by Bill Nye
Public Domain Books
We are now rapidly approaching the date of our great national thanksgiving. Another year has almost passed by on the wings of tireless time.
Since last we gathered about the festive board and spattered the true inwardness of the family gobbler over the table cloth, remorseless time, who knows not the weight of weariness, has sought out the good, the true and the beautiful, as well as the old, the sinful and the tough, and has laid his heavy hand upon them. We have no more fitting illustration of the great truth that death prefers the young and tender than the deceased turkey upon which we are soon to operate. How still he lies, mowed down in life’s young morn to make a yankee holiday.
How changed he seems! Once so gay and festive, now so still, so strangely quiet and reserved. How calmly he lies, with his bare limbs buried in the lurid atmosphere like those of a hippytehop artist on the west side.
Soon the amateur carver will plunge the shining blade into the unresisting bird, and the air will be filled with stuffing and half smothered profanity. The Thanksgiving turkey is a grim humorist, and nothing pleases him so well as to hide his joint in a new place and then flip over and smile when the student misses it and buries the knife in the bosom of a personal friend. Few men can retain their sang froid before company when they have to get a step ladder and take down the second joint and the merry thought from the chandelier while people are looking at them.
And what has the past year brought us? Speaking from a Republican standpoint, it has brought us a large wad of dark blue gloom. Speaking from a Democratic standpoint, it has been very prolific of fourth-class postoffices worth from $200 down to $1.35 per annum. Politically, the past year has been one of wonderful changes. Many have, during the year just past, held office for the first time. Many, also, have gone out into the cold world since last Thanksgiving and seriously considered the great problem of how to invest a small amount of actual perspiration in plain groceries.
Many who considered the life of a politician to be one of high priced food and inglorious ease, have found, now that they have the fruit, that it is ashes on their lips.
Our foreign relations have been mutually pleasant, and those who dwell across the raging main, far removed from the refining influences of our prohibitory laws, have still made many grand strides toward the amelioration of our lost and undone race. Many foreigners who have never experienced the pleasure of drinking mysterious beverages from gas fixtures and burial caskets in Maine, or from a blind pig in Iowa, or a Babcock fire extinguisher in Kansas, still enjoy life by bombarding the Czar as he goes out after a scuttle of coal at night, or by putting a surprise package of dynamite on the throne of a tottering dynasty, where said tottering dynasty will have to sit down upon it and then pass rapidly to another sphere of existence.
Many startling changes have taken place since last November. The political fabric in our own land has assumed a different hue, and men who a year ago were unnoticed and unknown are even more so now. This is indeed a healthy sign. No matter what party or faction may be responsible for this, I say in a wholly non-partisan spirit, that I am glad of it.
I am glad to notice that, owing to the active enforcement of the Edmunds bill in Utah, polygamy has been made odorous. The day is not far distant when Utah will be admitted as a State and her motto will be “one country, one flag, and one wife at a time.” Then will peace and prosperity unite to make the modern Zion the habitation of men. The old style of hand-made valley tan will give place to a less harmful beverage, and we will welcome the new sister in the great family circle of States, not clothed in the disagreeable endowment robe, but dressed up in the Mother Hubbard wrapper, with a surcingle around it, such as the goddess of liberty wears when she has her picture taken.
Crops throughout the northwest have been fairly good, though the gain yield has been less in quantity and inferior in quality to that of last year. A Democratic administration has certainly frowned upon the professional, partisan office seekers, but it has been unable to stay the onward march of the chintz bug or to produce a perceptible falling off in pip among the yellow-limbed fowls. While Jeffersonian purity and economy have seemed to rage with great virulence at Washington, in the northwest heaves and botts among horses and common, old-fashioned hollow horn among cattle have been the prevailing complaints.
And yet there is much for which we should be thankful. Many broad-browed men who knew how a good paper ought to be conducted, but who had no other visible means of support, have passed on to another field of labor, leaving the work almost solely in the hands of the vast army of novices who at the present are at the head of journalism throughout the country, and who sadly miss those timely words of caution that were wont to fall from the lips of those men whose spirits are floating through space, finding fault with the arrangement of the solar system.
The fool-killer, in the meantime, has not been idle. With his old, rusty, unloaded musket, he has gathered in enough to make his old heart swell with pride, and to this number he has added many by using “rough on rats," a preparation that never killed anything except those that were unfortunate enough to belong to the human family.
Still the fool-killer has missed a good many on account of the great rush of business in his line, and I presume that no one has a greater reason to be thankful for this oversight than I have.