Thanksgiving In 1963

Billy B. was working overtime for Neva J. to produce the finest Thanksgiving Celebration that had ever been experienced. Neva J. had decided to pull out all of the stops for Thanksgiving 1963. JFK had been assassinated just a few days prior…and the nation was in mourning… Neva J. had loved JFK. She had been convinced that all of the hopes and prayers of the United States were wrapped up in the personage of President Kennedy. There was a framed photo of the President in the living room and he was held in reverence. Neva J. had wept for the past several days. The assassination of her President had been as chilling as the loss of a close family member. In point of fact…it had been more earth-shaking than the loss of any family member that she had experienced…thus far… Thus her determination to have a memorable Thanksgiving was redoubled. Billy B.’s dad was a goose hunter. He had gone out early morning of the holiday and bagged three prime geese. After skinning them and preparing for roasting…Neva J. placed one in her gas oven…before daylight.

Aunt Vema and aunt Wanda and aunt Guelda were coming for Roast Goose Dinner…as well as uncle Ed and uncle Bill. Billy B.’s dad had prepared no less than three geese for the feast…and two of them he would cook in his new smoker. Uncle Bill had assisted him with the Dressing of the three geese. Uncle Bill was a man of few words and many wide smiles. He had the habit of placing his tongue between a gap in his bottom teeth and moving it in and out of the gap while he sat smiling and listening to Junior’s stories. Junior was what uncle Bill and indeed all of Neva J.’s family called Billy B.’s father. Junior and Bill had a bond that came from both fighting in the Second World War. They understood what it was like to see your buddies die…and to fear for your life…every minute of the day.

Chet and Thelma were on their way to the Bump home. Neva J. had invited them for Thanksgiving due to Chet’s dad, Carol, having passed away just six weeks earlier. Also coming to dinner were Abigail, who had been called ‘One-Eye’, and Rosie…who had purchased a new Moo Moo for the Holiday. The dining room table was groaning under the weight of the ‘Three Geese’ and the plum pudding and oyster dressing…and German’s Chocolate Cake and Neva J.’s special Coffee Cake. Everyone’s thoughts were on the terrible death of their President…and what lay in store for them and their Country.

President Johnson was on the television wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and assuring them that he was at the helm of the ship of state and that he would steer them into calm waters. They wondered if he had the ability to do so? Lady Bird sat beside him…smiling a practiced smile…whoever heard of a First Lady named…Lady Bird…

So Billy B. and those assembled joined their hands in unity as Neva J. offered Grace. She thanked the Lord for their many blessings and the food that they were about to eat. She said that none of them understood the senseless assassination of their beloved President…JFK…and that they wished that they could roll back time…just a few days…in order to warn him and his lovely wife Jackie of what tragedy was lurking around the corner for them. She acknowledged that miracles happened every day and why couldn’t they have a Thanksgiving Miracle?

Chet asked if someone could pass him the Plum Pudding and a plate of roast goose. Uncle Bill and Uncle Ed and Junior…were enjoying Grand Marnier…a Holiday Favorite in the Bump home. Aunt Wanda announced that she had just seen JFK on the TV…carving turkey…

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