According to the National Turkey Federation — and what source would be more appropriate on Thanksgiving? — Americans will consume an esimated 44 million turkeys today.
Consumption of the birds, which Benjamin Franklin famously once favored over the bald eagle as a symbol for the United States, has nearly doubled over the past 25 years. Other NTF factoids include:
• Wild turkeys can fly for short distances up to 55 miles per hour and can run 20 miles per hour.
• Each typically is made up of 70 percent white meat and 30 percent dark meat.
• Turkeys also may not be the reason for that all-important afternoon nap.
“Many people report drowsiness after eating Thanksgiving dinner,” reads the NTF website. “While turkey often receives the blame, recent studies suggest that carbohydrate-rich meals may cause sleepiness by increasing the number of tryptophans in the brain.
“Yet, the unusually large, multi-coursed, carbohydrate-rich meal most people eat on Thanksgiving is more likely the cause.”
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Although mealtime overindulgence is common at this time of year, a slightly more constructive tradition is using the holiday as a time to give thanks. The health and happiness of friends and family would top any such list, but the following are a few additional entries for which we are particularly appreciative:
• Reports that Aaron Rodgers’ broken clavicle is healing relatively well. We’ll go out on a limb by saying he has a good short of winning the quarterback job back upon his return.
• A burgeoning cultural scene in Eau Claire and across the Chippewa Valley.
• Books; the real kind made out of paper and glue.
• Free speech.
• Comfortable shoes, athletic and otherwise.
• Cellphones, though the once-popular clamshell, or flip, design has never been improved upon.
• The fact that the NCAA football selection committee would be hard-pressed to deny Wisconsin — should the Badgers prove to be an undefeated Big Ten champion — a spot in the final four.
• Electricity; more specifically, air conditioning.
• Employers, teachers and anyone else who provides employment opportunities, work-readiness tools or job skills.
• Remote controls.
• Music, theater, films and binge-worthy television programs such as “Stranger Things.”
• Bacon, coffee and pizza. In that order.
• Caller ID.
• Brick-and-mortar retail stores and buy-local trends.
• Toothpaste, deodorant and basically anything in the personal hygiene family.
• Opposable thumbs. Texting would be a distinct challenge without them.
• Youth sports coaches and officials.
• Anyone who volunteers at charities and nonprofits.
• Farmers markets.
• The readers and advertisers that make this publication possible.
• A nation that’s resilient enough to not let a temporary culture of diviseveness make us forget that we’re all in this together.
We apologize for any omissions from this list, as time and space constraints make such oversights inevitable.
Nevertheless, here’s wishing all a happy Thanksgiving. Hopefully, your get-togethers will prove flavorful and festive, and your shopping excursions in the following days be without significant injury.