A day (almost) about a bird

We jest, of course. Thanksgiving isn’t about what’s in the oven or what’s on the table — or even what isn’t on the table, depending on your poultry-related views.

It’s actually one of our more profound and meaningful holidays, whether you’re spending it with family, friends, coworkers or just yourself. Over the centuries since Pilgrims and Native Americans made nice, our traditions have changed and morphed into something that is about gratitude, but can also include almost anything: feasting, football, relatives, FRIENDS marathons, movies about dysfunctional families, turkey/ Turducken/ Tofurky or even tamales, pies galore, kids (or adults) in buckle-rich costumes, roiling politics, volunteering, the grandest of hugs, last-minute market trips, working so others can eat and shop, or for some, even a quiet day on your own. There are so many ways that we spend this day, but no matter what you’re doing today, please know that I am deeply grateful for music and community and all kinds of family and everyone who has made the Lister community something unique and special.

And in the spirit of being not too serious, here are a few random things to know about the bird the day often centers around:

  • The turkey was domesticated in Mexico and brought to Europe in the 16th century.
  • The legendary Johnny Carson once insisted, “When turkeys mate, they think of swans.”
  • Male turkeys gobble. Hens do not. They make a clicking noise.
  • Gobbling turkeys can be heard a mile away on a quiet day.
  • The ballroom dance the “Turkey Trot” was named for the short, jerky steps that turkeys take.
  • Turkeys can swim.
  • Wild turkeys can fly for short distances up to 55 mph and can run 20 mph.
  • Turkeys will have 3,500 feathers at maturity.
  • Some of the features of turkeys’ heads that make them look so unusual are called the carunkel, the snood, and the wattle.
  • Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be the country’s official bird. Unhappy about the choice of the bald eagle, Franklin wrote, “For the Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America.” (Ben might have been happy to know that on Thanksgiving, he pretty much gets his wish.)

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