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Thanksgiving and Taxes - American Traditions

Guest Author - Kate Woods

While Thanksgiving and Taxes are both American traditions, I'm sure we would all agree that Thanksgiving is a much nicer tradition than taxes. America and it's traditions, is so much more than what we all talk about - more than finances and taxes and politics. America is a melting pot of different nationalities and ethnic backgrounds. Our American Holidays are a reflection of that fact. They are a blend of the traditions of our ancestors added to the new traditions we create along the way. Thanksgiving, officially proclaimed a holiday by President Lincoln in 1863, is a great day to celebrate America. Let us Give Thanks for this great country that we live in, the United States of America.

I hope you will enjoy this short holiday story as the Thanksgiving season approaches.

All Kinds of Turkeys
By Kate Woods

ďGather round. Itís time for the annual Create a Turkey contest. All contestants are welcome but only those under age 13 can be the winner.Ē

That was the bellowing voice of Uncle Gus making the annual announcement for the traditional Create a Turkey contest. It was time for everyone to gather their supplies and to get started. Some of the kids brought there own supplies and others just began to run about Uncle Gusís house in search of the necessary items. Uncle Gus and Aunt Dolores always pretended that they didnít have what we needed even though they made sure to buy an extra supply of paper plates, crayons, toothpicks, and apples and potatoes. However, the rule of thumb was supposed to be that the kids should make their turkey themselves. That, of course, didnít mean that the grown ups couldnít make suggestions and give helpful hints. I was always thankful for that fact because I never had a clue how to start my new and creative turkey each year but I really didnít want any of the other kids to know that I always got help from Uncle Gus or Aunt Dolores.

ďOK, now everyone get going, find what you need anywhere in the house and then find your own spot to work so that no one can copy your idea. You have 30 minutes to get your gobbler completed.Ē

After Uncle Gusís second announcement everyone took off in different directions and as soon as they were all out of the Living Room I went over and tugged on Aunt Doloresís sleeve.

ďAunt Dolores, I need an idea. Iím just beside myself trying to figure out something different to do this year.Ē

ďWell, you know Iím not really supposed to help you Violet, but you know just the other day I was thinking how nice the colored lace on my dresser would look as a turkeyís tail-feathers. Especially if that turkey was made from an apple with toothpicks stuck into the back of it in a fan shape to weave that lace in and out of, you know sort of over and under every other toothpick. And then maybe Iíd use a pipe cleaner for the neck and put a wooden bead, like the big ones in the basket on my sewing machine, on it for a head. Of course Iíd probably want to stick some jiggley eyes on it with some glue. I donít know if there are any of them in the button box under my sewing machine or not, Iíd probably have to look. Iíd probably use some toothpicks for the legs. That might work. And then maybe I could just add a gobbler with some glue and a little colored paper. Iíd have to look in the kitchen to see if I had any toothpicks in the silverware drawer though. Sometimes Uncle Gus uses them all up and doesnít tell me. Iím not sure I could find any glue or colored paper or pipe cleaners in the desk though. Uncle Gus uses that all up sometimes too. You know how he is with all his hobbies. Oh, Iím so sorry Violet, Iíve taken up so much of your time babbling, now you better get going and try to find some stuff to make your turkey.Ē

Wow, I just hoped that I could remember everything that Aunt Dolores told me and find all the stuff in time to get it put together. OK, to the bedroom first, to find the lace on the dresser. OK, there it is right where she said it would be, some nice wide multi-colored lace. Next off to the kitchen because without the toothpicks I wouldnít know how to make the lace work for the tail fan.

Oh darn, Melissa was just going into the kitchen. Iíd have to wait or she would see what I was doing. I hope she wasnít doing the same thing as me. Maybe Iíll just peek around the doorframe and see what sheís getting. A potato, she was getting a potato. Ugh, a potato would make an ugly turkey, all dirty and brown. I wish sheíd hurry up though and go so I could get my toothpicks and my apple. OK, there she goes, out the other door of the kitchen. And here I go to the silverware drawer. Please, Uncle Gus, I hope you left me some toothpicks. Open drawer and bam, there was the box of toothpicks. Letís see, I needed about 6 or 8 for the tail and 4 for legs so it would stand and I better take a couple extra just for good measure. I want to be sure I have enough but not take too many because one of the rules was not to take more than you needed of anything, just in case someone else needed the same thing. Next to the fridge; open door; open drawer; grab the apple; and close the door. OK, now what else did I need again? I needed stuff for the head.

