The Watering Hole: Wednesday, November 21, 2012: A Thanksgiving Tale

Once Upon A Time, in a Land Far, Far Away (for that is how all fairy tales are supposed to begin) a King sent out a proclamation declaring that for one day out of three hundred and sixty five, all of his subjects are to stop work and give thanks to God for having blessed them with the abundance that the King has given them.

And so it came to be that throughout the Kingdom, for one day a year, people stopped work and gathered together in their villages to give their thanks to God for everything the King blessed them to have. But time, it seems, changes everything, and so, too, did this sacred day of giving thanks. As villages grew larger, families stopped coming to the communal meal and celebrated on their own, with their own. Soon, it became almost an unwritten contest, to see which families could pile the most food on one table. Even the King was swept up, and always had to provide the greatest banquet of all.

But for the poor, who once dined at the communal meal, the day became a day to remind them even more poignantly of the things they did not enjoy – having enough to eat being chief among them. As the richest fed their table scraps to their dogs, children of the poor still cried themselves to sleep with an empty stomach.

Then, one day, the unthinkable was thought of. The Prince who was not heir to the throne (for he was second born) asked a question at the banquet of Giving Thanks held by the King himself. There, in front of his brothers and sisters and cousins and wives and all the nobles and all their families (for it was a very large banquet indeed) stood up and asked,

“Father, why are we Giving Thanks this day?” The room grew suddenly quiet, for no one ever dared to speak to the King without having first been spoken to.

The King stopped, mouth open, a fork-full of roast goose suspended midway between the plate and his palate. He set the fork down and slowly raised a glass of his finest wine and took a long draught. Setting the goblet down, the King looked up at the ceiling and spoke,

“Why, to give thanks to God for the abundance I have given to each of you.” Everyone applauded and murmured in approval.

“But Father,” and this was unthinkable, for no one ever challenged the King once He made a pronouncement. “But Father,” the Prince continued, “you have given us nothing.”

No one made a sound. Even the dogs stopped gnawing on their bones.

“Everything we have, this food, this castle, our clothes, our riches…everything came from the labors of those who work for you….for us.”

An uncomfortable fidgeting filled the Great Hall. Almost unseen in the shadows, the servant girls bowed their heads, as if in shame.

“I challenge each one of you,” the Prince grew bolder, “to look at your hands. Go ahead, look at them. Fine and smooth and white and clean; never having seen a day’s labor tilling the soil or weaving the cloth or baking the bread.”

There was a rustling around the Hall as some looked at their hands, some hid their hands, and children held their hands up so their mothers could see. The Prince took a nearby servant girl by the arm and escorted her forward.

“Look at her hands.” Nobles averted their eyes. “Look at her hands!” the Prince commanded, holding the servant girl’s arms out for all to see. “She has done more work in an hour this day then all of us put together.” the Prince paused, then added, “Myself included.”

The King rose, a long, slow rising, one befitting his regal character. “Son.” He spoke with the voice of power and authority. “Son,” the King’s voice softened. “It is her station in life. Just as you have yours, we all have ours.” The King waved to the entire room.

“And why is that, Father?” the Prince spoke earnestly, “A happenstance of birth? What makes her any different than my sister, other than her being born into poverty while my sister was born into wealth?’

“But that makes all the difference in the world!” a noble shouted out.

“Silence!” commanded the King. The noble sat, red-faced. “What, indeed….?” the King muttered, almost inaudibly.

“If we are to give thanks to God,” the Prince addressed the assemblage, “then we must give our thanks for the likes of her, and for everyone who toils for our gain.” The King nodded in approval.

“My son speaks well.” the King stood and proclaimed. Everyone applauded.

“I am not finished!” the Prince’s eyes flashed with that flash of righteous indignation seldom seen amongst men who compromise comfort for truth. Some women gasped at his boldness.

“Even as we speak, even as we dine, your subjects starve!” the Prince looked his father directly in the eyes. “Giving thanks must be more than mere words, more than a hollow prayer to God.” The Prince’s steel-blue eyes fixed upon the blue-gray of his father’s. “Giving thanks must be more than one day in three-sixty-five.”

“Giving thanks must be every day of every year. Giving thanks must be making sure that every, every subject has enough to eat, has a roof over their heads and has decent clothes to wear!”

“And how do you propose I do that!?!” the King roared. The nobles, who have felt the King’s wrath before, shrank back.

“I don’t know. You’re the King. You figure it out.” the Prince replied, comically, as he was want to do in moments of tension. Stifled laughter echoed in the distant reaches of the Great Hall. Whether from a noble or servant, no one could tell.

The Prince sat down, still looking at his father.

