We live in a great country, granted. It has saved the world more than once and we are lucky to be living in it. Though there are those, the Left, who hate it and wish it destroyed, we still honor American values, history, and the Republic. Yeah, we get that. And so on, ad nauseum.
But as a writer it is contingent upon me to write a piece on Thanksgiving. It’s this industry’s version of the Python “Contractual Obligation Album.” I will be one of many scribes extolling thanks for our lives and the opportunities this nation affords us. Thus you will read countless stories on Thanksgiving Day on those themes. That is all fine and dandy. But this is not one of those articles. While we recognize we are and should be thankful for America, our friends, and our families, I’m going to get a little more specific. When I get on a train tomorrow, on my way to spend Thanksgiving in Atlanta, I think I will ruminate on my gratitude for bourbon, capitalism, and barbecue. Not necessarily in that order.
For bourbon, I just had a couple of glasses of Woodford Reserve on the rocks coupled with a Romeo y Julieta, is America’s own sweet nectar. Unlike gin, vodka, rum, scotch, or tequila, (the last in respectful disagreement with my main squeeze) bourbon emanates from our shores. It is not a foreign inebriant of suspect origin, but a smooth ambrosia born of the hills of Kentucky and the brave lads who outran the state on the country roads of Appalachia during the moral abomination of Prohibition. It recalls a free independent people plying their wares in opposition to the supposed do-gooder bluestocking brigades of the nanny state. Its production and smoky goodness is a testament to the benefits of our second point of thankfulness, capitalism.
Aristotle said courage is the greatest virtue, as all the other virtues proceed from it. In the public sphere the same can be said for capitalism. Look around your Thanksgiving meal, your home, your street and neighborhood and glory at the beneficence of the free market. Generally a win-win proposition for all, capitalism enables free men and women to shape their own lives bereft, when the state and the market are in balance, of the dead hand of an omnipresent state. Capitalism asks for a strong work ethic, integrity, and persistence. It gives back many, not all, of the joys of living. Its proper application affords most the free time to focus on happiness in their private lives. Its result can allow the private philanthropy which creates a superior appreciation of the arts. It is one of the greatest boons to mankind ever devised. It has a direct hand in the production of, oh yes, barbecue.
What can you say about good barbecue that does it justice? Be it Carolina, Memphis, Texas, Kansas City, Alabama, or sad Northern imitations, the savory combination of grilled or smoked meats and flavorful spices and sauces is again an American discovery. No hearing of it in the annals of the Romanovs, Capets, or Hapsburgs. It also comes from the South, but is enjoyed by most. Another reminder of American ingenuity and achievement of excellence. That first gnaw into a pork rib, as if you’re biting into a meat popsicle, is the true apogee of the American culinary experience. It is sublime and, if you like it as hot as I do, also akin to a Tommy gun to the gut. Ah, barbecue.
Is there more to be thankful for? Undoubtedly. And you will read about them in other places over the next couple of days. But my three are individual choices in a land built on the idea of the individual. And that sanctity, of one individual and their rights and duties, is perhaps the best thing to contemplate on Thanksgiving Day.
P.s.- Gotta say good things about Amtrak customer service. On my way to Thanksgiving in Atlanta a DC connecting train was delayed. So they had another train make an unscheduled stop in New Carrollton just to pick me up. Really well done. Take back some of the stuff I’ve said about Amtrak. Some.