23 Nov 06

Thanksgiving Day Blues

The usual fog of sadness covered the prison on Thanksgiving Day – a holiday important for family reunions and turkey dinners.
Most conspicuous was the inactivity: no basketball with endless hours of pitter-patter and trash talk, no work crews tending the landscape, no porters sweeping the runs, no GED classes, no mail call, no lunch. Even loudspeaker announcements were sparse.
Prisoners stayed in their cells watching TV - popular were a Thanksgiving Day parade, and episodes of The Closer starring Kyra Sedgwick. Booing and cheering interrupted the silence when two football games were shown: Miami at Detroit and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Dallas Cowboys.

Dinner consisted of turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. Recent converts to Judaism declined their religious diet (cottage cheese, kosher beans, celery sticks, onion, green pepper, and bread) to obtain turkey and pumpkin pie.
“Thanksgiving Day dinner at DOC was a meal unseen since Yahweh rained down manna and quail from heaven on us Israelites as we fled across the wilderness from Egypt,” quoth Weird Al, himself a recent convert to Judaism. “And like the Jews of yore, us prison Jews complained about our meal, the only difference being Moses’ Jews complained about having too much, whereas we did not have enough.”
“These stupid-ass motherfuckers must be smokin’ crack to think stabbin’ our fruit stops us makin’ hooch,” a homey said. “It just means you gotta make the hooch quicker, before the fruit goes bad.”

On the radio, Sheriff Joe Arpaio boasted that the Thanksgiving Day meals at his jails cost only fifteen cents per prisoner with the most expensive item being mashed potatoes at seven cents. Arpaio said that the turkeys were all donated. Weird Al explained that Arpaio uses his non-profit organisation status to obtain turkeys intended for poor people from food banks.

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Copyright © 2006-2007 Shaun P. Attwood

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