The King, still standing, fiddled with his food with his fork and knife. Nobles glanced around, furtively, their wives quietly hushing the children. The Prince’s sister looked at him, then at the servant girl, then down at her own unblemished hands.

The King set down his utensils and picked up the large carving knife next to the boar. “My son,” he said, at last, “come here.” The King waved at the Prince with the knife. More than one face blanched at that moment, but not the Prince’s, who rose and walked to his father’s side.

“My son,” the King began, “what separates us from those who toil for our gain is naught but a happenstance of birth.” Some gasps were heard. “But!” the King looked around the room, “But that should not stop us from Giving Thanks!” The gasps turned to sighs of relief. “Thanks to God, for the blessings He has bestowed upon us!” Applause broke out. “And chief!…” the King paused long enough for the applause to stop, “and chief amongst those blessings are those who toil, whose hands are like that servant girl’s, calloused and worn and dirty and untrimmed. Without her and her kindred, I, you, none of us, would have what we have come to believe is our birthright!” This time it was the King’s eyes that flashed with righteous indignation.

“Your words are well-spoke.” the King tapped the Prince’s breast with the carving knife. “And you have much passion on the subject. And, as you have so eloquently noted, I am the King, so I have figured it out.” he paused for effect. For a moment, it seemed as if no one dare breathe until the King spoke.

You figure it out!” the King roared in laughter. The nobles joined, nervously at first, as did their wives, then growing in enthusiasm. Children took the moment to shovel more tasty morsels into their mouths. Eventually the laughter subsided.

“I’m serious,” said the King. “By Christmas Morn I want you to present a plan that will ensure each and every one of my subjects has enough food to each, a place to stay and decent clothes to wear.”

“I will, father.” replied the Prince, who had already given much thought to such a plan.

*****

Fairy Tales are supposed to end with “And they all lived happily ever after” but this is not a true fairy tale. It has a beginning, a middle, and the promise of an end, but the end’s not written. It is still a hope, a dream, a wish that has yet to come true.

132 thoughts on “The Watering Hole: Wednesday, November 21, 2012: A Thanksgiving Tale

  1. I’m watching Patrick Murphy (guy who defeated Allen West) on The Ed Show, and he’s supposedly a CPA but he just said something that sounded stupid and disingenuous to me.
    “…we’re going to have to really look at our tax code from scratch. I said the million dollars because I believe so many S-Corps, there’s so many businesses out there that want to keep that money invested in their companies. That’s why I have the line at a million dollars.”

    He’s referring to the low limit of income above which taxes should be raised, of course. Now, why would the money be taxed as income if the S-Corp reinvested it into the business? The only money that is taxed is the amount removed from the business as personal income. This guy sounded like just another protector of the wealthy to me, even if it’s only the mid-wealthy.

  2. That’s a good tale and it is true. There’s a big difference between a progressive and a conservative. The progressive will use their wealth to give back to the community whereas a conservative hides their wealth in off-shore tax shelters.

  3. You made me cry BnF. I will remember tomorrow that a truly thankful heart is one which desires to give more generously out of the abundance we are thankful for.
    Happy Birthday, a little late.

  4. The middle east is on fire, again, and I can’t help but wonder if all this turmoil is the result of years of US meddling in the area for the purpose of securing oil. The purpose of Israel being “our friend” is to keep an eye on the Arab nations. We all know that Israel has “the bomb” but our government turns a blind eye to that fact. The Arab Spring is changing the balance of power in the area which makes Israel more vulnerable. I just hope that we stay out of this mess. If the fundies want to get involved, then they can go over there and do their thing but leave us and the rest of the world out of it.

  5. My apologies to the kind people here at the Zoo….

    I went shopping for supplies and discovered i had made an error in posting the Bloody Mary recipe.

    I use a 64 oz bottle of Clamato, not a liter as previously published….

    you may stone me now…

    • TtT,

      Thanks. This story, I think, begs for the re-telling of it. Truth be told, I was merely a conduit in the writing of it…it litterally wrote itself in a couple of hours. When I started, I had no idea of where it would go, or what I would write about. I just felt moved to write a story about giving thanks – and this is where the Muse led me.

      There’s a lesson in here, and a hope. A hope that someday, those in power will be like the King – wise enough to realize just what, and to whom, we should be thankful for. – and this applies equally to those who believe in God and those who don’t.

      It’s a story that’s not finished yet – and won’t be, as long as there are those who suffer through no fault of their own.

      (would that this story would go viral…sigh…maybe someday….)

