Today is a special day in America, a celebration descended from that brisk autumn of 1621 when the pilgrims of Plymouth sat around a big table with the Wampanoag Indians and hammered out plans to build a casino. They received a lot of helpful and friendly revenue-sharing advice from the Teamsters, who sat at the end of the table cracking their knuckles.
And so on this day, as we pause to remember that first autumn feast, we look toward the azure sky and we say thanks and then we are hit right in the face by giant blocks of ice and snow that are sliding off the steep and magnificent Teflon-coated roof of the new U.S. Olympic Committee building.
And we give thanks.
We are thankful that Ted Haggard is back in town and is about to start a new church in our village because, as you know, we could sure use a few more churches around here.
We are also thankful that Haggard has asked us to submit possible names for his new church and, as we understand it, has narrowed the list to three finalists, including one named after his wife: Our Lady of Total Denial. Also among the finalists is the Cathedral of the Immaculate Erection and, of course, St. Peter. (Newly hired altar boy Mike Jones will be at each service, burning a funny-smelling incense as outside the church a pack of DEA meth-sniffing dogs howl and try to chew through the heavy wooden door.)
We are thankful for the long service of soon-to-be retired Focus on the Family boss James Dobson, who is experiencing health problems stemming in part from his advanced age but mostly from the whiplash he suffered when he violently turned away and ran from old buddy Haggard. (Dobson's neck injury worsened last year when he performed an abrupt about-face on the presidential candidacy of John McCain.)
I'm also thankful that even as Dobson departs, Focus' executive search committee is interviewing Haggard as a possible replacement. Insiders say Pastor Ted's first big change would be to reclaim the recently jettisoned "Love Won Out" gay conversion program and to put it firmly back into Focus' closet.
Seriously, I'm thankful today for the continued presence in our village of Focus on the Profit, I mean Family, which treats each employee like a cherished member of that family. Unless donations from all the nuts, I mean devoted followers, taper off. Then, to protect the all-important executive bonuses, many members of the "family" are fired — just as Jesus himself canceled vacations and overtime and reduced dental benefits for the disciples during the Big Recession of 0022.
I am thankful also that as our village shuts down its parks, pools, museums and senior centers, our firefighters will still be able to extinguish fires the old-fashioned way — by smothering them with their gigantic paychecks.
And I am thankful for our police officers, who, despite the big changes to the village swirling all about them, will continue to boast about skyrocketing mutual fund returns and gold investments as they Taser a madman who was going 36 in a 35-mph zone.
I am thankful, too, that on Dec. 8 Sarah Palin will appear at our Chapel Hills Mall to sign her book and will unveil her new theory that two weeks ago we not only discovered water on the moon but also found the home where President Barack Obama was born — a crater she claims is now guarded by lunar government death squads.
As a writer skilled in the use of sarrcas ... sarrkas ... sahrcazm ... making fun of things, I am thankful for the Mensa Club that is our City Council, which recently appointed to an empty Council seat former Gazette editorial writer Sean Paige (aka Douglas Bruce Jr.), who initially said his candidacy was "a joke." Apparently on us.
And as Thanksgiving ends and we move into winter, I'm thankful we won't have cracked windshields, because the city and county are so broke they can't afford their traditional winter road maintenance blend of sand, magnesium chloride and medium-sized landscape boulders.
Finally, I'd also be thankful if good Christian Ted Haggard would pull me out of my upside-down, burning vehicle whenever I slide off an icy road and into a ditch this winter. I'd be even more thankful if he pulled me by my arms.