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The ritual of giving thanks

The winter holidays, starting with Thanksgiving, are a time for family, food and making memories.

On Thursday television sets all over the country will be tuned to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade while in the kitchen the turkey will be in the oven. The first time I baked a turkey I was surprised that it was done in a couple of hours. When I was a kid anytime my mother made a turkey she put it in the oven at 5 a.m. and it baked for hours and hours. Did our moms cook turkeys at 150 degrees? Can somebody please explain this to me?

President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1941 decreed that America’s Thanksgiving would take place on the fourth Thursday of November. One of the country’s annual traditions has the sitting President of the United States issuing an executive pardon to a turkey at the behest of the National Turkey Federation. According to its website the custom has been taking place for seven decades. It is a thoroughly silly tradition that must cost a small fortune to stage.

The Thanksgiving paradox is how on Thursday we gather with friends and family to show appreciation for all the blessings in our life. Then the very next day, known as Black Friday, hordes of people storm retail establishments to buy more stuff. The advertising inserts are a great boost for the newspaper industry, which needs all the help it can get. The people who make reading The Madera Tribune an important part of their lives, are near the top of the list of things of which I am thankful.

Bookkeeping traditionally uses black ink to record profits and red ink to record. The term “Black Friday,” represents an opportunity for retailers to improve a store’s bottom line for the year in hopes of pulling the business out of the red. Stores stock discounted goods capitalizing on the Christmas shopping season. This type of merchandise is known as loss-leaders. The premise being when a person comes in to buy a cheap television or micro-wave oven they will buy other goods, too.


When the new occupant moves into the Whitehouse in January, I hope he can do some of the things he promised on the campaign trail. The medical insurance industry is flourishing under the Affordable Care Act. I heard Trump say in an interview that his new health care system will be implemented at the same time the present program ends so people won’t have gaps in their coverage. There must be a way to provide health care for the middle class and to improve Medicare for seniors that aren’t financially crippling.


A larger part of the defense department’s budget should be spent by the Veterans Administration to support our sons and daughters damaged by their military service. As long as there are homeless veterans in this country we have no business importing refugees.


The cost of higher education, especially the price of textbooks, is obscene. I took an adult education computer class and the textbook cost $100. It was a paperback book the size of the old Sears’ catalog. I understand science and technical texts books can run into hundreds of dollars each. Using e-books would be more efficient and would allow a student to store and carry their entire curriculum on a cloud-based account. We need more of our taxpayer education funding to be directed to trade schools and industrial education.

The idea that every student should go to college is an unrealistic expectation. The next generation of auto mechanics and plumbers need training too.


Thanksgiving carries a special meaning in my house. On the day after Thanksgiving 37 years ago, we were married in Reno. While the number of our wedding date changes every year, Fred said he would never forget our anniversary because it would always be the day after Thanksgiving.

Enjoy your family gatherings because life is fleeting.

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