Thanksgiving is, as I’ve said many times, the most American holiday we celebrate in the United States. The way my family celebrates it, it’s got everything I look for in a holiday – food, hunting, family, food, friends, football, sleeping late, food, games, time off from work, and food. Plus you don’t have to give anyone anything, or act like you appreciate gifts from anyone else.Granted, if I were a woman, I might not like Thanksgiving quite so much. A friend sent me a cartoon recently showing a bunch of indian and pilgrim men playing with a ball or something, and a couple of women in the foreground preparing food on a table. One woman was an indian, and the other was a pilgrim.The caption said, “I hope this doesn’t turn into a tradition.”Granted, the women have to do all the work at Thanksgiving, and the men are only required to refrain from belching at inappropriate times. And if your family is like mine, the men often fail at their expected contribution. But from my point of view, this is an acceptable division of labor.Bear in mind, also, that our forefathers (not our foremothers, which should explain a lot) established Thanksgiving to set aside a time to show their appreciation to Almighty God for His blessings in their lives. Which is a good enough reason for me to leave it alone.Of course, peta wants to ruin all this for everybody. As usual, peta, people with extra time to argue, have come up with some new and irritating ways to complain about Thanksgiving. They’re like the Energizer Bunny. I’m convinced that most of the people who send them money only do it for entertainment purposes, so they’ll have something to laugh at.As I’m sure you know, every year our president makes a big show of pardoning a couple of turkeys the day before Thanksgiving. It’s a big production number, a real Kodak moment, and the press comes out to document the event. It’s all pretty silly, if you ask the humans involved, but politicians are pretty much all alike. They need attention, and if you give them an inch they’ll take your ruler.But peta isn’t happy with the terminology used for this particular publicity stunt. Their president, Ingrid Newkirk, wrote a letter to the president recently asking him to drop the word ‘pardon.’ She said, “‘To pardon’ means to exempt a guilty party from punishment.” And she says the turkeys are ‘innocent bystanders, not criminals.’ She wants the turkeys to be ‘spared’ instead of pardoned.Well. Talk about picking nits. Here Ingrid is getting her way, at least in the case of a couple of birds, and she’s got to gripe about what it’s called. As my old friend Ray Carter used to say, “She’d kick if she was hung with a new rope.” You just can’t please some people.But I agree with her, at least partially. I don’t think the president should ‘pardon’ two turkeys on the White House lawn the day before Thanksgiving. I think he should ‘chop’ their heads ‘off.’ And then have the White House chef ‘cook’ them for ‘dinner.’ Wouldn’t that be great? It would at least be more fun to watch on TV than turning them loose.But peta isn’t stopping there. No. They’ve put up billboards in Utah and several other states, with a picture of a turkey with a dog’s head on them. The signs say: Kids, if you wouldn’t eat your dog, why eat a turkey?See, this is the problem with peta. What we have here is people who can’t tell the difference between dogs and turkeys. I’m waiting for them to go completely off the deep end and put up signs that say, “Kids, you pet your cat, why don’t you pet rattlesnakes?” Which is just as good a question.And once again peta has asked the town of Turkey, Texas to change its name, for a day, to Tofurky. Now, tofurky is a bean based substance which the vegetarian types use as a turkey substitute, because it tastes remarkably like beans. The peta folks have offered to provide the entire town of Turkey with a ‘delicious, healthy vegan holiday feast.’ For free.Turkey’s mayor, Pat Carson, has declined. The town is basically an agricultural community. They raise cotton, peanuts, sweet potatoes, and cattle. They evidently aren’t much into beans.Carson told Chip Chandler, of the Amarillo Globe-News, “If we had our choice, we’d just as soon everybody ate beef.” He also said, “If we were to acknowledge that (letter) at all, I would rather say ‘Save turkey, eat more beef.’” Which is kind of what those cows are trying to do for chickens, on the Chik-fil-a billboards, I guess. But did you ever notice those cows are holsteins? I wonder if the Chik-fil-a people realize those are dairy cattle. Makes you wonder.But the point is that peta is working hard to make your Thanksgiving holiday feast a guilt-ridden, angst-involved meal. And they will never quit. Or something.Me, I’ve got an answer for peta. I plan to announce it this Thursday afternoon, right after dinner. Probably at an inappropriate time . . .
Kendal Hemphill is an outdoor humor columnist and public speaker who never belches at the table, unless absolutely necessary. Write to him at PO Box 1600, Mason, Tx 76856 or firstname.lastname@example.org