I am thankful for
fine friends, gracious neighbors, and presently forgotten adversaries,
the smell of smoke outside, its rich and deep and ageless burning notes that sound upon the palette,
the hills under all my days, which pluck up my breath,
all the countless “hellos” their slopes will yield,
the mountains’ incandescence in this cooling season,
the colors now igniting their high and wooded perches,
this new home, this Old South,
this ranging, easy vale of firming winds and firm tradition,
its gentle people, and their surprising hearts —
this fair, far Star City.
We all know that 2020 has been a difficult year, to say the least — and that this Thanksgiving, for many of us, will be unlike those in the past. Let’s each be thankful for what we do have — whether it is our health, our homes, our hopes, or one another.
Pictured — lead-glazed glass painting depicting the potato harvest and Thanksgiving in the Hippolit Church in Amelinghausen, Germany.
I got a nice surprise when I woke up this morning — The Roanoke Times published my holiday poem, “A Roanoke Thanksgiving.” You can find it right here.
As you might remember if you follow this blog, I penned this poem about my adopted city at about this time last year. Thanks to the good folks over at The Roanoke Times for letting me share it today with my neighbors!
He goes by the name of Jasper, and he’s one mellow rabbit. He was one of my (quite gracious) hosts for Thanksgiving dinner today in the vicinity of Roanoke. Seriously, this guy is chill. He lets all sorts of visitors pick him up and pet him. He has two siblings — one cat and one dog — and I’m told he chases them around the house.
I’m not sure if the below scene from “WKRP in Cincinnati” (1978-1982) is overexposed; it annually pops up a lot before Thanksgiving. (I’ve shared it on Facebook at least once, I’m sure of it.) It is, of course, the famous “turkey drop” scene from the Thanksgiving episode of the show’s first year. (WKRP would have been on the air only two months when this episode first aired.) The title of the episode was “Turkeys Away,” and it’s still quite well remembered by people interested in television pop culture.
The scene is really funny — people went nuts for it back in the day. I still remember my parents and older siblings truly cracking up over over it. And it really is all tied together by Gordon Jump’s perfect delivery of its feckless final line.
Hey … there’s actually another bit of WKRP trivia that’s been making the rounds lately on social media. It turns out that the lyrics for its closing theme, which many people my age remember quite well, are actually nothing but gibberish. Seriously, check it out.
As I explained last year, monster movies were simply a part of Thanksgiving if you lived in the Tri-State region around New York City between 1976 and 1985. This was due to WOR-9’s “Holiday Film Festival” broadcast, which actually also extended to the day following the holiday after the lineup’s first year. (People just called it the “Monster Movie Marathon.”)
As a kid, I was a hell of a lot more thrilled with the monster movies than anything being served for dinner. (Remember, video stores only began arriving the early 1980’s. Before that, you usually had to catch a movie on television if you wanted to see it at all. It’s why every house had a “TV Guide.”)
“King Kong vs. Godzilla” (1962) was one gem in the marathon. (Or, at least, it seemed like an amazing film to a gradeschool boy.) I was raised with the enduring myth that this Japanese film had two endings — an American version where King Kong prevailed, and a Japanese version where its native Godzilla was the victor.) My Dad told me that, and I remember being fascinated that a movie could have two different endings. I actually only learned just now, writing this blog entry, that it was a particularly widespread urban legend — stemming from an erroneous report in “Spacemen” magazine. The American version of the film had tons of alterations, but the outcome was essentially the same — King Kong won.
There were always a few more Godzilla movies on the day after Thanksgiving, too. “Son of Godzilla” (1967) was one of them; that was always hit with the kids. (I could swear at some point there was a cartoon adaptation in the early 80’s.) It was weird how 80’s kids apparently loved that ostensibly “cute” character; the adult in me today swears that “Son of Godzilla” looks like an upright, reptile-shaped poop. (Seriously, check out the second clip below.)
“Godzilla vs. Megalon” (1973) was another one I seem to remember being pretty thrilled with. I was even occasionally scared of the giant monsters in flicks like these. (Hey, I was a little kid.) Even as a first- or second-grader, though, I was smart enough to question why these movies were weirdly inconsistent. (Why was Godzilla a bad guy who destroyed Tokyo in one movie, but the “good monster” that the Japanese rooted for in another?)
I’m learning now that “Godzilla vs. Megalon” was the target of a Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode. I’m going to have to hunt that one down.
A friend of mine attended a street art festival in Houston over the weekend; this is one of the photos she took. The chalk artwork here is an update on Norman Rockwell’s 1943 painting, “Freedom From Want.” (Look closely and you can see a few tweaks.)