Off to the sewing room I go; up the stairs, down the hall, past Jeremy in the bathroom doorway and to the spare room with the sewing machine. I wonder what kind of weird turkey Jeremy is making with stuff from the bathroom, probably a soap turkey Ė Ooooh, that would be weird, not to mention not very appetizing. OK, now I was in the sewing room and there was the sewing basket. Open it, and there was a big wooden bead perfect for my turkeyís head and there was the button box. Open it, and there were a bunch of jiggley eyes, take two, close the box, and go. I had one more place to go before I would have all my supplies gathered.

Off I go, down the hall, down the stairs and to the front room office; make a beeline to the desk; open the drawer and there were a pile of pipe cleaners and a stack of colored paper, and not one but three bottles of glue. I knew Iíd find everything. There wasnít one doubt in my mind. Uncle Gus and Aunt Dolores werenít fooling anyone with this act of theirs. They definitely put this stuff out for the turkey contest. Who could help but love them? They were so much fun.

Well, since there wasnít anyone else in the office working on their project Iíd stay right here and assemble my turkey, that way I could borrow the scissors from the desk drawer to cut out a gobbler from the colored paper. Here I go, stick toothpicks into the back of the apple, weave lace over and under, over and under, over and under and over and under; glue the ends to the apple. Stick a toothpick into the apple where the neck should be and wrap it with a pipe cleaner. Stick the bead onto the top end of the pipe cleaner and glue on the jiggley eyes and the paper gobbler. OK, now I was almost done, I just had to make my turkey stand and I had eight toothpicks left so I could use four for each leg and if I put them in spaced just right, like two wide legs it would probably work. OK, now to see if it works, put it down ever so gently, and bam, itís a success. My turkey is complete and it even stands proudly all by itself. And just in the nick of time, because I could hear Uncle Gus in the Living Room calling out the times up announcement.

ďTimeís up, hear ye, hear ye, gather in the Living Room with your Turkeys. Come along now, timeís up.Ē

I proudly headed to the Living Room and placed my turkey on the card table that had been placed in the living room to display all the entries. OK, now there is some competition but I think I have a really good chance of winning this year. Jonas had made a construction paper turkey from his hand print. It wasnít bad, he stayed in the lines with his crayons and all, but I donít think it will be good enough to win. Jeremy has made his turkey from a bar of soap just as I had suspected. He also used a wooden bead for his head but his tail was pitiful. He made if from some strips of colored newspaper and they were just limp and hanging there on the back of the bar of soap. He had also used toothpicks for his legs but used small pieces of soap to stick them into like feet to make it stand. Melissa had made her turkey from a potato and made the tail from colored strips of construction paper glued to toothpicks stuck into the potato. But she made the head from a walnut and forgot to give her turkey a neck. There were a couple other entries that didnít look anything like turkeys so I think that maybe Iíve got a good chance at winning this year. And the suspense was soon to be over as all the grown ups were done meeting at the turkey table and Uncle Gus was about to make the announcement.

ďAfter much consultation we have made our decision. It was very difficult because all of the turkeys were spectacular. And we want to thank all of you for your hard work. So without further delay, Iíd like to announce that Violetís turkey is the winner this year. Congratulations, to you Violet, you are the winner and have earned the right to say Thanksgiving grace. So again without further delay, letís all go and sit down and enjoy our wonderful Thanksgiving dinner.Ē

Now, I hadnít really given any thought about what Iíd say for grace if I won. I had really been using all my brain power to put together my turkey. And since, we were already all at the table and anxious to eat, and everyone was waiting for me to say grace, I had no choice but to wing it. OK, well, here goes Ė

Bless us, Bless us,
Donít forget us,
Thanks for the food,
That you get us.
Happy Thanksgiving and Amen.

I must have done pretty good, because there were smiling happy faces all around the table and everyone said Amen right after I did. It was a great Thanksgiving; that was for sure. And to that fact, Iíll say Amen again.

I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Kate Woods

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