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Music Historicity

Music Historicity | A vegetarian Thanksgiving

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AVT illustration - colorized.jpg

This Thad Heckman illustration is affectionately adapted from Norman Rockwell's classic "Freedom From Want" 1943 oil painting.

With apologies to Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, here are some rewritten song lyrics for Thanksgiving.

Sing to the tune of "The Ballad of Jed Clampett" (The Beverly Hillbillies theme).

A Vegetarian Thanksgiving

Come and listen to my story 'bout a boy on a farm,

He always did his chores, and he listened to his Mom.

One day she asked him to go out to the pen,

And fetch her back to carve up a nice, plump hen.

--A turkey, that is ... a Thanksgiving gobbler.

Well the boy said, "Mom, I reckon turkey's a tradition,

But this year's differn't, and I'll tell you what I'm wishin'.

Instead of eatin' turkey for our Thanksgiving meal,

I'm thinkin' we should cook us up some food that's colored teal.

--Green vegetables, that is poultry, no meat."

Well the Mom said, "Son, are ya outta yer mind?

A turkey-less Thanksgiving is one you'll never find.

When your Daddy sits down, says the grace and wants to carve,

If all he sees is veggies, I'm afraid we're gonna starve.

--He'll have a big ol' knife in his hand, too."

The boy said, "Mom, you told me 'never tell a lie,'

But I really like turkeys and I'm gonna tell you why.

My schoolteacher learnt me 'bout pride in our land,

She taught me how to trace a turkey using my hand.

--Art class, important for us young 'uns."

"Well the times, they are a-changin'," Mom said to her son.

"Thanksgiving's more a time to be together and have fun.

I'll talk to your Daddy and your sister, Daisy-Lee,

'Cuz the most important part is to be with family.

--Sharing a meal, bein' grateful for our blessings."

Well, the Daddy got the word he raised a corn-fed 'veg.'

He came purty close to jumpin' off the silo ledge.

But instead-a lettin' himself get his mind in a pickle,

He had a change of heart, 'twas a Thanksgiving miracle!

--Daddy loved his boy, thought he'd give it a chance.

The family sat down, joined hands and bent their heads.

"Thank you, Good Lord, for the bounty," 's what they said.

They feasted on squash and green bean casserole,

And desserted with pumpkin pie and ice cream in a bowl.

--Time to loosen the belt buckle a couple notches!

Now the moral of the story is to have an open mind.

Be considerate at Thanksgiving, love each other and be kind.

Plant-based foods are gettin' common as jerky,

If you miss the real thing, try makin' Impossible Turkey!

A Vegetarian Thanksgiving. Take a walk around the block.

Try to eat a little healthier. We'll see y'all next year!

Gary Gibula is an SIU alum, musician, writer, editor and author of the Music Historicity columns. He can be reached at


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