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Time for Wedwand’s 5th annual Thanksgiving Eve address to the nation.

I willingly profess Thanksgiving to be my favorite holiday. It has no pretense. It has no hype. And every year it reminds me to be thankful for what I have.

Thanksgiving is a holiday without a lot of glitter. Just turkey, trimmings, dinner traditions and just maybe a little giving of thanks along the way.

It’s a holiday that’s become accustomed to be trampled on by the greedy retailers of Christmas. But it is not without a few media sources out there that honor the day in their setting. Here’s three of them:

1) I recently “discovered” one of these traditions to be a folk song by Arlo Guthrie called Alice’s Restaurant actually formally titled “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree.”

Now there is no Alice’s Restaurant in the song as the song will tell you. In addition, the song is roughly 16 to 18 minutes long and it has nothing at all to do with Thanksgiving Day other than the fact that the story of the song takes place ON Thanksgiving Day.

And even though Arlo Guthrie has been singing this song since 1967 or so, and many people have listened to it as a Thanksgiving tradition, it wasn’t until just a couple years back that I actually took the full 16 to 18 minutes to listen to the tune which is more or less Arlo telling a quite captivating tale, at a time when folksingers told tales, that happened after a “Thanksgiving dinner that couldn’t be beat” while accompanying himself on the guitar. And by golly, it’s a Thanksgiving tradition of mine now too.

If you just want to be entertained by a guitar accompanied story for about 18 minutes and 15 seconds give it a listen: (People these days might call it a “Podcast”):

Or, if you just want the short version you can sing along, “You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant. Walk right in it’s around the back just about a half a mile from the railroad tracks.”

2) Another media tradition is the 1992 movie “Scent of a Woman” starring Al Pacino and Chris O’Donnell. It’s set at Thanksgiving Break and includes an infamous dysfunctional Thanksgiving meal as well as a blind man who can Tango and if only for a couple blocks or two, drive a Ferrari and an incredibly inspiring back story.
Here’s the Tango:

The movie won Pacino an Oscar and was named the Best Motion Picture by the Golden Globes. A few quotable lines have become recurrent with my wife and me over the years.

“I’m in the dark here.”
“I saw something.”
“Oh, I’m just getting warmed up”
“And Harry, Jimmy, Trent, F_ _ _ you too.”

3) And of course, there’s the “Turkeys Away” episode from the 1970’s TV series, WRKP in Cincinnati. I found a 30 second mash up of the episode in case you don’t have the 25 minutes to watch the whole episode:

“As God as my witness, I thought Turkeys could fly.”

Below are the links to the four previous Wedwand Thanksgiving Eve entries. I thank you for your support over these five years.

https://wedwand.wordpress.com/2016/11/23/giving-thanks-for-thanksgiving-part-four/
https://wedwand.wordpress.com/2015/11/25/tales-of-the-giving/
https://wedwand.wordpress.com/2014/11/25/the-393rd/
https://wedwand.wordpress.com/2013/11/27/on-the-eve-of-thanks-give-it/

Of course, we end with the John Mellancamp Pink Houses YouTube salute to America on this Thanksgiving Holiday!

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PROOGUE 10/5/17

Here we go again.

In former traditional Cubs lore, this would be an utterance of impending doom. A sighting of a black cat or a hex spewing goat.

But a flash rainstorm on the banks of Lake Erie on a November’s eve washed away all the curses, if indeed they did exist, from Cubs seasons past.

Now, in 2017, “here we go again” means October playoff baseball for the third consecutive year on the Northside of Chicago. The times they are a changin’ for the Addison Street Miracle.

Oh, it was a different ride to playoff-ville this year. Instead of the 2016 express train barreling into the station looking to win games and ask questions later, this year’s team was the local. The 2017 Cubs had a slow start and made several stops along the way before heating up down the stretch.

As seen in the cover photo, some old faces from the 2016 Rally Towel were gone (ten by my count), but the core remained and the result was the same. A National League Central Division title.

Round one opponent are the Washington Nationals. Fondly known to their fans as the “Nats.” I find them akin to the gnats, an annoying little bug. A bothersome roadblock on the path.

GAME ONE 10/6/17

No home field advantage here this year. The series begins in Washington DC.

