Secret Pop

Nov 24, 2005

One day a year, wearing brown isn't just for the Gestapo.

reprinted from an actual e-mail

I don't know why everyone tries to wear brown on Thanksgiving. The Pilgrims didn't wear brown. I'm pretty sure they wore black. With white collars. And large hats. And great buckles on their shoes. Whereas the Indians sort of wore brown, but only if you consider their skin an outfit.

For much of my judgmental adolescence, I felt that brown had gone out of fashion after the original airings of The Brady Bunch. Wearing a pair of brown slacks and an autumn-hued blouse made one look -- to me -- like a Burger King employee.

My dad used to wear brown slacks pretty frequently. And often with a green shirt. We used to say he dressed like a tree. But even that isn't really appropriate for Thanksgiving, when apparently we are expected to dress as if everything in us is dead. Or at least parched. Green just won't do. Unless perhaps it's meant to be the color of an infection.

I once had a pair of brown corduroy Dittos. They were extraordinarily tight.

I never really liked wearing brown. And then somewhere along the way, I decided I liked brown again. And orange, too. Orange quite a bit as a matter of fact. So I no longer dread getting dressed for Thanksgiving. But I still don't understand why it makes any difference. Even if we were trying to celebrate by looking like the early American settlers, we'd probably have to work in more of a malnourished cast. Maybe manicures that look like frostbite. And what about me personally? There were no Chinamen at the first Thanksgiving. Brown outfits or no.

I'm going to wear a dress that's brown and pink for Thanksgiving. It's more of an ice cream theme than a harvest one. But I just want you to know that I wouldn't give you a hard time if you came to Thanksgiving dinner in whatever color you like. Last year I wore black and green. And three years in a row before that, I wore all black. Anyway, why do you care so much what I wear?

Maybe you haven't guessed this yet, but this is my annual Thanksgiving message. It's not that I don't want to take the time to write an ACTUAL Thanksgiving message this year. It's just that I used up much of my well-wishing in years past, (see for yourself) and I don't want to bore you.

So in the interest of non-redundant sincerity, I'll just wish you all the things that I wish Thanksgiving could be for me, despite the reality of what it is going to be for us both. I hope your Thanksgiving is not overcomplicated by frustrations with your wardrobe. I hope that you do not find yourself traveling to a faraway place only to learn that you forgot to pack something you need for what you were planning to wear. I hope that you don't think about carbohydrate content at all. I hope that you don't feel guilty that your mother is doing all the work. I hope you don't feel secretly sorry that you can't just have your Thanksgiving in Los Angeles for Pete's sake. I hope that you're not saddled with deadlines all weekend. And I hope that you remember not to take too many leftovers home with you. Turkey goes south fast, and if you don't eat it right away, you'll never believe how awful your refrigerator will smell. Of course, I would rather have prime rib, but Thanksgiving isn't a time for selfish demands. Unless you're one of the people in the family who insists that we have to have turkey every year.

Lastly, I hope that you will forgive me if I have been anything less than a jim dandy friend to you this year. And I hope that you won't gnash your teeth when it appears that this mass e-mail is intended to somehow smooth over my lengthy bouts of incommunicado. I am thankful for you. And if you are at all thankful for me and the verbose e-mails you periodically get from me, then turkeys the world over will go to their deaths with pride, knowing their expiration will not have been in vain.

I apologize for the length of this message.

Mary Forrest, thankful as the day is long

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