Editorial Archive: A Thanksgiving message from 1957

  • A giant turkey float squeezes between buildings as the 31st annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade moves down Broadway near 37th Street in New York on Nov. 28, 1957. AP

Thursday, November 23, 2017

(The following editorial originally appeared in the “Concord Daily Monitor” on Wednesday, Nov. 27, 1957.)

Thanksgiving traditionally is a day for family reunions, long hours of toil for a housewife and anticipation of winter.

Technology has brought much aid to the toilers in the kitchen preparing dinner, but always there will be fretful concern over the turkey that serves as a center piece, not to mention the gravy, mashed potatoes, onions, turnips and desserts.

Thanksgiving is more than a time for a bountiful feast. It is a reminder that summer is gone, that there will be an increasing nip in the air and that there will be many days when snow will be descending from overcast skies.

Brooks and rivers and ponds soon will be ice-coated, and memories of summer already are buried under piles of fallen leaves that await a blanket of snow. Clouds will hang low, somber shades will brood over the landscape and the changing season will bring wind and storms.

Already trees are denuded of foliage and the green of crops has been drained from fields. On farms and in cities preparations are being made for the oncoming time when there will be snow and cold.

Winter is near, but houses will radiate the cheerfulness of Thanksgiving. There are strange and contradictory legends surround the turkey that will grace the table, but most of us are content to accept it for what it is, and to leave confused arguments over its origin to the scholars.

The New York Times has gathered together a mass of information on this meaty bird. It points out it is an American native unknown elsewhere until the 16th century. The name turkey came from the early discoverers’ belief that the America they found was Asia and the Times’ researchers express wonderment that under this misapprehension the bird was not called a Cathay hen. More confusion developed when it was given the scientific name Meleagris, which means guinea hen.

The researchers say a turkey once was grown for its feathers, not its flesh, and Spaniards took turkeys to Spain for distribution throughout Europe. Benjamin Franklin is reported to have been so intrigued with the succulent turkey that he tried to get it accepted as the national bird but lost out to the bald eagle.

Misnamed or not, in New Hampshire the turkey continues to be a symbol of Thanksgiving, linked by tradition to the observance of the November holiday.