores of Cheyenne were killed in the first 15 minutes of the “battle,” though a small number of the warriors managed to escape to the trees and return fire. Within a few hours, the village was destroyed–the soldiers had killed 103 Cheyenne, including the peaceful Black Kettle and many women and children.

Hailed as the first substantial American victory in the Indian wars, the Battle of the Washita helped to restore Custer’s reputation and succeeded in persuading many Cheyenne to move to the reservation. However, Custer’s habit of boldly charging Indian encampments of unknown strength would eventually lead him to his death at the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  Baskin-Robbins introduced the flavor “Lunar Cheesecake” to commemorate America’s landing on the moon on July 20, 1969.


Lookin’ for a Snack

OK…I don’t know about you, but I’m still stuffed from Thanksgiving, I think.  I mean, I’ve not been very hungry ever since Thanksgiving dinner.  Laurel makes a great Thanksgiving dinner!!!  I am fortunate to be married to a woman who’s such a good cook…and I love her cooking.

Lots of people have been cruisin’ around looking for snacks since Thanksgiving.  They’ll sneak into the fridge and grab a bit of turkey, some cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, or whatever else they can find and that is convenient.

Today’s photo is from 2008 when we went to Orlando, Florida, for a vacation.  While we were there, we took an air-boat ride on a backwater lake in central Florida to look for alligators.  We saw plenty!!!  There were times when they would swim underneath the boat and you could see them, powered by their huge and dangerous tails.

Here’s a cute story for you: my next-to-youngest granddaughter, is very much a running, tumbling, active little girl.  She’s a tom-boy, I guess, if you can be such at 3 years of age.  As a result, she’s always getting banged up, scratched and bruised.  When my son asks her how she got this scratch or that scratch, she replies, “I think an alligator bit me!”  If that is indeed the truth, during a one-week period, my son reports that she must have been bitten by alligators at least three times!!!  Now that’s scary!!!!

So, why the picture today of an alligator?  Simply because they were always cruisin’, lookin’ for a snack, like many of you since Thanksgiving day!  But, a word of warning: if you see this fellow between you and the fridge, I suggest you yield the right of way and let him be served first!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1975, Ross McWhirter, co-editor and compiler of the Guiness Book of World Records, was shot to death while at home by Irish Republican Army (IRA) gunmen.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: the horned lizard of the American southwest may squirt a small stream of blood from the corners of its eyes when it is frightened or threatened.


Signs of the Season

Fall as finally arrived in the wine country…for sure.  There was frost all over the truck this morning, and they are saying it might get below 30 tonight.  I know for many of you that’s not very cold, but it doesn’t get much cooler than that here…ever.  On rare occasions, it may get into the 20’s, but only for a few nights.

Of course, Halloween is just past and hot on its heels will arrive Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  November is my second favorite month after October, so I will be enchanted all month with the seasonal change.

Today’s photo is a blend of man-made and God-made wonders.  The man-made wonders are Snickers, Baby Ruth and Butterfinger candy bars, though I must say that Butterfinger really isn’t in the same class as the Snickers and Baby Ruth!  And then, of course, Three Musketeers and Milky Ways don’t even appear on my radar!!!!

The God-made wonders I picked up off the ground outside of our daughter’s place.  There were so many bright, vivid colored leaves that I just couldn’t resist picking out some and bringing them home where I staged them on a white background with the candy bars and berries.

Now, I think it is time to eat the Snickers and Baby Ruth.  If any of you want the Butterfinger…you’re welcome to it!

A mix of seasonal signs for October and November

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1922, archaeologist Howard Carter found the first signs of the burial tomb of an ancient pharaoh.  Of course, it turned out to be the archaeological find of all time: that of the young pharaoh, Tutankhamen.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: when female wasps return to the hive after foraging, they engage in a strange practice called “male-stuffing” which consists of taking the males and stuffing them head-first into empty nest cells.  Scientists think this behavior helps to contribute to the colony’s health by providing more food for the developing larvae (they eat the males!)  Now, aren’t you glad that you’re not a male wasp!

You, Turkey!

I think that it is quite possible that my wife is one of the finest cooks I know.  I’ve not found anything that she cooks that I don’t like – well, that’s almost true.  She likes pesto and I don’t, so when she makes something with pesto, I’ll usually eat a TV dinner!  (I like Stouffer’s lasagna frozen dinners!!!!)

Yesterday, she wanted to do ALL the cooking for Thanksgiving.  We weren’t sure how many people would be at our house for the big day of giving thanks, so she bought a 22-pound turkey!  She said that, next to me, it was the biggest turkey she’s ever had in the house.  (Not really – but I suspect that she must have thought about it but chose not to say anything!)

I didn’t post yesterday because after eating a bunch of said bird, I was too full of tryptophan to do much of anything except veg.  So, today you get a shot of the turkey hot out of the oven before yours truly butchered it (oops – I think that call it, “carving the turkey”, not butchering!)  One of the reasons she wanted such a big turkey (again, not me…the one she cooked yesterday!) was she likes lots of leftovers so she doesn’t have to cook for a while after Thanksgiving.

To the grand turkey who was totally invested in our Thanksgiving dinner:


What a turkey!


ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1864, Charles L. Dodgson (better known as Lewis Carroll), sent a handwritten manuscript to a 12-year old girl, named Alice Liddel, titled “Alice’s Adventures Underground.”  It was sent as an early Christmas present to the young girl.  It later was renamed as “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass.”

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: There are a total of 61 towns in the United States that have “turkey” as part of their name, i.e., Turkey Foot, FL and Turkeytown, Alabama.   I’ll let you look up the rest of them if you really want to.  After all, “Inquiring Minds Want to Know!”