Wishbones and Funnybones

With the holidays at hand, cheers to “family who are friends and friends who are family.” (my favorite Irish toast)

Cheers “To alcohol! The cause of – and solution to – all of life’s problems.” (Homer Simpson’s favorite toast)

Meanwhile …

Cheers to long friendships, and to tall drinks,

Cheers to the fortunate, the homeless, the shrinks.

Cheers to the leftovers, long may they live.

Cheers to the charities, long may we give.

Cheers to old treasures, the candles, the ladles,

Cheers to our dogs cleaning up under tables.

Cheers to the blush in the trees, the crisp of the turkey,

Cheers to the kids coming home … Boston to Berkeley.

Cheers to our guests, the orphans, the light,

Cheers to raiding the fridge at midnight.

Cheers to your childhood…the street where you grew,

Cheers to old classmates and the snowballs you threw.

Cheers to the Lions, the Cowboys, the Colts,

Cheers to anyone who can find my remote.

Cheers to pumpkin spice, on-time flights and the fun,

Cheers to the pastors, the rabbis, the nuns.

Cheers to the thighs, the wings from the gobblers,

Cheers to the grandmas, the grandpas, the toddlers.

Cheers to Irving and Atwood and Twain,

Cheers to the Beatles, Boz Scaggs and Coltrane.

Cheers to the gravy, the stuffing, some pheasant,

Cheers to a day we can live in the present.

Cheers to the Christmas lights, the shopping, the clatter.

Cheers to your dad, half drunk on a ladder.

By the way, extra big cheers to “Planes, Trains and Automobiles,” a movie that has done for Thanksgiving what “Wonderful Life” did for Christmas.

My buddy Bekkala believes that the most-satisfying scene in movie history is the one of Steve Martin and John Candy lugging that trunk down a snowy street. He also points out all the little touches director John Hughes used throughout. “Yes, the devil is in the details, but sometimes so are the saints,” my friend says. Amen.

Cheers to Pie Town, New Mexico…Lick Skillet, Tennessee.

Cheers to the places we’ll roam, you and me.

Cheers to Uncle Burp, the cousins, their mates,

Cheers to the casseroles, the stuffing, Catty Cakes.

Cheers to the principals, the teachers, the cops,

Cheers to the nurses, and docs who wear Crocs.

Cheers to adulting, the children, the kids.

Cheers to high horses, low-riders, long bibs.

Cheers to the mothers destroying the kitchens,

Cheers to their helpers, the basting, the bitchin’.

Cheers to the touchdowns, first downs and quick passes,

Cheers to that silver-haired girl in thick glasses.

Cheers to the dude who cut me off on Van Nuys,

Cheers to the tailgater who hopes that I die.

This year, I’m cheering everyone: the rude, the lewd, the simply misguided. Even the sanctimonious scolds who dismiss Thanksgiving as a misplaced celebration of colonization. Forgive them, because they have no context, no sense of manifest destiny, or the courage that it takes to explore.

To me, Thanksgiving represents tolerance, gratitude and appreciation. Ultimately, it is our melting-pot holiday. The very first feast was a milestone, a template … the first time newcomers shared recipes, rubbed elbows … laughed. On Thanksgiving, we should all “Try to be the rainbow in someone’s cloud.” (Maya Angelou)

Cheers to lost loved ones we’ll always remember,

Cheers to the close friends we’ll see this December.

Cheers to the beers, the bourbons, the rums,

Cheers to antacids, Alka-Seltzer and Tums.

Cheers to big causes and people who care,

Cheers to cold places and long underwear.

Cheers to the quiet, the awkward, the shy,

Cheers to the extroverts, the braggarts, the pie.

Cheers to all of us, our differences don’t matter,

Just accept and forgive … and please pass me that platter.

From our home to yours, Happy Thanksgiving.

