Greetings from the Bible Belt, where the arrival of your Thanksgiving Day newspaper means -- in addition to five pounds of Black Friday advertising inserts -- seeing headlines like "Local Tennessee players open their homes to teammates on Thanksgiving" and "Making Them Feel At Home: Knox Area cares for firefighters battling blazes in Tennessee."
I'd link to that second headline, the A1 banner, but The Knoxville News Sentinel team, for some reason, didn't put that story on the newspaper's website. Anyway, there is enough information there for you get the point, as everyone in this region prays for rain.
The big picture down there: Thanksgiving stories are about families getting together, helping people who are in need and, yes, lots and lots of food.
I get the impression that the basic mood is a little bit different today in Washington, D.C., where a quick survey of the Washington Post headlines yields:
Ah, the chattering classes. How would we know what to think and feel without them? But, hey, not everything is political in that newsroom. There are these offerings as well:
Finally, there is one actual feature to read, an "Inspired Life" feature with this headline: Can family trump Trump? How to survive political disagreements with relatives this Thanksgiving. This story is exactly what you think it would be, in keeping with the post-Election Day meltdown in elite Acela zone newsrooms:
As she prepares to fly to North Carolina for Thanksgiving, Dale Koontz said she knows she will be in the minority. Koontz, 23, a staff assistant at a public-affairs firm in Washington, voted for Hillary Clinton. Everyone at the holiday table will likely be Donald Trump supporters or at least Hillary opponents, she figures.
Although she’s close to her mother, who supported Trump, it took five days after the election for them to talk on the phone, she said.
“We kind of avoided talking about it for the first half of the conversation,” she said. Eventually they found some common ground, both agreeing the anti-Trump protests were “not very useful.” Even so, her strategy is to stay quiet on Thanksgiving if someone brings up the election.
Americans love Thanksgiving, which consistently ranks as the happiest day of the year. But arriving on the heels of a divisive campaign season and a recent election that has many Americans reeling, it’s hard to imagine that this one will live up to its low-stress reputation.
I don't know about you, but I don't remember waves of Thanksgiving stories in 2008 offering tips on how to prevent bloodshed when enlightened folks from blue zip codes had to break bread with the commoners in red zip codes. Did I miss something back then?
With many, many professionals in the journalism pack focusing on itheir own gloom and doom (I am not joking), I would like to salute The Daily Beast team -- yes, I really did type those words -- for a sobering, but meaningful, feature that ran with this headline: "A Time to Thank Our Fallen Heroes in Blue."
That's the whole problem with Thanksgiving, isn't it? The implication is that folks are supposed to give thanks for something and perhaps even to someone or, dare I say, Someone.
I went looking for stories about this rather strange American holiday and, sure enough, the International Business Times UK edition had one. Imagine that.
So if you are down in the dumps about all of the blue-zone people being down in the political dumps, then read this. As you can see, family, faith and, yes, commerce have always been in the mix.
In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Native Americans shared an autumn harvest widely believed to be one of the first celebrations of the holiday. It celebrated a successful growing season, as the harvests in the previous year had failed and many of the pilgrims had starved to death. Members of the Wampanoag tribe taught the pilgrims, who were weakened by malnutrition, how to cultivate corn, fish in the rivers and extract sap from maple trees.
The pilgrims celebrated their second Thanksgiving day in 1623, but the day was given official status in 1789 by George Washington. It has been celebrated on the last Thursday of the month since President Abraham Lincoln's 1863 proclamation.
In 1939, however, the last Thursday in November fell on the last day of the month. Concerned that the shortened festive shopping season might hamper economic recovery, President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving to the second to last Thursday of November, but 16 states refused to accept the change and proclaimed Thanksgiving to be the last Thursday in November.
For two years, Thanksgiving was marked on two days. The president and part of the nation celebrated it on the penultimate Thursday in November, while the rest of the country celebrated it the following week. To end the confusion, Congress set a fixed-date for the holiday.
In 1941, the House passed a joint-resolution declaring the last Thursday in November as the official Thanksgiving Day.
So there. I hope everyone out there has a safe and, perhaps, even blessed Thanksgiving. And for any Christians in GetReligion land who are following a liturgical calendar other than the one at the local mall, have a Blessed Advent or Nativity Lent.
FIRST IMAGE: The "Bring it On" turkey print, available here.