November 26th, 2009
07:21 AM ET

Dear President Obama #311: The Turkey Trot

Reporter's Note: President Obama is presumably celebrating Thanksgiving with his family and does not have time to be reading letters from vaguely obsessive and possibly insane reporters. But I’ll write one anyway.

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Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

As you read this, I will be busy in the kitchen helping with an absolutely magnificent pecan/plum brandy stuffing, or perhaps basting the big bird, or hammering away on the potatoes until they are great cumulus clouds of buttery flavor. I am but the sous chef to my wife’s spatula wielding wonders, but ahh…my mouth is watering just contemplating it.

Speaking of turkey, much has been made in recent years about this whole ceremony of a turkey being brought to the White House for the president to pardon, and then presumably send off to some place where turkeys can live out their years unmolested. I’m guessing that is the U.S. Senate, but who knows?

I read up on this custom a few years ago, however, and found out that this business of granting a reprieve is relatively new. The real reason the nation’s poultry people (Yes, I know, it sounds like a bad sci-fi film, “Invasion of the Poultry People”) started bringing a gobbler to the White House every November was not to have it consecrated to a long life, but to have it consumed. The turkey was a gift of dinner. And that is what happened with most of them for many years. To paraphrase Sarah Palin’s new book, there is a place for wildlife…right next to the peas and yams.

You being a big fan of Lincoln, it is worth noting that he apparently was something of an early outlier in this custom of slaughtering the Tom. One of his children reportedly fell in love with the winged offering that year and begged that it be spared. It was, and became a pet, although presumably that just meant a different bird was marched to the gallows. Oh well. Life is hard for turkeys.

All that said, let me get down to the short and simple business of the day. I have a great deal to be grateful for in my life, and I remind myself of it even at the worst of times. I am blessed with a delightful, accomplished, and loving family. My work is meaningful. (I suppose some might dispute that, but anyway…) My friends are true. My home is warm. My dog is loyal. I have a piano and a couple of very nice guitars. We have books everywhere, and artwork that evokes wonderful ideas and memories. I find something to laugh at every day, even when it is myself. I am blessed with faith and a love of mankind.

But just in case, in the rush of your daily duties, you have trouble thinking of your own list, I have assembled one here; a recitation of things you too can be thankful for on this excellent day.

1) Hillary Clinton has not yet staged a coup. To the contrary, she has been one of the success stories of your administration, making you look better at almost every turn. Who’d have known?

2) Your wife, Michelle, has proven a great asset. And I say that even though I really could care less about her arms.

3) While your policy programs have not exactly rocketed forward, you’ve also not suffered any crushing defeats.

4) Joe Biden has generally stayed away from microphones and even when he has found one, well, frankly what he has said has generally sounded like a voice of reason

5) You’re getting experience everyday. Whatever you don’t know about being president now, you are rapidly learning

6) You have your health, if not a complete health care bill. One out of two is not bad.

7) Americans are resilient and forgiving. If you try hard enough to help them and your efforts prove well-founded, they will not only help you, but many who are not so happy with you now will come back around.

8) America’s troops are the best in the world, and whatever people may think of the twin wars in which we are engaged, our military people and their families serve with honor, bravery, and dedication. Any greatness you enjoy as Commander in Chief flows from the magnificence of their service to us all. May God bless them.

9) You don’t have to go to youth soccer games that often. Seriously.

10) You get a letter every day.

I could go on, but the cranberry sauce beckons, and you know how messy that can be. Ha! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, and by proxy, the best of the holiday to all our fellow countrymen coast to coast, no matter what their political bent, their religion, their color, their culture, or their lot in life. May we all have plenty for at least this day and put our cares away, grateful for what has gone right in our country, and willing to bend ourselves again as one to take on what has gone wrong.

As always, call if you like.



Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Kris

    Sir Thomas,
    It is with great pleasure that I respond to your above missive. I, too, am grateful for all that I have. I agree that Mr. Obama has made some good decisions, difficult though they have been. And it is true that he is going to have many more trials before his term is up. I have not heard many plaudits attached to his name lately, and this has bothered me a great deal. Many of our fellow Americans have forgotten that Mr. Obama is not responsible for the "mess" he inherited. They are merely standing in judgement and wondering why the "FIX" is not immediate. Perhaps we could give the man a chance to work through some of these important issues, especially since our former administration doesn't seem willing to help the American people, so to speak.
    I AM worried about people who are not insured, and since I am now a senior, I do worry about whether I'll be able to keep up with my very simple lifestyle in the future. I am almost finished reading "Too Big to Fail", about the financial mess that caused many people (who were told that investing in this country would provide them with a good living when they came to retire), to lose their savings and in many cases, their jobs.
    Obviously, you and your family have been responsible and have lived within your means. Moi, aussi...

    November 27, 2009 at 1:34 am |
  2. kaTERjr

    Lovely posting, Thanks!

    November 26, 2009 at 10:10 pm |
  3. Tim Gibson

    And we are thankful for you as well Tom.

    November 26, 2009 at 8:16 am |

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