Thursday, November 26, 2015

Wait...Thanksgiving or Turkey Day?

This is an edited version of a blog post that was originally written in 2008:

The other day I was driving in my car and listening to the radio, and I overheard the radio host talk about how she was looking forward to Thursday because it was "Turkey Day". She made no mention of the fact that it is actually called Thanksgiving Day, and has been an official national holiday since 1941 (although it has been celebrated unofficially on the last Thursday of November since Abraham Lincoln was in office and declared the day a "National Day of Thanksgiving"). So why do people try to be cute and call it Turkey Day? Actually, while most people seem to point to the year 1621 as when the first "Thanksgiving" was celebrated (when the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast), there was probably no turkey involved. According to information I found on the website, here is what was probably served on that day: venison and fowl (probably not a turkey) and certainly not mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie (who likes this stuff anyway?). The most detailed description of the "First Thanksgiving" comes from Edward Winslow from A Journal of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, in 1621:
"Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week. At which time, among other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed upon our governor, and upon the captain, and others. And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty."
So to the radio host and anyone else who might call today, "Turkey Day", let's get it right, it's Thanksgiving. Be thankful, show thanks and give thanks! We do have much to be thankful for, even in these crazy times.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

My Left Foot

For the past 5 or 6 years or so, I have been taking a low dosage of high blood pressure medicine to control what was then diagnosed as mild hypertension.  Over the years I have maintained good blood pressure readings at my annual check ups, usually 120/80 or thereabouts.  This past May, my blood pressure reading came in at 100/80 which my doctor considered low.  He said to watch it and check back in six months for a follow up.  So last week at my follow up visit, my blood pressure reading was 108/80, still low.  So my doctor recommended that I stop taking the medication and see what happens in a month.  In addition to this, he advised me to begin a walking regimen, in order to help my body naturally adjust to the change and also to get a little bit of exercise which I was lacking anyway.  So I dutifully began taking 15-20 minute walks in the morning before I went to work.  I found it to be enjoyable to get some fresh air, clear my head, and take in a little exercise walking the hills of my neighborhood and surrounding area.  Everything was going fine until this past Thursday when, halfway through my walk, I stepped on a big, green, sweetgum ball, prickly thing that I did not see sitting on the sidewalk as I approached.  I rolled my ankle and immediately, dropped to the pavement, not knowing what had just happened.  As I picked myself up, I realized that my left ankle was in severe pain and I would not be able to continue my walk.  I hobbled across the street and made my way to the entrance to our subdivision, when I noticed a neighbor pull up in her vehicle and stopped when she saw me limping in pain.  She asked if I wanted a ride home which I quickly agreed to.  I told her what had happened and she wished me well as she dropped me off in front of my house.  By the time I got inside and inspected my foot, I noticed it had already begun to swell.  I decided to take some pain medication and go to work, but I could hardly walk the rest of the day.  Since I could put weight on my foot and the swelling wasn't purple and blue, I decided that I had not broken my ankle, but had just severely sprained it when I rolled it over that sweetgum ball.  The next day, I could walk a little better, but still with a slight limp, and very slowly at that.  I realized that my morning walks would have to come to an end for a while until my foot healed and I regained the flexibility needed to take brisk walks again.  Until then, I am suffering from the fact that my goal to get in better condition and off a daily medication, has landed me on the injury reserve list.  Oh well, it could have been worse, much worse, so I am grateful that it wasn't more serious.  This sort of thing does make you appreciate your overall good health and for that I thank God.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veterans Day Holiday

This is an edited rerun of a blog post first written in 2008:

Today is Veteran's Day, a national holiday that has been observed since 1954 (before that it was called Armistice Day). It is a day set aside to honor the country's living veterans who served in wartime or peacetime. Some people confuse this holiday with Memorial Day, which also honors veterans, but is actually to honor those that have died serving our country. Still others confuse both holidays as a day to have a sale! Usually it's the furniture stores, car dealerships, and most any other retail store that chooses to do so. Why? What does honoring a veteran of war have to do with getting 50% off a new couch or end table? If they really wanted to honor veterans, they would close their store like most banks do, and go to a parade or museum with their family. Better yet, call a veteran or go by a local VFW hall, and thank him (or her) in person! I have uncles and cousins who served our country in the military. My nephew is a paralegal in the Army and is also serving with the Army Rangers. The closest I got to serving was when I was in the Air Force ROTC while in college. I had a pilot slot but dropped out after I failed my vision exam before my junior year. Nevertheless, I honor the many living veterans today who served our country with honor, to give us the freedom that we enjoy today! Thank you for your service to our Nation. May God bless you all the rest of your days!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

No Shave November

My Managing Director sent out an e-mail the other day saying that our office was going to participate in a "No Shave November" beard growing contest to help and support people suffering from cancer.  Now, I haven't had a beard or goatee in over a decade, so it's not something I would have decided to do on my own, but since our office and entire agency is supporting this cause, I thought it might be fun to participate.  My wife was not thrilled with the idea when I informed her of my intentions, but she knows I am a team player and like to participate in contests and competitions of all kinds.  Now, I don't seriously expect to win this office beard growing contest, as my beard growth, from the couple of times I tried it in the past, is fairly thin and patchy.  My best bet is to grow another goatee and see what happens.  I used to have a goatee, like I said, over 10 years ago and I thought I looked pretty good with it at the time.  My wife said it made me look mean, but I thought it gave me a distinguished look and perhaps made me look smarter, if that's possible.  Anyway, this time around, I expect that my goatee will come in gray like most of the hair on top of my head.  Perhaps it will be a good look for the holidays this year.  At any rate, it can always be shaved off at the beginning of December if it looks really bad.  So far, I just enjoy not having to shave for a while.  For those of you who would like to learn more about the No Shave cause, please check out my page and consider donating:  Scott's No Shave November.