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a silent salute: The audience "claps" at Joke Night during Deaf Awareness week. Click Arts&Life for a link to story. / Photo by Leah Lopshire

Today's word on journalism

December 15, 2008

As part of my own personal "war on Christmas" (which a Utah state senator has offered legislation to outlaw), the WORD celebrates the season by going on hiatus until January. May all out days be merry and bright, and here’s to a safe, healthy and saner New Year. HoHoHo!

Empty Minds: "Of all the people expressing their mental vacuity, none has a better excuse for an empty head than the newspaperman: If he pauses to restock his brain, he invites onrushing deadlines to trample him flat. Broadcasting the contents of empty minds is what most of us do most of the time, and nobody more relentlessly than I."

--Russell Baker, Pulitzer-winning columnist

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Feedback and suggestions--printable and otherwise--always welcome. "There are no false opinions."

Modern Thanksgiving dinners differ from the 1621 table, but gratefulness has not changed

By Stephanie Bassett

November 17, 2008 | As Thanksgiving nears, our stomachs growl as we imagine sinking our teeth into our Thanksgiving turkeys, the stuffing, our pumpkin pies and of course, mashed potatoes. Most of us may think that the pilgrims ate turkey with the Indians that first Thanksgiving, but we have been misled. Thanks to History.com we can now learn the truth about this exciting American holiday.

Our first Thanksgiving celebration in the colonies was in 1621 when the Plymouth colonists and the Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast together. The meal became a symbol of cooperation and interaction between the English colonists and the Native Americans.

Thanksgiving was created so we would always have a tradition of celebrating the harvest and so we could always remember to give thanks for a successful bounty of crops. This tradition has continued for centuries and people throughout the United States gather with family and this specific day to offer thanks and enjoy enormous amounts of food.

Historians aren't completely certain what topped the table at the first harvest, "but it's safe to say the pilgrims weren't gobbling up pumpkin pie or playing with their mashed potatoes," according to History.com. Two items that were for sure on the menu were venison and wild fowl. Several items that were not on the menu include ham, potatoes, corn on the cob, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, chicken, eggs, or milk. You may be surprised what may have been on the table, such as lobster, eel, eagle and seal.

Another interesting fact is that the pilgrims didn't use forks; they ate only with spoons, knives and their fingers. Also, the best food provided at the harvest was placed next to the most important people. If you didn't have a lot of prestige you weren't allowed the best foods.

Many things have changed from the old Thanksgiving to modern day Thanksgivings. We are blessed with many foods that the pilgrims were not able to have. We also are blessed with luxuries such as a refrigerator or freezer so our leftovers don't spoil hours after our dinners. We also don't have to have the most prestige in the family to get a piece of pie.

Basically, we all have a lot to be thankful for and as Thanksgiving nears I hope we can all realize how blessed we truly are and I hope you can all enjoy Thanksgiving as much as I will. Bring on the turkey!

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