The Ghost of Thanksgivings Past

I’ve rambled a lot over the years regarding my gratitude for everything I have, as well as everything I’ve experienced over the years, good and bad. Each incident we pass through affects us for the rest of our lives. They help to shape us and we add those moments to our memory banks, to cherish and to reflect upon.

Thanksgiving is a truly wonderful holiday. Kudos to Mr. Lincoln for recognizing that we have an incredible bounty for which our souls need to appreciate. I’m not talking material possessions. I mean sunrises like the one this morning, the fresh smell of the rain, the giggling of the neighbor girls in the street. 

With the way people embrace Christmas, I fear that the power of Thanksgiving is gradually being diminished and it’s becoming the holiday that just gets in the way of the Big C.  That was evident when stores started opening up on Thanksgiving Day to fuel the frenzy even more. When I was a kid, that would have been unthinkable. For that matter, when I was growing up, stores (including the mall) were closed on Sundays. Can you imagine? If I allow myself to be visited by the Ghost of Thanksgivings Past, I would be treated to a return visit of some pretty good times in my life.As a kid, I’d see me sneaking the green olives with the pimentos from the nicely decorated table. I’d smell that green bean casserole with the Funyons on top. During the years we went over to my aunt & uncle’s house, where my paternal grandmother also lived, there were garage dances after dinner, with a record player spinning polkas or whatever music they enjoyed dancing to in those days.

In my early 20s, I was playing radio in Yakima and we did a promotion called, “KQOT Gives You The Bird.” We gave away turkeys by going to a phone booth and making a call to the station. The first person to arrive there won the turkey. There was our WKRP moment when two people arrived at the same time and it made for great radio. There was also the time that one of the sales guys called in, there was accident involving two people trying to be the first and the person phoning in quickly departed the scene, for liability’s sake.

In my late 20s, the Ghost would show me the year of the big Thanksgiving Day windstorm where we lost power and I was forced to barbecue our turkey for Thanksgiving dinner that year. I’ve been preparing my turkeys that way ever since.

Several years later, during the Murdock, Hunter & Alice days on KLSY, we interviewed Chef Paul Prudhomme several days before Turkey Day and asked how he was preparing his turkey. He told us he was brining it for 24 hours before baking or barbecuing it. A gallon of water, a cup of sugar, a cup of salt and flavorings–you pick: onions, garlic and the magic ingredient, Liquid Smoke. That has become my standard procedure.

One year, yours truly had to spend the day before Thanksgiving dressed up like a giant turkey, along with my broadcast partner, Bruce Murdock. We first had our legs shaved on the air, and then took our turkey costumes downtown and walked around as penance for the guys losing KLSY’s “Battle of the Sexes.”

In these later years (now officially qualifying for geezerhood) I find myself turning into a sentimental pile of mush, deeply realizing how precious time can be. You can really look at things two ways: Looking around and noticing all the things you don’t have, or realizing the endless things you already possess. I prefer the latter. Frankly, it’s a much better way to live.

The Ghost of Thanksgivings Past has nothing but good things to show me and, once again, for that I am grateful.  The really good news about him is that he could work 365 days a year if you’d let him, but most people choose just the one day to focus on all the things for which they could be grateful. As always, I appreciate you, the reader, for stopping by and spending a couple of moments with me. 

And what else could I say, but thank you. It only seems right.

Well, that, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Tim Hunter

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