During one of the numerous tributes to old loveable crank, Andy was quoted as having said that anyone could write a column. About any old thing.
"In this world with so much in it, who couldn't write 600 words about this or that?"
In my world, them's fightin' words.
Got me to thinking about thanking.
In this so fully and uniquely American holiday [the planet's only functionally 4-day holiday weekend, one that celebrates excess (Black Friday) and poverty (efforts to feed the homeless) and humility (listing the things for which we are thankful), sports and drinking (of course), over-indulging, and family], it occurs to yours truly that it, Thanksgiving, illustrates perfectly what I'll call the American Tension.
This long weekend is sort of religious, too, only in that the Puritans and the Pilgrims are seen to have been practically fundamentalists. Right-wing whack-jobs they'd be called in today's parlance, right? Clinging to their very religion and their guns when confronted. Their collaboration with their ostensible enemies for a sit-down and a subsequent dinner/feast makes them the very mascots of the holiday, right?
Thanksgiving religious? I say no.
First, family. An institution certainly not dependant upon any or certainly a religion to exist.
Second, feeding the poor. See above.
Third, drinking and eating to excess. Uhh, no.
Fourth, quadrupling the usual one holy day of rest per week into a 4-day food-and-fighting-over-the-80"-TV orgy/fest of Benjamins. Certainly no religion invoked here. Looks more like sloth and idol-worship.
On our drive home last night from the in-laws Current River cabin ('the nest'), it dawned on me that in the same way that Thanksgiving can possibly be a tad tense to many orthodox religious types, the issue of Blue Laws can also blur the lines, and stretch them to almost snapping, between Secular and Religious.
Most of us, in a perfect world, would probably prefer that the commercial world would go to sleep every Sunday, right? It just feels like a Good thing. Holy Holy Silence, once a week. All is calm. All is right with the world. But the commercial has completely overtaken this idea. America Runs On Commerce. And, frankly, most religious folk are down with that. Make a living. Support your family. Support your neighbors. If you want/need to work Sundays?, well God Bless Us everyone.
So is America secular, or no?
I say, just look at our most American holiday and realize that here it is nothing if not American to invent these things -- Thanksgiving and Blue Laws -- and let America decide.
Comm-erce v. Comm-union.
...Just in case you were running out of issues to debate @ tonight's dinner table. Gobble Gobble.
Brian K. Mitchell, an R.Ph.,
is theowner of
Mitchell Pharmacy in
Kennett. He can be
contacted via e-mail at
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