Do you have any? Until I married Lady Laird, I’m not sure I did. Other than watching the Detroit Lions lose a football game in the afternoon.
She came equipped with one decidedly odd one I should have known about but didn’t. Which is that you must listen to Arlo Guthrie’s Alice’s Restaurant on the day.
You see, there was once a radio station that was THE radio station. WMMR in Philadelphia. They billed themselves as “progressive rock” and pioneered the on-air personalities who didn’t yell like the AM stars of the time, you know, Wolfman Jack, Cousing Brucie, et al. MMR even had a nerdy little guy who just loved the music. His name was Michael Tearson, he adored rock and roll music, and he was a bookishly conversational radio host, so earnest that he felt like everybody’s smarter younger brother.
That was the WMMR experience. They talked to you. They were fans. They were crazy. They did Stones A to Z weekends, playing every single Rolling Stones song in alphabetical order. You could plan your weekend around your favorite letters of the alphabet.
And then there was Pierre Robert, who without my permission, started the Alice’s Restaurant tradition on Thanksgiving.
I learned about it from my wife about ten years ago, something she shared with her son, the both of them listening at the same time, and I found it, you know, moving somehow.
Frankly, I have no idea what the song has to do with Thanksgiving. But I don’t care. It’s a good thing and a reminder that there were happier days when not everything had a political meaning or penumbra or tag.
WMMR is not much anymore. Just another classic rock station stuck in the past. Pierre Robert is still there, a literal graybeard who also seems stuck in time. The good news is that Arlo’s song is available on Youtube, and the tradition can continue in perpetuity.
This morning I woke her because it was time to check the turkey which had been roasting overnight. Sleepily, she said “I thought it was me whose favorite holiday was Thanksgiving.” Not anymore, sweetie. I’ve caught the bug.
Do you have a weird Thanksgiving tradition of some sort. If so, please share.
Regardless, have a great day with your family. We sure will.