was the darnedest thing I've ever seen on a gridiron, and man and boy, I've
been watching 'em for thirty years. The mud oozed 'round my shoes as I stood
on the soggy sidelines at Mt. Holly Thanksgiving Day awaiting the kickoff. I
wasn't exactly happy. The prospect of squishing in goo to view the annual
turkey classic between traditional rivals of intra-county interscholastica
left me as cold as my nether extremities were moist.
I had been promising Bruce all season I would go to see him and his trumpet
in action with the Moorestown band, and this was the final game. My
procrastination was over, my excuses at an end. I was up a blind alley.
kids certainly looked smart in their natty uniforms, including the dozen or
more short-skirted lassies—majorettes, flag bearers and the like; and
Bruce did very well on his new King, and Ross' eyes glowed as he watched big
brother, smartly done up in black and gold. His cup ran over when they made
room for him up in the bandstand.
stood. And I squished. And I glowered. But not for long. Things began
happening. Within three minutes, Moorestown had scored three times without
once having possession of the ball. Three touchdowns from defense before
you could say dichlorododecaftuoroheptane.
happened this football phenomenon? I'll tell you.
the opening kickoff, the Mt. Holly receiver fumbled when tackled. A
Moorestown boy snatched the ball in the air and dashed across the goal line.
Mt. Holly's first play from scrimmage after the second kickoff was a pass deflected
by one Moorestonian into the hands of another, who sprinted into the end
zone. Again Mt. Holly received and, unable to gain, punted. Moorestown's
flashy quarterback, Bob Fish, who was playing a defensive wing and not
safety, snatched the ball over his shoulder while on a dead run toward his
own goal, wheeled, sideslipped, and in a classy exhibition of stepping
raced sixty yards for the third touchdown.
after all that, Moorestown took possession and in its first offensive bid
ripped off eighty yards in six running plays to score its first orthodox
touchdown! Final score, incidentally: 51-0.
may have been turkey day for most of us, but Moorestown made the Hollies
eat seafood: Fish and Walt Salmon were the stars of the attack. Fo'give me.
dinner afterwards was the first in twenty years that the whole family,
including Hazel's folks and mine, hasn't enjoyed together at our house.
Illness confined them to their own homes, and Ross, in his little
invocation, asked that it not happen again.
How lightly we accept it, maybe even grouse over it.
told us off in "The Triumph of Time":
brother, the gods were good to you. Sleep, and be glad while the world
endures. Be well content as the years wear through; Give thanks for life,
and the loves and lures.
should have better sense than to essay one of my rare poetic flights after
quoting Algernon Charles, but he died when I was born so he won't rnind, and
I have something to get off my chest, however belated thanksgiving
have something to say? Speak out, then; it's America,
friend, have your say.
We've no sinister OGPU, no grim NKVD to torture and banish and slay.
sweet freedom's flavor, how cherished: work and worship, write, wed as we
Best of all: precious freedom from terror; hearts tranquil, minds placid, at
you left for your labors this morning, were your
children beginning their day? Whither bound? A rice paddy for piteous toil?
No. School, life-preparing, then play.
see you tonight, Dad!" Ah yes, yes; no fears for their
safety, their pleasures; No hordes of invaders, no death-dealing bombers
imperil your home and its treasures.
Oh wondrous word., your castle inviolate, no ruthless
storm troopers defiling,
No dread tread of ominous boot-beats brings fear's tears to
faces best smiling.
very own home, peaceful haven; unsullied, a harbor
No pawn of the State, you; for shelter at mercy of some
don't like certain leaders? Well, change them; they've
no army to crush others' views;
Don't you know it's your vote wields the power; for your favor each
yours with your neighbor, no caste brands your
young ones at birth;
Our great Constitution protects us, the only criterion: worth.
too is assured us, safeguarded on Capitol Hill;
Learn and earn, work or shirk, dine and wine, play, pray—so to fashion our
lives as we will.
not so all over this world, friend: only self-imposed
limits to bide;
Innate talent, ambition mean little with liberty's vantage denied.
as you might the Muscovite be, sir; the Berber or coolie or Hessian;
What avails them their drive, their acumen, in the soul-stifling stench of
components of man-mass, individualism suppressed,
Dreary drudges without aspiration, human dignity only a jest
ability wasted, frustration the lot of crude
Unskilled, unschooled, ill-fed, ill-bred, mere existence grubbed out with
Conveniences? Empty words; labor saving devices unknown;
Central heating, bath, car, television? Lucky to have shoes of their own!
know nothing of antibiotics, of other miraculous drugs
Staving death from the wan brow of loved ones, conquering once fearsome,
your knees then, America, humbly, for the greatest of
blessings give thanks
To the Father whose light shines upon you, that you and your family are Yanks.
No need for apology; Americanism is meed;
Our task: to extend its beneficence through a world pain-wracked, sorely in
let's dedicate prayers of Thanksgiving to the challenging job that's at
Share our gladness by word, deed, and action with brethren in each troubled
everywhere happy as ours! What a wonderful cause to embrace.
Our best effort to gain this millenium we owe in return for God's Grace.
this then be our heart's undertaking: freedom's seeds sown in worldwide
Here's a hope and a prayer to All-Highest: May Thanksgiving become