Thanksgiving & “Uncle Dave’s Grace”

After having a short discussion tonight about the ‘real’ history of Thanksgiving and pilgrims (search for ‘Thanksgiving Myth’ if you really want to know), Emily said ‘Thanks for ruining another holiday’ and the following song came to mind.

Uncle Dave’s Grace

Lyrics by Peter Berryman, music by Lou Berryman on their House Concert CD (

Thanksgiving day Uncle Dave was our guest
Who reads the Progressive which makes him depressed
We asked Uncle Dave if he’d like to say grace
A dark desolation crept over his face

Thanks he began as he gazed at his knife
To poor Mr. Turkey for living his life
All crowded and cramped in a great metal shed
Where life was a drag then they cut off his head

Thanks he went on for the grapes in my wine
Picked by sick women of seventy nine
Scrambling all morning for bunch after bunch
Then brushing the pesticide off of their lunch

Thanks for the stuffing all heaped on my fork
Shiny with sausage descended from pork
I think of the trucks full of pigs that I see
And can’t help imagine what they think of me

Continuing, I’d like to thank if you please
Our salad bowl hacked out of tropical trees
And for this mahogany table and chair
We thank all the jungles that used to be there

For cream in our coffee and milk in our mugs
We thank all the cows full of hormones and drugs
Whose calves are removed at a very young age
And force-fed as veal in a minuscule cage

Oh thanks for the furnace that heats up these rooms
And thanks for the rich fossil fuel it consumes
Corrupting the atmosphere ounce after ounce
But we’re warm and toasty and that is what counts

I’m grateful he said for these clothes on my back
Lovely and comfy and cheap off the rack
Fashioned in warehouses noisy and cold
In China by seamstresses seven years old

And thanks for my silverware setting that shines
In memory of miners who died in the mines
Worn down by the shoveling of tailings in piles
Whose runoff destroys all the rivers for miles

We thank the reactors for our chandelier
Although the plutonium won’t disappear
For hundreds of decades it still will be there
But a few more Chernobyls and who’s gonna care

Sighed Uncle Dave though there’s more to be told
The wine’s getting warm and the bird’s getting cold
And with that he sat down as he mumbled again
Thank you for everything, amen

We felt so guilty when he was all through
It seemed there was one of two things we could do
Live without food in the nude in a cave
Or next year have someone say grace besides Dave