  6. Excellent piece, BnF. I have long been puzzled by the rich. How they can live in the lap of luxury, pampered and coddled in a world full of things they are utterly incapable of doing. The buildings they live in, the furniture they use, even the food they eat; all beyond their talents to supply other than by waving money. And totally blind to that fact.

    I do believe we in America have Peter Principled ourselves to the edge of oblivion.

  7. Morning Nutjobs

    The earth is obviously 7,000 years old

    All that Bible stuff is literally true

    I reject evolution for the sake of evolution and reject that life on this planet, let alone the existence of this universe, is some random act. I reject that we are little better than the animals we evolved from because I reject that we evolved from anything other than God’s own mind. We were created in his image. We did not evolve into it. The only people certain in their belief on this matter are those who accept theory as fact and Truth as mythology.

    h/t obviously to LGF

    • Senator ‘get off my lawn’ and Senator ‘my mint julip is too warm’ can go Cheney themselves. Soledad should pull them on her show and rhetorically disembowel them – but they won’t because they are gutless shites.

    • Then: The brillance that is Sarah – the chosen one of the goopers…

      Now: GrampsMcCain has a difficult time accepting Susan Rice for SoS stating Rice isn’t qualified.

      Gramps crawl back under the covers and stay irrelevant and out of sight!

  8. Cease-fire reached in Gaza conflict

    The cease-fire, announced Wednesday night in a joint news conference in Cairo with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr, is scheduled to take effect at 9 p.m. (2 p.m. ET).

  9. It might be the woo woo crowd with their planetary alignment ideas and the Age of Aquarius stuff and the end of the Mayan calendar cycle are truly portents of some big changes for mankind. Toss in the global climate change along with the diminished supply of readily available natural resources and it becomes clear that major changes have to be on the near horizon.

    For the first time in global history (that we have recorded) we are sort of as Jimmy Buffet said,”the cannons don’t thunder, there’s nothing to plunder, we’re an over 40 victim of fate”. There are no new frontiers to speak of. The easily inhabitable and plundered areas have all been done and overdone. In a crude analogy we have shit in every room of the house, raided every pantry and baby, its cold outside.

    The silly idea that God is going to clean up after us? Entirely possible but it is more likely we will be part of that clean up. We may very well be entering a new age but it won’t be a pretty one. At least not to begin. There is a lot of deadwood to be pruned and cleaned away.

  10. An update on the procedure and a small warning. The procedure is working somewhat as advertised. Back pain levels have dropped significantly, ability to walk and stand is very much improved. The warning is without that distraction my mind is much more free to wander into areas that may provoke odd comments. (You may have noticed)

      • Ebb, the worrisome part is while the injections drop the pain they do nothing for the conditions that were causing the pain. The doctor who did the procedure explained that the arthritis is actually trying to fuse the joints (which may take several years) and by numbing the pain I am actually undoing that effort daily, thus extending the process for years. Not to mention making it possible for me to do something stupid because it no longer hurts.

  11. So?

    A few hundred years ago a bunch of religious fundamentalists, with little or no knowledge of farming or living off the land, crossed an ocean to farm and live off a land they knew nothing about. They ignored the advice of the friendly natives and were facing starvation entering their first winter. A winter like none they had ever seen. The native rulers, seeing that these people were about to starve, imposed a tax on their citizens and gathered up all the food and furs and blankets they could spare to give to these starving strangers. This event is celebrated by the descendents of these strangers to this day while the friendly natives were repaid with genocide.

    • One party would be called the ‘Republicans’ – the ones who denied basic facts of nature and prayed for ‘God to provide’ and the other party would be Democrats…. who filled with compassion, leveraged a fair way of caring for others less fortunate than themselves, selflessly…..

      … which ones where the Christians again?

  12. Yo Gramps, would you like some crow with that Rice?

    The cranky douchebag now acknowledges there is no evidence that Susan Rice was responsible for editing CIA talking points after the Benghazi attack, and that the DNI gave her what she subsequently went on TV with. End of scandal. No formal retraction or apology of course:

    ” Today’s news comes just a week after McCain went on national television and claimed that Rice’s “talking points came from the White House, not from the DNI. He added on Fox that “I think it’s patently obvious that the talking points that Ambassador Rice had didn’t come from the CIA. It came from the White House.” For weeks, McCain has lambasted the administration for engaging in “either a cover-up or the worst kind of incompetence” on the Benghazi attack.”

    Of course, McCain believed it was perfectly obvious that Saddam had WMDs in Iraq.

    http://thinkprogress.org/security/2012/11/20/1225461/mccain-rice-benghazi-talking-points/?mobile=nc

    • It will make no difference. The only people who actually bought his crap are the same people who just figure “the libruls got to him”. Retractions and corrections actually serve to reinforce their wrong beliefs.

