Thanksgiving is right around the corner, but it isn’t the only memorable day in the 11th month of the year. To name a few of many notable November events, on Nov. 3, 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik II, carrying Laika (meaning barker) the first dog in space. He probably was barking “Walk? Did somebody say walk?”

Nov. 4, 1879 marks the birth of Will Rogers and on that same date in 1922, King Tut’s (Tutankhamen) tomb was discovered. Pres. Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address on Nov. 19, 1863, and Pres. John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.

            Although most folks associate Thanksgiving with November, the first thanksgiving in Plymouth Plantation was proclaimed by Gov. William Bradford in the fall of 1621. The harvest was pretty good that year so the pilgrims just needed to pick up a few things in the nearby forest. The governor sent some men out to hunt wild turkeys; they returned with ducks and geese instead. Fortunately, Indian braves invited to dinner brought five deer as a hostess gift or it would have been slim pickins for the 56 settlers and their 91 Native American guests.

            It was much like when I send my spouse the Binmeister to the store for milk and cranberry sauce. He returns with a 20-pound bag of yams, chutney, which he thinks will be a nice change, two boxes of donuts—What? We’re trying to diet here—and OOPS, he forgot the milk. The pilgrims didn’t have milk either, because someone neglected to put cows on the Mayflower before leaving England. Hence the origin of the expression” “Where’s the beef?”

            Four women and two teenage girls were directed to cook while the men were outside hootin’, hollerin’, smoking cigars and competing with the braves in foot races and jumping matches. Sounds like football to me. Soldiers were busy assembling the first Thanksgiving parade so they could blow bugles and make noise shooting muskets.

            Meanwhile back in the kitchen, the women were boiling pumpkins and seething. They had no flour, so there was no way they could make crusts for pumpkin pies. It’s no wonder they didn’t hold another Thanksgiving for 156 years.

*Final Word… In 1777, for the first time, all 13 colonies celebrated Thanksgiving at the same time to commemorate the defeat of the British at Saratoga. That was a one-shot deal too. George Washington attempted to resurrect the tradition in 1789, but was turned down by colonists, who were warned by their “foremothers” about what a hassle it was. They wanted to wait until cable was invented to watch the parade and game on TV.

Nevertheless in 1863, Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in November a national Thanksgiving Day, followed by Friday, a national day of really great sales.

In 1939, Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the day back a week to give merchants extra shopping days. Two years later the holiday returned to the last Thursday in November slot, and shopkeepers proclaimed Christmas shopping would begin the Friday after July 4.