Email the columnist at Letters@ChrisErskineLA.com. For past columns, books and holiday gifts, please go to his website ChrisErskineLA.com

29 thoughts on “Wishbones and Funnybones

  1. THANK YOU for that most delightful rhyming way to get into the Thanksgiving spirit. I plan to read it aloud at the table tomorrow. And how did you know I just set our Blu Ray of Trains, Planes and Automobiles next to the TV to watch after the feast? You are one person I know we are all thankful to have on this earth. Cheers to you and your wonderful family, Chris. Have a lovely Thanksgiving!

  2. I’m grateful for you Chris. Your columns always make me smile, sometimes wistful, always grateful. Wishing you and yours a very delicious Thanksgiving 🍗🦃💗🍪

  3. If myopic women ruled the world it would be a kinder, more gentle place. Invite someone who is all alone on this holiday and you might make a new friend. Cheers!

  4. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your terrific family Chris. Thanx for all the hard work keeping us smiling all year long.

  5. If there were a Pulitzer Prize for toasts, you’d get it for this one. Maybe it’ll qualify in the Poetry category.

  6. Chris Erskine, the best of the rest!
    May you, Suzanne & all the family & friends joyfully celebrate your blessings with grateful hearts, & full belly’s laughing thru the holiday!
    Happy Thanksgiving!❤️

  7. and cheers to you Sir Erskine ~ deargod what rhymes with Erskine ~ ! ~ Dr. Seuss step aside for the new master of rhyme !

  8. Here’s to you Mr. Erskine
    For giving us reason to grin.
    I salute you with a tonic and gin.
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  9. I’m thankful for your words. They put life in a better perspective, and they make me notice the details of each moment. And THAT is a great thing for me to have. Happy Thanksgiving to you and those that you love.

  10. Thanks for a Thanksgiving masterpiece, Chris, brought a tear to my eye. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours and may your dressing be everlasting!

  11. Cheers to you Chris! We are all thankful and grateful for you. I raise my glass of homemade Baileys to you! Happy Thanksgiving to you, Suzanne and your family.

  12. Chris, I was tired with all the Thanksgiving prep, when I realized I hadn’t read your blog yet.

    Thanks for making us all happy.

  13. 24 couplets, 48 lines saying some of who you are through what you value. I admire the clarity of the writing and the radiant authenticity of this stylish riff; so in the
    spirit of its authenticity but lacking the talent for clarity of expression, I offer the following, accompanied by the wish for a happy Thanksgiving. “Cheers to that silver-haired girl in thick glasses”…my oh my…how could it be anything else than a divine celebration? Like a prayer.


    The earth is tilting away from the sun
    In a vast withdrawal of esprit
    The holidays racing into view
    Their distant flashing lights and murmurs
    Of much ado appear across a plain
    Their thunder far away yet streaming
    Visions toward us, their hot lightning
    Reflecting off the gray clouds gathering
    Just beyond the solstice, Winter’s storm
    Of cold boiling on the new year’s horizon
    Held back by the steam of inner fires
    Time streaming to another final close;

    Movement is the sine qua non of this run
    To the first orange and brown whiskey melee
    Now appearing, warmth flaring in the new
    Dawns like the edges burning confers
    On paper, a glowing endowment lain
    Against the cooling sky like dreaming
    In the light of day, like far-off singing—
    An echo of joy not yet happening
    But rising in the mind’s magnetic form
    Like heat extracted from the sun
    Remaining, as each breath of light expires;

    What is up ahead, unread, nobody knows…
    The Winter bed and smouldering snows?
    What’s left unsaid just grows and grows
    Ends of beginnings light the ways
    Through darkness of the waning days
    For love must have its holidays
    Like fire it’s ashes, one more blaze
    Whose candle gutters out—displays
    In its light’s loss one last malaise
    Where there was none; then, Winter stays…

  14. Such a strange aberration seems to have affected my interface, here. A continuos flow of champaigne weather is predicted for the coming weekend, so keep the corks popping and the spritz bubbling and flowing. In a word: cheers!! Holiday on.

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