A classic pitcher’s duel looms. Power versus finesse. Hendrix versus Strasburg.

My notes from the game.

7:55 Game half over. 0-0. Top of 6. Strasburg with a no hitter.
8:00 Feeling a Cubs breakout here. And, it happened.
Two runs. No hitter gone. Shutout gone. Cubs up.
8:40 Defensive changes in the outfield. Hendrix on the hill still. Bottom of 7.
9:00 An insurance run on a double by Rizzo in the 8th inning. The Bryzzo combo coming up big in the late innings with all three RBI.
9:30 Bottom of the 9th Up 3. Old habits die hard. Cautiously optimistic. Sort of loving a silent DC crowd. 1-2-3. Cubs Win 3-0. Home field advantage eliminated.

GAME TWO 10/7/17

A retrospective.

Poof.

If Frank Sinatra was singing a song about this game the lyrics would be, “That’s baseball. You can’t deny it. Riding high in the 7th, shot down in the 8th.”

Cruising comfortably with a two run lead and just five outs to get, Carl’s Jr. delivers a new menu item, the hanging curve burger to Bryce Harper and bang just like that the lead vanishes. Ryan Zimmerman goes yard on normally reliable Mike Montgomery and the gnats get a five spot in the 8th for a 6-3 win.

The bullpen exploded. Series tied. Back to the Windy City for game three on Monday Monday, hoping never to return to that city on the Potomac.

Cubs got two games at Wrigley now. Let’s win two!

 

I’ve been preparing for the big eclipse that’s coming August 21.  For the past week, I’ve set my alarm for 2:00 AM, then I take a look out the window for three whole minutes trying to replicate experience and take in the total darkness.  Yep, it’s dark, very dark.

The solar eclipse of 2017 has been all the talk for at least the past month or so, even more if you’re one who is totally eclipsed by the impending moment.  For those of you living under a rock, or the dark side of the moon if you prefer, a total solar eclipse is about to pass through the contiguous United States.

The last time this happened in the USA USA was in 1979, however, this eclipse only passed through five north northwestern states on a February morn, barely visible in the winter sky before crossing the border into Canada.

The last time a total solar eclipse passed through the US of A from sea to shining sea, from the Pacific to the Atlantic was in 1918.

In other words, this event is ALMOST as rare as the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series.

Dearly beloved, there hasn’t been this much excitement about a naturally occurring event since New Years’ Eve 1999 and the Y2K scare. Remember that?

We were all duped into thinking the Cyber world we created would explode and everything computer generated would disintegrate because the years on computers were supposedly configured with only two digits. Once the clock ticked to 2000, bang, everything would revert to 1900 and life as we knew it would crash.

It didn’t, but come on, admit it, you still have a jug of water and a jar of peanut butter tucked away in a safe place, just…in…case. Someone made money off that, I’m sure.  In fact, as I reflect on Y2K, I become more convinced the bottled water people and the peanut butter people conspired to contrive the plan.

Speaking of making money off a natural phenomenon, hats off to Southern Illinois University (SIU) in Carbondale, Illinois, one of the premier spots to view this eclipse in the ”path of totality.”  (I love that term, path of totality.)

SIU sold out their football stadium at $25 a pop for the event.  Spots in the on-campus grass parking lot are going fast for $20 a place.   Perhaps I am pointing out the obvious here, but the eclipse is IN THE SKY, visible for free to anyone who cares to experience it.  Yet, SIU sold out seats for the viewing. Kudos to you, Salukis.

There is actually a Royal Caribbean Total Eclipse Cruise and get this, Bonnie Tyler will be singing “Total Eclipse of the Heart” at the exact moment the path of totality passes overhead.  If you miss it, “It’s a Heartache.”  In fact, for an added treat, Bonnie’s back-up band is call The Path of Totality!

Enjoy the event however you choose to do so.  Just remember the advice of Manfred Mann and the Earth Band, ‘Mama always told me not to look into the eyes of the sun.”   And really, a burned out retina is not where the fun is.

Me, I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZtfsfoKSB0

FOOTNOTE: Photo credit to my daughter, Taylor for the cover pic circa March, 2016. And yes, I know, this is not a “solar” eclipse. It was quite the different world when a photo op existed for that.

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