I have been thinking about those fine American birds, turkeys, today when many of my American friends will be sitting down to some of them served up on a platter to celebrate Thanksgiving.
I am not sure how much the citizens of that land of the free actually gives thanks for their nation’s birth these days but it seems a good thing to do when, like me, you come from a country that just kind of grew out of the primeval mists. Here in Great Britain, well, the United Kingdom, well, er England, we have a number of key dates which mark our progress as a nation but we just “growed” and so we have to settle for Christmas as our big celebration.
Here in Britain, we can still give thanks for America though. In spite of all our sneering at brash American tourists, our disdain for President Bush, our disapproval of some of its foreign policy adventures and, let’s not even mention Sarah Pallin or Donald Rumsfeld (dammit I just did), for all of that, we are close to our American cousins.
The United States, after all, gave us life-forming TV series like Twin Peaks, thirtysomething, Six Feet Under and Frasier and movies like
Citizen Kane, Raging Bull, Taxi Driver and The Godfather and puberty-influencing stars
like Marilyn Monroe
and Steve Mcqueen, and….
let’s not forget the quintessentially American Donald Duck. America also gave us incomparable geniuses like…
Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis and
The Beach Boys to say nothing about Rodgers and Hart and the glory that was Tin Pan Alley
America also had the lion’s share of great 20th Century literature and modern art…
…..including a literal gift in the presence on our shores of the king of modernist poetry, T.S. Eliot.
We also loved Abraham Lincoln, of course, what a guy! and we will never forget John F. Kennedy or stop mourning his loss somewhere deep in our English subconsciouses.
Martin Luther King’s words still bring a tear to our eyes whenever, and it is often, we hear his eolquent speeches.
Barrack Obama has our affections and, these days, our sympathy too. We fell in and out of love with Bill Clinton who charmed us but didn’t fulfill his potential
but mostly, I, at least, preferred Monica Lewinsky to Bill. In Britain, I think, we were attracted by her open-heartedness and chutzpah – American qualities both.
Americans gave us D-Day too, even if they took their time in rushing to our defence against Hitler – without the USA, Britain would be a very different place today.
So happy Thanksgiving America, we have reasons to give thanks for you too…..
…..and thanks for those turkeys that had been hunted by Native Americans for over a thousand years before they arrived over here from the American colonies, woops sorry to mention the colony word, in the 17th Century and which we now tend to think of as being traditionally British. enjoy your turkeys today America, we are saving our’s ’til Christmas but I quite fancy a turkey sandwich for lunch.
I have a sudden urge to hear The Beach Boys again too: