Let’s all (burp) toast Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving is the one day when 75 percent of Americans celebrate both family and football. The other 25 percent will be watching either soccer or bowling, and that number appears to be increasing. These are not good days for the NFL. In their defense I have to admit I’ve never seen anyone take a knee during the national anthem at a bowling tournament.

You probably thought you knew everything about Thanksgiving by the time you were old enough to grow a mustache or buy your first bra. Or both. Did you know the pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock in late 1620 only because they ran out of beer? It’s true. The water on the Mayflower wasn’t safe to drink, and since part of the brewing process is boiling water, it was safer to drink beer.

Our forefathers weren’t the first to realize the health benefits of beer. In the Middle Ages people drank beer when a swig of water could mean the Black Plague and Workers’ Compensation for life. Egyptian pharaohs were entombed in their pyramids with large jars of beer so they could catch a buzz with Osiris in the afterlife. Beer has not only been a part of our Thanksgiving history but mankind’s for more than 7,000 years, but then, I don’t need to praise beer to anyone living in a city like Coeur d’Alene that holds several Brew Fests a year.

Captain Christopher Jones of the Mayflower intended to land at the Virginia Colony, 220 miles south of Plymouth Rock, but pulled over as soon as his last keg was tapped. That’s a historical fact. However, Captain Jones claimed in his journal he landed at Plymouth Rock only because he dreaded sailing farther south and having to deal with Virginia’s treacherous shoals and breakers. I wish I had a dollar for every time I used the treacherous shoals and breakers excuse. We all know the party’s over once you run out of beer.

My son started a Thanksgiving tradition of deep frying a turkey. Even the white meat is juicy and delicious. Unfortunately, after the second year, and something of a minor oil explosion, the tradition came to an abrupt end. I highly recommend deep frying a turkey but only after donning fire-retardant clothing and never after finishing off a 12-pack of Heineken. Don’t drink and deep fry. Another safety tip: Never ever put a turkey straight from the freezer into the deep fryer. Your neighbors will think Al Qaeda is in the backyard.

Canadians get a jump on us by celebrating Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October. They’re celebrating the harvest, hockey and much stronger beer than Americans. While the actual Thanksgiving holiday is on a Monday, Canadians may choose to celebrate on any day during the long weekend or until the Molson beer runs out. Since I went to graduate school at UBC in Vancouver and worked as a cabaret D.J. in an oil boom town a thousand miles north of Coeur d’Alene, I feel qualified to assure you, Canadians never run out of Molson beer. Never.

Emily Boyd, from the Coeur d’Alene Downtown Association, has informed me “The Lighting Ceremony” put on by the Hagadone Corporation will be held the day after Thanksgiving. In the flick of a switch, Coeur d’Alene will be entering the Christmas season, complete with more than 1.5 million lights, which is a hundred more than Justin Timberlake’s place.

The signature “Journey to the North Pole” will be returning with the Holiday Lake Cruise to Santa’s North Pole Toy Workshop and America’s tallest floating Christmas tree. I had a floating Christmas tree in 1986 but that’s only because my son left the bathtub running. Emily assures me, unlike Chevy Chase’s “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” there won’t be any squirrels jumping out of their Christmas tree. This loses a lot if you haven’t seen the movie.

I don’t normally rely on those online language translation websites but since Coeur d’Alene is so rich in cultural diversity and this being such a special holiday, I decided to trust one:

(English) Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

(Spanish) Mayo su goldfish vivir eternamente.

• • •

Tom Neuhoff is a comedy writer who lurks in the shadows of Hollywood. He once lived in Coeur d’Alene. He likes beer. He does not know Spanish.

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