Thursday, November 23, 2017

A Thanksgiving Day Quiz


Editor’s Note:
Many citizens have a limited understanding of American history and our unique form of constitutional government. The greater this knowledge, the better our citizens will be able to exercise the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.
Today, Americans will celebrate their oldest tradition: the observance of Thanksgiving, which dates back to 1621. This quiz, from the Ashbrook Center at Ashland University in Ohio, provides an opportunity to test your knowledge of the history and customs of the nearly 400-year-old holiday.

1. The first credited Thanksgiving was celebrated at the Plymouth Plantation in Massachusetts. How long was the first Thanksgiving feast?
A. One day
B. Three days
C. Five days
D. One week

2. What was the name of the Native American leader of the Wampanoag Indian tribe who forged an alliance with the English settlers and attended the First Thanksgiving feast with 90 of his men?
A. Massasoit
B. Powhatan
C. Sacagawea
D. Geronimo

3. The Pilgrims arrived at what would become Plymouth Plantation aboard the Mayflower. The ship on which they originally set sail was taking on water so the passengers and crew transferred to the Mayflower. What was the name of the ship on which the Pilgrims originally sailed?
A. Mary Celeste
B. RMS Carpathia
C. Mary Rose
D. Speedwell

4. George Washington was asked by the U.S. Congress to establish a day of Thanksgiving. What was the year of America’s first Thanksgiving, as designated by the federal government?
A. 1788
B. 1789
C. 1790
D. 1791

5. While Washington declared the first Day of Thanksgiving to be observed by the government, which president made it a national holiday?
A. Theodore Roosevelt
B. James Madison
C. Abraham Lincoln
D. Ulysses S. Grant

6. What is the name of the author and editor who led the national campaign to have Thanksgiving declared a national holiday?
A. Sarah Josepha Hale
B. Walt Whitman
C. Jacob Riis
D. Nellie Bly

7. Which common Thanksgiving food likely was not served at the first Thanksgiving?
A. Turkey
B. Ham
C. Pumpkin
D. Corn

8. In 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared that Thanksgiving would be moved up an entire week, at the request of Fred Lazarus Jr. This was done to make the Christmas shopping season longer and more profitable for businesses. What company did Lazarus own?
A. Lord & Taylor
B. Sears, Roebuck and Company
C. F.W. Woolworth Company
D. Macy’s

9. Which of America’s Founding Fathers wanted the turkey to be America’s national bird, rather than the eagle?
A. George Washington
B. Samuel Adams
C. Benjamin Franklin
D. James Madison

10. Which president first pardoned a turkey at the urging of his son who had taken a liking to the bird and given it the name “Tom”?
A. Theodore Roosevelt
B. Abraham Lincoln
C. Ulysses S. Grant
D. Grover Cleveland


About the Author
Roger L. Beckett is executive director of the Ashbrook Center at Ashland University in Ashland, Ohio.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

My Dad - The Tough Guy?

Told live at a Moth show at Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York, NY


Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. I remember the first scar I ever got—it was actually two scars.

I was six years old, teaching my little buddy next door how to golf. I’d taken my dad’s bag of golf clubs and dragged it out in the yard.

I wanted to show my friend how to hit the ball, so I stood behind him and had him choke up on the nine iron. I was all gung-ho to be a teacher. I coached him on the backswing and then the follow-through. And then he whaled back and hit me in the head. The nine iron took a chunk out of the back right quarter of my scalp and, on the follow-through, hit me on the other side. I had two giant flaps of skin peeled off my skull.

The blood just starts pouring down. I put my hands up, and I feel the soft, wet part and then the little bristly, hairy part. I pushed my scalp back up and went running into my house.

I’ll never forget the look on my mother’s face. She’s in the kitchen with her cat’s-eye glasses, talking on one of those black rotary-dial phones. She just let go of the phone. I had blood running down my arms and all over my little white T-shirt. She made this dying pigeon noise and called my dad, told him to meet us at the emergency room.

We pull up to the ER at Lackland Air Force Base. My dad was a drill sergeant. Rolled-up sleeves, the tan uniform, the Smokey the Bear hat.

His job all day long was to yell at guys, tell them that they were no good and that his grandmother could do everything they could do, but better.

He comes in and says, “Where’s my son?” And there I am on the table, drenched in blood.

The doctor says, “We’ve gotta shave a li’l bit there, and then we gotta stitch him up.”

And my dad’s there and he’s holding my foot. He’s looking at me. He’s like, “Are you OK?”

But I heard, “ARE YOU OK?”

So I was like, “Yes, sir! I’m OK. No problem.”

The doctor tells my dad, “Stay here. I gotta go get the needle.”

My dad looks at me, and then his eyes roll back in his head … and he drops. I think he’s trying to make me laugh, trying to give me a little encouragement. I’m laughing.

But on the way down, my father hit his head on the end of that metal table so bad, it caught his eye socket and ripped.

I’m lying on the table, saying, “Dad, that’s funny. Um, where are you?”

And then the surgeon comes in, and he’s like, “What the … !”

My dad was unconscious in a giant pool of blood, his uniform completely drenched. The doctor lowers the table; we get my dad onto the thing. He’s stitching my dad up, and I’m watching and helping. And my dad is out cold. He gets 16 stitches from the corner of his eye all the way back up.

Then the surgeon says, “Help me put your dad in the wheelchair.”

And then the surgeon stitches up my superficial scalp wounds. Once I’m all stitched up, he wraps my whole head. I’ve got the Q-tip-looking head with the blood spots soaking through.

My dad is still out cold, and the surgeon goes, “Just push him out to your mom, OK?”

And my mother is in the waiting room. I come out pushing my father in the wheelchair, but I’m not very tall, so I’m kinda looking over the side. I’ll never forget the look on my mother’s face.

Thank goodness she was sitting down when she fainted.

Ed Gavagan, 54, owns a furniture and design company. He lives in New York City with his wife and daughter.