In a 1784 letter to his daughter, Sally, Benjamin Franklin observed that the bald eagle should not be the symbol of the United States. “He is a bird of bad moral character. He does not get his living honestly,” Franklin wrote. A better bird symbol would be the turkey, Franklin wrote: “For the truth the turkey is in comparison a much more respectable bird, and withal a true original Native of America.”
Fortunately, Congress did not listen to Franklin. It would be a bit awkward to sit down to a big meal on Thanksgiving and dig into the sacred symbol of our nation. What would our enemies say? Can you imagine Jean Keene feeding flocks of wild turkeys on the Spit? Would photographers come from miles away to photograph majestic turkeys? Probably not.
On Thursday we’ll sit down to a meal with family and friends and eat not our national symbol, but a pretty good domestic fowl that cooks up nicely. So count your blessings and thank providence that we live in warm houses, have good friends and a warm meal to share — and think of those who might not. The big holiday season starts, so enjoy it, maybe with some of these Best Bets:
BEST URP BET: If you might have overdone it, recover from that tryptophan drowsiness with an invigorating 5-km run or walk on Friday for the Kachemak Bay Running Club’s Turkey Trot, a fundraiser for the Homer Community Food Pantry. It starts at 11 a.m. Friday at Two Sisters Bakery. Bring a nonperishable food item to share.
BEST GET STUFFED BET: We’re talking stockings here, as in the Pratt Museum’s annual Stocking Stuffer Party, from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday. Make Graham cracker houses, explore art activities, decorate cookies and visit with Santa Claus at the Homestead Cabin.
BEST OF COURSE BET: It’s a common story:
Outside explorers come to the arctic on some dang-fool expedition and the Alaska Native guide they take along is the only one who actually understands how to survive. That’s the basic premise of Ada Blackjack’s adventure on Wrangel Island, when she was left behind with a dying man as the rest of the expedition went off in search of help. Guess who lived? Bunnell Street Arts Center artist in residence Jack Dalton has been writing a libretto based on Blackjack’s story, “Ada: An Opera of the Arctic.” He holds a staged reading at 8 p.m. Saturday at Bunnell.
BEST GET DANCING BET: Still need to work off that big Thanksgiving meal? Get dancing with the monthly Square and Contra Dance, starting at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at West Homer Elementary School. Fairbanks band Eel House plays. Admission is $7 and kids get in free. You know the drill: Wear clean, soft-soled shoes to dance in.