Thanksgiving

Jake and His Other Brother Jake

Jake and His Other Brother Jake - November 25, 2018

State Representative David Perryman

          As Thanksgiving Day comes around and families devour the turkey breasts, turkey legs and giblet gravy from an estimated 46 million turkeys, I often recall my personal encounter a few years ago with testosterone infused juvenile Meleagris gallopavo and my vivid realization that they are a menace to society and that in gangs they can be downright dangerous.

It all started off innocently enough. It wasn’t my birthday, but my wife had just presented me with a new digital camera, complete with a zoom lens. Anxious to try it out, one fall Saturday morning, luck sent the perfect opportunity in the form of what appeared to be a wild turkey strolling across the pasture about 60 yards below the house.

Not wanting to scare the bird, I took the camera and quietly slipped out the back door and around the side of the house just as it passed behind an outbuilding. I readied the settings on the camera so that I could begin snapping pictures as soon as the gobbler emerged into view.

Jo was busy inside the house and from her vantage point had also seen the bird but could not see where I had stationed myself. Slowly, as I began taking photos, not one, not two, but three “jakes,” juvenile male wild turkeys, stepped into view. As I clicked frame after frame, the birds spotted me and allowed me to capture pictures from the front, in all their glory.

I realized that the birds had taken a few steps toward me and I adjusted the zoom lens to compensate for the shorter distance. Turkey step by turkey step the need for the zoom lens decreased and just as I realized that the birds’ stroll had suddenly become a “turkey trot,” the zoom adjustment hit zero. It was then that I looked over the camera to realize that the turkey trio had congregated less than ten feet in front of me and were eying me and my camera.

          Knowing the propensity of male turkeys to use their spurs to inflict serious damage on their opponents, I wanted to make certain that they understood that I was not their opponent or if I was, that they understood that even in my unarmed state, they were no match for me.

          I roared and raised my hands in an attempt to look larger but the enjoyable photo shoot quickly escalated into a war of wills. The bird in the middle was closest to me and for an instant seemed startled, but turkey testosterone is an interesting chemical and every time the lead bird would hesitate, Jake and his other brother Jake (both of which lacked accountability) would crowd the closest one toward me.

Realizing that the birds were not leaving the yard, I started swinging the camera around by its strap, simultaneously yelling AT the turkeys and FOR some relief from inside the house. Unfortunately, even though Jo had seen the three birds come out from behind the shed, she had gone back to her task thinking that I was getting some great pictures.

My vocal chords were reaching a point of raw inefficiency when Jo happened to look out another window and realized my predicament. Wanting to rescue the camera, she grabbed a rake, and by simply coming around the corner, caused the assemblage of tyrannical turkeys to turn and trot across the field out of sight. Both the camera and my person were undamaged, and I had a series of photos, one of which has appeared on my personal Facebook profile page since I opened the account.  And my family has had another topic for “Dad” jokes around our table.

We hope that you and your family had a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday.

Questions or comments, contact David Perryman at 405-557-7401 or David.Perryman@okhouse.gov.

Abundant Blessings

Abundant Blessings - November 20, 2016

State Representative David Perryman

The “Cornucopia” or “Horn of Plenty” is one of the most enduring symbols of Thanksgiving. Its origins are of Classical Antiquity and can be traced to the ancient civilizations around the Mediterranean. According to the Greek legend, the original cornucopia was one of the horns of the mother goat that hid, protected and nurtured Zeus after his father sought to kill him.

The unending nourishment that flowed forth from the horn has become emblematic of harvest, prosperity and spiritual abundance.

As we gather this holiday, we will give thanks for the many blessings that we enjoy -- blessings of family, shelter, nourishment and health. We will also pray for peace in a nation torn asunder, and peace in a world that often appears hopelessly broken.

Just as the Pilgrims did 395 years ago and Presidents of our nation from George Washington to Barak Obama have recommended us to do, we will gather in our homes, places of worship, community centers, or any place of fellowship for friends and neighbors -- and in the words of President Obama, “Give thanks for all we have received in the past year, express appreciation to those whose lives enrich our own, and share our bounty with others.”

To achieve the level of fellowship encouraged by past Presidents, we must remember that America’s strength is its diversity. Only through our differences do we have the opportunity to gain deeper understanding and greater compassion.

For instance, in April 1862, Abraham Lincoln asked the citizens of the Republic to offer thanks for “inestimable blessings” and seek “spiritual consolation” for all who had suffered “casualties and calamities of sedition and civil war.” Just months earlier in October 1861, Confederate President Jefferson Davis, had directed citizens of the C.S.A. to thank God for military victories and to ask God to humble the enemies of the Confederacy to confusion and shame.

President Lincoln’s plea was for the speedy “restoration of peace, harmony, and unity throughout our borders and the establishment of fraternal relations among all the countries of the earth”; President Davis asked for the “preservation of our homes and altars from pollution” through victory over the enemies of the Confederate States.

