Happy Thanksgiving Everyone,
We are in Minneapolis (“the big minny apple” as my Dad used to say!) for Thanksgiving with our daughter, Melissa. There is some light snow falling outside and the turkey is roasting in the oven. So it’s a good time think about Thanksgivings in the past. I remember the time many years ago (BK, Before Kids) when Donna worked days at the hospital on Thanksgiving and I was at home cooking. The meal was mostly ready when she got home from work but there were a few things to do. And she invited one of her nurse friends to share our Thanksgiving table. While they were finishing up the dinner and talking away, I broke out the wine and doing that traditional Thanksgiving thing, watching some football! It wasn’t long before I realized I had pretty much drank the whole bottle! A day to remember or not!
It was the events of a Thanksgiving fifty years ago that created one of my favorite songs and the best Thanksgiving song (and longest!) ever written, “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree!” As the story goes, Arlo Guthrie and one of his friends went to visit some friends in Stockbridge, Massachusetts and were arrested for dumping garbage over a cliff because the city dump was closed on Thanksgiving. The comedy of errors and stupidity that ensued made for a great story that inspired Arlo to write a song that has endured over the past 50 years. Even funnier is that he’s made a living singing it! We had the pleasure of seeing Arlo’s 50th anniversary show about a month ago. We’ve seen him a number of times over the years as he makes Madison a regular stop on his tours. I remember one time when Arlo suggested that the 18 1/2 minute gap in the Nixon tapes was Tricky Dick playing the Alice’s Restaurant song since that was how long the song was and Nixon didn’t want people to know that he was listening to an anti-war, hippy, folk singer! Here’s a link to a youtube version Alice’s Restaurant .
Not only did he sing Alice’s Restaurant, City of New Orleans, and his dad’s most famous song, This Land is Your Land, but he sang his quirky but fun Motorcycle song, “I don’t want a pickle, I just want to ride my motorcycle, I don’t wanna die, just wanna to ride my motorcyc……le.” Back when we were traveling with the kids driving through the mountains and the girls were scared of the steep cliffs on one side of the car, I would break into my version of the Motorcycle Song, mostly because I couldn’t remember all the original words! For your Thanksgiving entertainment, here’s a link to the song Motorcycle Song. It was a great show that included his daughter Sara who is a superb singer and storyteller in her own right so the future is secured! Here’s a couple of iPhone photos from that show.
This morning, as it is our tradition on Thanksgiving, we went to church. This is no ordinary church, it’s what we call the Minneapolis “hippy church!” The service is held in the school gym because the church itself isn’t big enough to hold the large attendance. It doesn’t have all the pomp and traditions of a typical church service but embodies a mission of welcoming everyone regardless of where they are on their journey, a powerful hopefulness, a sense of charity and help to those less fortunate, demonstrating thankfulness, and celebrating freedom. Always inspiring and thoughtful. Instead of a sermon by the priest on Thanksgiving there is an open mic for attendees to give thanks for something important to them, such as a mom who was thankful her son was out of prison and working hard to make something of himself. Very powerful. Here is an iPhone photo with my parting message.
Again, happy thanksgiving everyone!
Til next week from North Dakota,