Bill Turner
Just for The Chief. The annual “Turkey Edition” of the Wild Bill column.
Little doubt that all of our recent month’s excitement over a monument honoring celebrated Indian Chiefs will spill over into further celebration as the holiday approaches. Many of The Star employees gathered around the water cooler were speculating The Chief may present one of our esteemed Virginia Tribes with a ceremonial turkey while attired in a new powwow headdress. I have to admit the ole boy looks pretty good in feathers.
(Chief’s note: Sometimes accompanied by tar provided by the Sports’s Department.)
The November column also continues my countdown to Christmas, where as promised, we’ll give you some reviews for the best and worst stocking-stuffers. Also, some insider information on how The Chief’s present is taking shape for 2019, a look at area sports and an explanation of a sign on Route 419 honoring a local sports legend. Let’s get the butterball cooking.
First, we’ll go straight to the mail bag where a reader’s question was forwarded to the sports department for reasons unknown. Maybe our executive communications officer decided to cut out the news and commentary crowd, and just go straight to the brains of the operation.
To whom it may concern at The Star: Does Thanksgiving always fall on the fourth Thursday or the last Thursday of November? (Lillian, Roanoke).
Well, Lillian, the answer is basically definite, but with your operative word “always”, the answer has historically been very different. Confused? Just as I hoped. Here’s your explanation.
In 1893 Abraham Lincoln declared the LAST Thursday in November to be the Day of Thanksgiving and Praise. That tradition stayed that way until 1939 when a bunch of worried retailers begged President Franklin D. Roosevelt to make it the FOURTH Thursday that year because the LAST Thursday of November in 1939 fell on November 30th, meaning there’d be only 24 shopping days until Christmas.
FDR was sympathetic to their plea and declared Thanksgiving to be the FOURTH Thursday.
That sent the country into turmoil with plenty of criticism. Football coaches were furious because previously scheduled “Thanksgiving Day” games were now on a workday. Some states refused to comply, while Texas and Colorado took the high road and made both Thursdays that year Thanksgiving Day. One big winner was the Elliot-Greer Stationery Co. of Amarillo, Texas. They had originally printed the wrong Thursday as Thanksgiving, then suddenly had the only correct calendars in the country.
Congress made the change to the fourth Thursday official in 1941. Thus, if November 1st falls on a Wednesday or Thursday, Thanksgiving NEVER falls on the LAST Thursday of November, and Thanksgiving can NEVER be on November 29th or 30th.
The bottom line was like our current impeachment inquiries; a waste of taxpayer’s time and money. The change was cosmetic—businesses found that Christmas shoppers didn’t spend more money with more shopping days; they just altered their shopping patterns.
Yes, you always learn something when you read this column.
Before I get tarred and feathered, let’s move to area sporting news.
The Roanoke Valley Sports Club welcomes Lars Tiffany, head lacrosse coach for the University of Virginia reigning national champions, to its Monday, November 18th meeting at the Salem Civic Center. The night begins with a 5:45 social, followed by dinner at 6:15 and the program at 7:00. For reservations or information, contact Maggie Drewry at 540-353-1103 or visit the club website at www.roanokevalleysportsclub.com. Walk-ups are also welcome to attend.
High school football continues into week-2 of the VHSL playoffs with seven “Big-11” teams still in the hunt for a state championship: Patrick Henry, William Fleming, Salem, Hidden Valley, Lord Botetourt, Northside and Glenvar. Good luck to all.
No more waiting for state champions in the private school ranks as North Cross won the VISAA Division II championship Saturday afternoon with their 42-6 win over Blue Ridge. Congrats to head coach Stephen Alexander and the Raiders.
Also, a great showing by Roanoke Catholic, which finished runner-up on the Division-3 side, falling to St. Michael the Archangel 22-18 in the title game. Another great season by head coach Bob Price and the Celtics.
In volleyball action, Lord Botetourt is the last team standing among “Big-11” squads for a state championship. The Cavaliers take on Rustburg this Thursday night at home with a berth in Saturday’s Class-3 state championship match at the Salem Civic Center (4 PM) at stake.
The Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs look to rebound from a slow start with a number of home games scheduled through December. Home games Friday, November 22 (Huntsville) and Saturday, November 30 (Birmingham) are followed by December games at the Berglund Center on Saturday, December 7 (Knoxville), Thursday, December 12 (Fayetteville), Saturday, December 14 (Knoxville),  Saturday, December 21 (Fayetteville) and Tuesday, December 31 (Fayetteville).
Congratulations go out to the Tenth Annual Dave Ross Bowl for their exciting afternoon of youth football on November 3rd at Bogle Stadium in support of awareness of breast cancer. Accordingly, if you’ve driven down Route 419 since late-October you’ve undoubtably seen my Dave Ross Bowl promotion on the Waffle House sign. At press time, it’s been up 21 days and counting. PR at its best.
Now, to our late-night product reviews for the worst and best ideas for that hard-to-buy-for friend or family member.
Among the worst for 2019: 1) Mealivos Bad Boss Voodoo Doll: The price is good at $15.99, but this one may come back to haunt you. Literally. Seven inches tall, with specific target areas for revenge. Pins included.  2) Mr. Right/Mrs. Always Right 2-Piece kitchen apron set: At $20.49, a little pricey for something that will start a family fight. Save yourself a lot of grief, spend a few extra bucks and buy that special person tickets to a tag-team wrestling bout.
The best for 2019 falls squarely on the Pop-N’-Play domed interactive cat toy. A round half-dome green gadget with holes that was designed for, but not limited to, cats. Feathered mouses jump randomly from the holes sending your feline friend into a frenzy. Great price at $19.99. Can be used by humans if nobody (including your cat) is watching. This may be the perfect gift for The Chief, topping the 2017 ChiaChief hair growing statue. I’m pairing the Pop-N’-Play with a Whac-A-Mole mallet for the perfect rainy day activity in the executive offices.
Until next time, get your feathers ruffled and send your comments to me at [email protected]