Both leaders prayed to the same deity. One sought preservation of a spirit of community and the other sought preservation of a way of life that he feared was at risk.

Last Thanksgiving, President Obama reminded us that our nation’s tradition of giving continues to inspire, and at shelters and food centers, on battlefields and city streets, and through generous donations and silent prayers, the inherent selflessness and common goodness of the American people endures.

It is my prayer that our country and our world be united in a spirit of community whose people strive to be inherently selfless regarding their cornucopia.

Happy Thanksgiving and abundant blessings to you and your family.

Thank you for allowing me to serve Oklahoma. For questions or comments call me at 405-557-7401 or email me at David.Perryman@okhouse.gov.

Giving Thanks

Giving Thanks for the Common Good - November 24, 2013

State Representative David Perryman

Facing a polarized nation, what should a President do? Clearly, the issue had split the electorate pretty evenly down the middle.  A Gallup poll showed that 59% of Americans disapproved of the President’s proposal.  Twenty-two states had signed on to follow the President’s lead and Twenty-three had refused.  The others, including Colorado and Texas adopted a hybrid model.

The President’s proposal had come at the request of a large group of constituents.  They reasoned that the change would be good for the country and the economy.  Once implemented, frantic attempts to challenge and undermine it were instituted. Attempts to sway popular opinion resulted in confusion and further polarization.  Misinformation was rampant. Governors of those states that followed the President’s lead felt secure in their decision.  Those who declined on behalf of their states appeared just as confident.

Charles Arnold of Brooklyn, New York complained that the President’s plan would give an advantage to large businesses over small businesses.  Robert Benson and Clarabelle Voight, insurance agents from Groton, South Dakota, claiming to speak on behalf of all Midwesterners argued that the idea undermined morale and that by pursuing this idea, the President had practically lost his popularity and the goodwill of the people.  John Taylor, a printer from Salem, Ohio, did not care whether the plan was implemented or not but asked that any decision made would not be implemented for a year.

In the end, just when it appeared that the social fabric of America was going to be torn asunder, U.S. Senators and Representatives came together in a bipartisan manner, approved the others amendments and allowed December 26, 1941, to be the day that President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the resolution establishing the fourth Thursday in November as the Federal Thanksgiving Day holiday.

The issue of permanently establishing Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November instead of the last Thursday of November had elicited a vitriolic partisanship that had not been seen since one party or the other had taken advantage of a relatively benign, but high profile issue to denigrate the other party.  At the core of this hugely partisan issue was whether to grant the request of large retailers to increase the number of shopping days between “Turkey Day” and Christmas in those years where the November calendar had five Thursdays instead of four.  In 1939 the press touted November 30 as the “Republican Thanksgiving” and November 23 as the “Democratic Thanksgiving.”     

Unfortunately, it took a while for the politicians to achieve the spirit of Thanksgiving penned by Floridian, F. P. Archer, Sr., when he wrote, “Mr. President: Please inform those who disagree with your advance Thanksgiving date that every day is Thanksgiving in Florida.  We who love healthful sunshine, bounteous harvests of fruits and vegetables and the clean cool breezes from the Gulf Stream never cease thanking Almighty God for these daily blessings.”

For you see, in the fall of 1621, when Plymouth governor William Bradford invited approximately 90 members of the Wampanoag tribe, including Chief Massasoit, to a three day celebration of thanksgiving feast around a midweek church meeting, the last thing on his mind was when the Christmas shopping season would begin.

 In 1777, following the Patriot victory at Saratoga, the Continental Congress was not contemplating newspaper sales circulars when they declared an American Thanksgiving.

In 1789 when George Washington declared a Tuesday in November as a day of Thanksgiving for the U.S. Constitution, he did not comprehend a Black Friday or a Black Wednesday for that matter.

In 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln began a tradition of declaring the last Thursday in November as a national day of thanksgiving, he did not pause to calculate how many shopping days would fall between the day of thanks and Christmas.

These leaders each encouraged participants to pause, mediate, and give thanks for the many blessings and the many freedoms that we enjoy as a people.  As a people and as a nation we give thanks for a social and political system capable of receiving and improving the lot of immigrants who have actually or figuratively passed Liberty Island and heard the words of New Colossus, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.  Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me; I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

We give thanks because we have faith that our nation will be a light for them as it was a light our parents and grandparents.  We have faith that the only thing we and our children have to “fear is fear itself.”  We give thanks because of the realization that we are but stewards for all mankind of the God-given abundance that is entrusted to us.  Our thanks is grounded in the knowledge that our blessings will surely cease when we depart from faithful stewardship.  It is my prayer and also that of my family that you and your loved ones will be blessed with peace, safety and abundance this week, this month and forever more.               

I appreciate the opportunity to serve as a State Representative.  If there is anything that I can do to assist you, please call me at 405-557-7401 or eMail me at David.Perryman@okhouse.gov

I look forward to hearing from you soon.