Quite the sacred time of year, this Thanksgiving-thing is, with all of our cornucopias and tiny, decorative pumpkiny-gordy-thingys and cute centerpieces featuring various small, woodland creatures sporting pilgrim hats. Mind you, there’s also a deep, underlying history beneath all of the crepe paper and pseudo-artificial pine cones – of course, we all know the story of how the pilgrims came to settle in this new land, endured the hardships found in establishing new colonies in a foreign land, nearly slaughtered an entire race of innocent natives, and all of that jazz, eventually leading up to separation from England, the formation of the United States of America, and the construction of the world’s first theme park lead by a giant, talking rat…

…and we roll all of these things together into one holiday that’s celebrated by undertaking one of the most painstaking ordeals imaginable – spending time with the family! Apparently at one point or another in history, somebody decided that those great hardships were an ideal metaphor for our own hardships in life and that the best reward for making it from day to day is the time that we spend with family…which I think would’ve gotten some serious rethought if they had known just exactly what they’d be getting all the rest of us into later on down the road!

Nevertheless, despite all of the trials and tribulations that are destined to fill our morning, noon, and night each and every year as the last Thursday in November finally rolls around, things could be worse, my friends! That’s right – even factoring in the numbing idea that you’ve got to spend the entire afternoon with Uncle Morty and the rest of your obnoxious relatives, and that Morty’s going to be wearing that stupid cheese hat that he’s modified to hold his beer and everything, and that in between plays, you’ll be narrating photo album upon photo album of every embarrassing picture you’ve ever appeared in to Aunt Nita and her “friend” Jody, there will always be one in the house who has it infinitely tougher than you do. And no, that person isn’t your mother, even though you’ve kept her locked up in the kitchen, slaving over a hot stove all day long while you sat around watching football!

That’s right – what about the turkey, anyways?! Clearly one guest who would’ve preferred to have had his invitation for dinner lost in the mail, the turkey most definitely got the short straw when it came time to delve out the holidays, that’s for sure! You certainly won’t find the Easter bunny served up on a silver platter next spring, and even Santa’s reindeer got drafted into the holiday delivery service that also just so happens to keep one off the dinner table at the same time, so it kinda makes you wonder how exactly the turkey got his job as the Thanksgiving guest of honor, now doesn’t it?

Now of course, I just don’t have the time or patience to actually research the answer to this, so instead, allow me to toss out this offbeat speculation in place of any journalistic homework that might’ve mistakenly drifted my way – what if it hadn’t been a turkey? Say, for example, if the Greater Plymouth Rock Area had been known for its heavy giraffe traffic when the pilgrims came to town? Perhaps this had been quite the hippopotamus-laden region as the Mayflower came ashore, leaving the settlers with weeks upon weeks of leftovers and the most unique centerpiece that left their dinner guests speechless and struck fear into the hearts of their enemies at the same time? Or even more bizarre yet, what if they had all been vegetarians?!

That’s right – I went there! And although I’d like to go even further, naming other exotic animals and mocking minorities that I believe to be just plain silly, unfortunately the “Uncle Morty” in my own family is getting restless and it’s nearly my hour to keep him occupied! Regardless, however, of who or what you have to put up with this Thanksgiving, just remember that there’s only one truly flawless way to avoid all of the chaos and that involves spending most of the morning in a roasting pan…

…and before you start considering that option too much, don’t forget to factor the stuffing into the equation, either! Happy Thanksgiving!!!