What I’d like to write:

“So many difficulties, troubles, events, tragedies and problems in our country today — in the world.

“Coming fast and furious, reported on incessantly, as in an avalanche. So many that the average American, if not directly involved and preoccupied, can at times fail to recognize and remember how great it is to be an American.

“Compared to people of so many lands and despite our problems, Americans are incredibly fortunate in so many ways. Travel today is so accessible it’s likely you have seen the evidence for yourselves. Places where many of their citizens would consider our American poor to be blessed with riches.

“Tomorrow, Thanksgiving Day, is a day when we Americans should take time actually to be grateful. We ought to give thanks far more often. Perhaps you do. In fact, I do, for I have much to be thankful for, and I bet you do, too.

“Of course, if there’s ever a Complainer’s Day, why, do I ever have a detailed list ...”

“History can only suggest what the first Thanksgiving was really like, although we can empathize with its conception: Survival when so many compatriots have died, a relative abundance of crops and a respite before onset of winter. About the only authentic reproduction of the feast as depicted in most paintings is undoubtedly the shape of the table.

“Long and straight, resulting in limited communication for each reveler as opposed to what round tables can provide. A tradition zealously held today in eateries everywhere, sadly. But I digress.

“George Washington proposed a thanksgiving. Thomas Jefferson opposed the idea. Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of thanksgiving on the last day of November.

“Franklin Roosevelt pushed the day back as a means to create a longer holiday shopping season. (It’s all his fault.) Eventually, a legal holiday was legislated, Thanksgiving Day as the fourth Thursday in November. And so, tomorrow is the day. However, if you care to, you can choose to celebrate your grand fortune on any day. Or once a month. Every now and then, or every day for a few minutes or so.

“Happy Thanksgivings to you.”

“It is widely believed — or mythicized — that the Pilgrims had (wild) turkey at their first autumn feasts. A bird they gave thanks to — and with. Nowadays almost all turkeys served up on Thanksgiving Day or whenever in America were domesticated by native peoples of North America, then taken to Europe by the Spanish, and actually then returned here by the early colonists. They’ve come a long way, baby.”

— Originally printed in the Nov. 23, 2005, Jackson Hole News

Field notes: Robin MacLeod found a snow goose Nov. 19 at the Boyle’s Hill Swan Pond. Three pheasants were sighted Saturday at Wenzel Lane in Wilson, reported Dan Carson. Patty Reilly spied a rough-legged hawk flying in the vicinity of Schofield Patent in Wilson.

Patty and Frances Clark saw three cutthroat trout in a shallow side branch of the Snake seen from the dike. Patty’s not sure the fish will be able to get out of the shallows before the ice comes. Frances also noted that the nutcrackers are up to seven at a feeder in Wilson and the red-tail hawk is still around Wenzel Lane, recently seen sitting in an aspen with five magpies perched around it.

On a drive north into the park, at the Flat Creek overlook just north of town, Frances found: about 15 trumpeter swans, four buffleheads, four ring-neck ducks, a couple of dozen mallards and a few Barrow’s golden eyes. At Schwabachers in late afternoon she spotted: two Canada jays, one belted kingfisher, and a dozen or so mallards, three widgeon and four Barrow’s golden eye in eclipse plumage.

“The blue jay has returned after a two-week hiatus,” Tim Griffith reported. “He has been to the feeders each of the past four days. The Clark’s nutcrackers continue with a high of five at one time earlier in the week.”

Another blue jay was found at 10:30 a.m. Saturday in South Park by Caroline McPhee. Joe Burke reports swans at the Skyline Pond and wondered if they are migrating birds.

Susan Marsh saw “a mule deer buck avidly following a doe. She led him around the front yard a couple of times then scampered off with him it hot pursuit.” Susan said there are nice mature bucks showing up in the Karns Meadow area, and since they are distracted they may not be watching for cars, so slow down.

Bert Raynes writes weekly on whatever suits his fancy with a dash of news on nature. Contact him at columnists@jhnewsandguide.com.

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