November 26, 2015
A typical lazy Saturday afternoon in the House o’Saw finds Frank— the Angel of Death (we’re on a first name basis), John Q., my yellow stuffed bear sidekick, and me crashed out in the living room. Kicked back and indulging in some vintage 1980’s toons. Up on the flat-screen, He-man was battling Beast-man and Mer-man for the title of Master of the Universe. It seems when they created this toy based series the general idea was to pick just about anything, put the word ‘man’ behind it, call it a villain and let He-man beat them up. It was kind of mindless but easy for kids to follow. Point proven: John was entranced as he stared big-eyed at the screen clutching his Battle Cat action figure. Frank, on the other hand, was disgruntled and confused by the whole thing. He had a hard time viewing Skeletor as a bad guy; it was the one character he could relate to. He thought that He-man was oppressing those who were flesh and blood challenged. It was also puzzling to him why the “good guys” lived in a castle (Grayskull) that looked like the head of the leader of the “bad guys.” “Quick, let’s get away from Skeletor by hiding in his head?” To Frank the whole thing seemed like a psychological mind-game, where everything symbolically meant something else. The kind of stuff you’d find in some mythical fan-fiction on an internet blog sight somewhere.
“Can I get a Moss-Man guy for Thanksgiving time?” John inquired. “No John, you don’t get toys for Thanksgiving.” I replied.
“Oh,” he said thoughtfully, “So do we get to dress-up and do candy?”
“No,” I patiently replied, “Why would you get candy for Thanksgiving?”
“Cuz,” he said matter-of-factly, “It’s polite to instead of saying Trick Treat, you say Thanks for giving me candy.”
Sighing, “John, nobody actually gives you anything for Thanksgiving.”
“Then why do they call it Thanks-GIVING if any nobody is giving out anything?” he said completely baffled, “the giving part is a story then! If you’re not getting anything how can you be thanks?”
Before I could even begin to concoct an answer, Frank stood in a swirl of black and ancient dust. The room grew dark, the temp dropped several degrees and the earthy scent of a freshly dug grave wafted on the air. And this right here is why Frank never speaks. But he did now, as he addressed the befuddled stuffie in a deep, raspy echoing voice.
“Silence your prattling, my synthetic fiber-filled companion. Thanksgiving is not a foolish holiday that alludes itself to self-indulgence, personal gain, treats, tricks or fat men dressed in bloody colored fur. It is an honorable and time honored tradition in the world of men which dates its roots back three hundred and ninety-four years gone by. It was then that early settlers, known as Pilgrims, who came to explore this new continent, laid the ground work for the first official American holiday by setting a day aside to commemorate and give thanks for a bountiful fall harvest and their continued survival. A meal of praise, which lasted three days, was shared at Plymouth with the Wampanoag tribe, their Native American neighbors. Though none were aware of my presence, all knew I was there. Sadly, I had visited these poor wretches many a time before. Thus I and my cold oblivion were not invited to partake in this meal, but I was standing by should anyone have felt the need to choke to death on corn meal gravy. And then as now I honor this annual tradition of yore and give thanks. Paying tribute to a time when the human race was more humbled by their surroundings. And though, with the passage of time, the celebration and its definition have evolved and mankind has long forgotten its place in the world, it still holds to its humble origins in the simple act of giving thanks.” With this the air cleared, the room got brighter and Frank sat down.
John Q. blinked wide eyed and I wondered if he had done the stuffie equivalent of s***ing himself.
Looking to Frank I had to ask, “So you’ve celebrated this holiday from its beginning. So…what is the Grim Reaper thankful for?” “Cigarettes.” was his only reply.
I then asked John if he now understood the significance of the holiday an
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