Thanksgiving Trivia

I found a wonderful article at that you may be able to use to discuss Thanksgiving trivia either during or after the Thanksgiving feast when everyone has finally pushed away from the table.

Fact or Fiction: One of America’s Founding Fathers thought the turkey should be the national bird of the United States.

Fact. In a letter to his daughter sent in 1784, Benjamin Franklin suggested that the wild turkey would be a more appropriate national symbol for the newly independent United States than the bald eagle.  He argued that the turkey was “a much more respectable Bird,” “a true original Native of America,” and “though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage.”

Fact or Fiction: In 1863, Abraham Lincoln became the first American president to proclaim a national day of thanksgiving.

Fiction. George Washington, John Adams and James Madison all issued proclamations urging Americans to observe days of thanksgiving, both for general good fortune and for particularly momentous events

Fact or Fiction: Turkeys are slow-moving birds that lack the ability to fly.

Fiction (kind of).  Domesticated turkeys cannot fly, and their pace is limited to a slow walk. Female domestic turkeys, which are typically smaller and lighter than males, can move somewhat faster. Wild turkeys, on the other hand, are much smaller and more agile. They can reach speeds of up to 20-25 miles per hour on the ground and fly for short distances at speeds approaching 55 miles per hour. They also have better eyesight and hearing than their domestic counterparts.

Fact or Fiction: The movement of the turkey inspired a ballroom dance.

Fact. The turkey trot, modeled on that bird’s characteristic short, jerky steps, was one of a number of popular dance styles that emerged during the late 19th and early 20th century in the United States. The two-step, a simple dance that required little to no instruction, was quickly followed by such dances as the one-step, the turkey trot, the fox trot and the bunny hug, which could all be performed to the ragtime and jazz music popular at the time.

Thanksgiving means something different for everyone.  For me, it’s about being thankful for family, friends and country.  It’s about being in the kitchen preparing a meal to be shared with those who are dear to you.  For my son, it’s all about frying 80 turkeys in “The Beast” for family, friends and clients.  The Beast can fry 10 turkeys at a time.  As the frying progresses, the event turns into a party.  Every year he designs a tee shirt to commemorate the event and displays a silly inflatable turkey in the front yard.

Frying turkeys in “The Beast”

And at the end of the day when everyone has gone and the house is quiet and if the weather is cold, I’ll light a fire and read Robert Frost’s Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening. 

Whose woods these are I think I know. 

His house is in the village though;

He will not see me stopping here

To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer

To stop without a farmhouse near

Between the woods and frozen lake

The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake

To ask if there is some mistake.

The only other sound’s the sweep

Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.

The perfect end to a perfect day!

–Lorre Lei


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