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nice little Turkey Day essay

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Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend
nice little Turkey Day essay#0
Posted: 11/24/03 at 3:25pm
which i'd never read before, despite it being 53 years old. This is the type of writing sorely missing on Broadway.

Walking past the markets this morning and casting an eye on the turkeys, which to my mind are not as large as when I was a boy. Or is it just that I am getting bigger? Anyway, it seems to me that turkeys used to be enormous birds. Bigger than eagles, maybe. And I was thinking of Thanksgiving days of other years. And some were good and some were dull, but just for the remembering of them this day, I am truly thankful.

The best Thanksgiving days are when you are young, and when I was a boy (and turkeys were much larger than nowadays) Thanksgiving was the day you spent on a farm in Illinois. With the air turning crisp and maybe even a fall of snow in the smoky twilight evening, and the older boys getting out the guns to go rabbit hunting in the morning. And the fields lined up with cornstalks in the shocks and the corn with all the different colored kernels stacked away in the board cribs so that you could see it through the cracks.

SINCE MY great-grandfather had 16 children, there were a terrible number of grandchildren and even more great-grandchildren. And in the morning there was a great squawking and outcry of chickens and turkeys being run down behind the bar, all the little boys running to see the slaughter, and all the little girls running the other way with their hands over their ears.

I remember that the early table was for the children, who stood around drooling all morning while roast turkey smell filled the house and the pumpkin pies were brought up from the cellar where they had been cooling. And later we could peek through the window while the grown-ups sat down. My great- grandfather, being a religious man, but no person to delay the proceedings, would bow his head and in one breath declare:

"... Bless this gathering and for what we are about to receive may the Lord make us truly thankful amen will you have a little white or dark meat?" And he would tuck a napkin under the beard and go to work with a big horn- handled knife that was as sharp as a razor.

Then, after dinner, we could sit on the floor and he would tell us how he crossed the plains to dig gold in California. (Like the turkeys that were bigger, California was much farther from Illinois in those days.) There was a very high point where he told about how he was riding far away from the wagon train one day and an Indian rode up to him "and I whipped out my pistol and pointed it right at his stomach," said my great-grandfather, "and he kindly rode away again." And we would all clutch our stomachs in sympathy.

THEN HE WOULD TELL US how he got to California and how his partner was killed in a mine cave-in, and he took his gold and went back to Illinois to tell his partner's girl about it and stayed there and married her.

And at the conclusion, he would rise and go to the big glass whatnot in the corner that had the seashell you could put to your ear and hear the sea roaring. And he would take out a big chunk of quartz, as big as your fist, and he would say:

"And there's the gold from Californy!"

I can tell you it never failed to bring down the house, and I have handled that gold myself, and it seems to me that the gold used to be heavier and shinier and better than the gold they dig nowadays.

THE OTHER DAY I took a young lady of my acquaintance to the hospital. She is a very close acquaintance and I have known her for seven years. She thinks I am the greatest thing in the world, and I think she is the greatest thing in the world, and this is very satisfactory to both of us. It was no easy thing to leave her at the hospital, even though it was a minor matter of tonsils. It is very hard to watch a 7-year-old being brave, and harder when the time comes when you must be brave all alone, and that is the time when you walk out and leave your heart in the hospital room.

There was a small boy there, too, and he was just coming out of the ether,

with tears running down his face, but he said it was nothing. It was easy, he said, with tears coming down both sides. He explained that his daddy had to work and his mamma could not be there "because we have a little sister at my house and it's hard for her to get away."

But now today everything is fine and just as if it had never happened. And everybody is eating ice cream (which does not seem as creamy or cold as it was when I was a boy, though). But I suspect that for them the ice cream is cold and creamy and the turkeys are enormous and the gold is shiny and heavy and golden. And for these things today, I am truly thankful..The Chronicle first published this Thanksgiving column by Stanton Delaplane on Nov. 23, 1950. It ran annually for years.

Will: They don't give out awards for helping people be gay... unless you count the Tonys. "I guarantee that we'll have tough times. I guarantee that at some point one or both of us will want to get out. But I also guarantee that if I don't ask you to be mine, I'll regret it for the rest of my life..."
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Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend
re: nice little Turkey Day essay#1
Posted: 11/24/03 at 10:52pm
Wonderful bit of writing. Thanks for posting that!
"Christ, Bette Davis?!?!"
Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend
re: re: nice little Turkey Day essay#2
Posted: 11/25/03 at 7:01pm
I ment to say last night how much I enjoyed this but I was busy typing up the Good Wifes Guide.

It's true that somehow when you look back to your childhood (mine anyway), things just aren't the same anymore. Ahh youth!

re: re: nice little Turkey Day essay