      BTW. Black guy in the White House.

  13. Remember long, long ago, (maybe 3 years ago) those halcyon days of innocence, when Black Friday sales started on a day called “Friday”? Yeah, it’s apparently been moved to Wednesday.

    • Well, here the schools were out today, so some parents took PTO so they wouldn’t have to find sitters, so they had a day to shop if they wanted.

      It’s all about getting those dollars out of consumers’ pockets before the competitor gets them.

  14. I still find it amusing that the freaks who whine about a “war on Christmas” if a company doesn’t force their employees to say “merry Christmas” don’t even peep about those same stores forcing their employees to work on a national holiday.

  15. An interesting story about the “librul media”. There’s very little specific information in the story but I wonder if their resignations have to do with not being allowed to call lies “lies”.

    • Vicious little brats.

      Perfectly stated. UnAmerican also comes to mind!
      They are such bitter, small-minded persons. Soon enough they’ll realize Obama has four more years!

      • It’s like they have all the worst qualities of a toddler who has just discovered the power of tantrums and adolescents indulging in their cruelty to rise in the pecking order. Perhaps the most maddening thing is that I end up feeling bad when I realize that I probably wouldn’t spare any of them a mouthful of spit if they were on fire.

  16. The Very First Americans

    November 21, 2012
    Newt and Callista Gingrich

    It was 392 years ago this month that a small band of religious pilgrims from England agreed in writing how they would govern their new settlement at Plymouth. Their covenant began, “In the name of God, Amen.”

    Today, we know their agreement as the Mayflower Compact, and these pioneers as the Pilgrims.

    They would have considered themselves among the earliest English settlers in the colonies — but in fact, they were some of the very first Americans.
    [. . .]

    Guess we always knew them damn Injuns wasn’t (and still ain’t!) Amurkans.

    Disgusting fuckers, those Gingriches. Bote of dem.

    • Yeah, except those danged Hispanics settled St Augustine in 1565 and Santa Fe in 1598. So if any eurotrash wants to try and claim rights to America, the Hispanics have it.

    • If one were to be honest, the English speaking people were the last Europeans to find America. The Scandihoovians and Irish were first followed by the Spanish and French. The English speakers didn’t come into play until they figured they had someplace to dump their heretical trash.

      • There are very good reasons to believe that the Basques were among the earliest European visitors to the Western Hemisphere, in their pursuit of the great Medieval commodity, salt cod. By all means read Kurlansky’s brilliant book, Cod.

        • Cod? Oh yeah. I remember eating cod. Our grandchildren won’t. They will get to reminisce about their favorite minnow recipes because every type of fish that grows to a large size will be effectively extinct. And don’t even get me started about what they might find in a can of “tuna”.

    • And the first Georgians were English prisoners, culled from debtor prisons while the English puritans were fleeing European suppression of their psychotic interpretations of religion. There is a reason they didn’t have anything when they landed in America.

  17. Another record high temp today and at least 50F tomorrow. Then the bottom is predicted to fall out and and we should only hit “normal” on Friday. The really weird thing about all this weird, though very enjoyable, weather is that I think there’s more green grass now than there was at the end of August.

  18. Robertson Admits he Blew Election Prediction he Received from God

    In January, televangelist Pat Robertson told 700 Club viewers that in his annual New Year’s “conversation” with God, the Almighty had revealed to him who the next president would be. Up through Election Day, Robertson harshly criticized President Obama and the Democratic Party while praising Mitt Romney. Then, Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network predicted a GOP sweep, leaving Robertson utterly confounded by Obama’s victory.
    …Robertson admitted that he sometimes misses God’s message…

  19. I’ve been working in the shops (behind the scenes) getting things ready for the shopping weekend (Friday thru Monday), and while I’m going to be offering a public 15% off coupon code for the general public, I wanted to let y’all know the coupon codes for friends and family:

    In Z Bag: IZBFFNOV12 (20% off)
    Honeybump Soaps: HBSFFNOV12 (15% off)

    These codes won’t be active until sometime late Thursday evening, and of course, no obligation.

    I’ll post this again tomorrow for anyone who missed it today.

    • Don’t get me started!

      The worst possible case predicted in the 1980s has been met or exceeded in every instance. And? A tiny portion of the population still continues to deny the reality unfolding all around them because Al Gore made that goddamned movie.

      “Look at a fucking thermometer, assholes!”

      • It is rather sombering that we may well have already set in motion that which will cause the extinction of our species within 100-200 years

        So?

        Give thanks for what you have here and now. For nothing else matters….

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