Wednesday, November 21, 2001

Thanksgiving facts

Today is the half-day before Thanksgiving, with school ending at 1 p.m. and an entire four days off stretching beyond that. This is the second four-day weekend in the last four weeks, and like an overstuffed eater at the Thanksgiving table, I say: Enough! How I look forward to those long weeks of late winter, early spring when children actually have to go all five days, come rain or shine (but not snow, because if there are three flakes in one place, our school board declares a snow day).

We've been getting the standard supply of Thanksgiving-themed take-home items this year, mostly from my son, who's in a self-contained second-grade-ish class. Apparently, fourth-graders don't go for coloring pages of pilgrims and glue-on-the-beans art projects, because my daughter hasn't brought home much more than the occasional holiday word search. I haven't quizzed her on Thanksgiving themes because at this point, I don't want to know what she doesn't know. Last night, while studying about patriots in colonial Massachusetts, she was able to tell me the name of the war they fought -- that is, the American Revolution -- but not the name of the country they were fighting to establish. At first she thought maybe it was Asia. Then she said North America, which is at least in the right vicinity. I'm pretty sure I'd get one of those patented blank looks if I asked her about the Mayflower and Plymouth Rock. Her aide wants to help so much, let her explain all that pilgrim stuff.

But my son, now, my son knows about the Mayflower. He told me all about it while doing his speech homework the other night. He had a grid of 12 Thanksgiving pictures, and was to describe four of them, using complete sentences. So we nicely got "The pilgrim wears a hat." "We eat turkey on Thanksgiving." "We eat corn on Thanksgiving."

And then we got to the picture of the ship, which he readily identified as the Mayflower. Here was his description: "That Mayflower was gross! It was really gross. People throwing up ..."

Sometimes a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

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