One Thanksgiving, our family, consisting of ex-Brits, cancelled Czechs, and 1st generation American kids, had a bit of a discussion on this American holiday. My father asked us if we knew which president had made Thanksgiving permanently a national holiday?
I guessed Abraham Lincoln, surprising him. After all, wasn’t it mostly a northern celebration, originating with the Pilgrims in 1621? Wouldn’t earlier presidents have proclaimed Thanksgivings? And indeed they had. Washington and Adams both proclaimed Thanksgiving Day holidays in their respective presidencies. Jefferson skipped it, but Madison renewed it in 1814. From then on, states tended to set their own Thanksgiving holidays, often at different times of the year.
But Lincoln would be sorely tested at the task of holding the new nation together when it erupted into strife before even turning 100. What other president would have desperately needed to remind Americans of their beginnings in braving a long sea voyage and carving a new life out of the wild forests of the New World? What better way to remind Americans that they are first and foremost Americans, than by remembering that hard won first feast, and calling everyone in the nation to do the same? Making it a permanent, official holiday would evoke one American People to celebrate our origins and success created out of hard scrabble, in unity.
Now that, folks, is politics at its finest. At this time of reds vs blues, coast vs flyover states, the 99%, and other internal divisions in our nation, we might do well to remember we’ve been divided before, but our union held. We might also want to give thanks that these present divisions aren’t accompanied by military occupation of our homes and cities, civil war and strife.
Here is the text of the Thanksgiving Holiday proclamation, written by Secretary of State William Seward:
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years, with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union. In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the city of Washington, this third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.”
By the President: Abraham Lincoln
William H. Seward, Secretary of State
Two important passings of note on this date in Santa Barbara history…
Fray Junípero Serra, co-founder of Santa Barbara, was born on November 24, 1713 on the island of Majorca off the Spanish Coast. Serra was the revered Franciscan priest who founded California’s missions. Junípero also has one officially recognized miracle to his name. The Santa Barbara Mission was the 10th established in California and was founded two years after Serra’s death… the Santa Barbara Mission was dedicated to Junípero Serra by his successor, Fermin Francisco de Lasuen.
Walker A. Tompkins died in Santa Barbara on November 24, 1988. A true journalist and historian, the last half of Tompkins’ nearly sixty-year writing career was focused on Santa Barbara… during which time he penned eighteen local history books including: Santa Barbara’s Royal Rancho, California’s Wonderful Corner, Goleta: The Good Land, Santa Barbara Past and Present, It Happened in Old Santa Barbara, Stagecoach Days in Santa Barbara County, and Santa Barbara History Makers.
I woke up early Monday morning and hit the road well before the sun had risen. This is part of my training for a long distance endurance ride I’ll be doing this summer in France called PBP, or Paris to Brest to Paris. PBP is a 1200K (746 mile) ride to be completed in 90 hours or less. An international team of ElliptiGO riders are training for this ride. Here is the team as it exists today, and we’re looking for more riders to join us!
Let me take you through today’s ride from Santa Barbara to Carpinteria to the far end of Goleta and back. I headed down towards the beach from the Westside, riding to the beach, down Cabrillo Boulevard, past the Bird Refuge and Clark Estate, winding up and down Channel Drive, cutting across Danielson Road to South Jamenson. Then, crossing the San Ysidro bridge, east on North Jameson, over the Ortega Ridge bike path, continuing East on Lillie through Summerland. From there I continued on Via Real to Carpinteria, taking the Seventh Street overpass to Carp Avenue, continuing out to Highway 150/Rincon Road. Just before the bridge that demarks Ventura County, I turned left onto Gobenedor Canyon, climbed the hill, then dropped down the other side to Foothill Road. It was brisk out — the temperature was in the low to mid-forties until I passed the Polo fields. Traffic was minimal until Foothill Road, then it started to pick up with people heading to school and work. In spite of the increase in cars, those that passed me did so with plenty of clearance, certainly abiding by the three-foot passing law. Continuing on Foothill Road to Toro Canyon, I climbed up to East Valley and continued to Ladera Lane.
While I was climbing Toro Canyon a semi-truck with an attached trailer was heading down the bending road towards me. At the same time I noticed in my mirror a pickup truck coming up the hill towards my position. This is a very tight corridor with no room for three vehicles side-by-side. So, I held out my left arm and moved more into the lane signaling to the pickup truck behind me to wait. Once the semi had passed us and the road ahead was clear, I pulled more to the right, releasing the pickup truck to pass me. And, I waved my thanks as they passed. It may have cost the pickup 5-7 seconds to wait to pass, but it insured both our safety.
Ladera Lane presents a challenge for bicyclists — it’s steep and goes on for almost a mile. I find the best way to approach this climb is just to put one foot in front of the other, keep the pedals turning, and enjoy the scenery. In fact, one time I was climbing this hill I watched and listened to the fire control goat herd munching on the poison oak and brush as I pedaled. The hill will come to me soon enough — there is no reason to kill myself trying to trim off a few minutes. All of the climbs in Santa Barbara are like this — they are manageable with the right mindset, once one has the stamina to do small climbs, the larger ones are attainable too! This includes hills like Miramonte Drive, California Street and Campanil Hill; and it includes mountain climbs like Old San Marcos/Painted Cave Road, and even Gibraltar Road. Where the mind will go, the body will follow.
Having ascended Ladera Lane I continued onto Bella Vista Drive, then onto Park Lane. Continuing through to San Ysidro road and a quick left onto East Mountain Drive I began what I call the estate view segment of the ride. There are so many new and rebuilt homes in the area; many maintaining the classic mediterranean look from the twenties and thirties that I love so much. And, in the morning there are a lot of people out for their walks that will greet you as you ride by, some are even hollywood types in everyday dress.
Once I reached Sheffield Reservoir, I headed down Mountain Drive and turned right on Foothill Road. From there I continued through the undulations of Foothill road and over the San Roque Creek Bridge, keeping an eye out for trapped road debris and storm drains; then on to the San Marcos Pass intersection where Foothill Road turns into Cathedral Oaks Road. One thing to watch for, I learned at this intersection, is cars want to pass you when you’re on the right of the road to make the right turn up San Marcos Pass. It’s important to pay attention to the cars approaching from behind to insure they don’t “right hook” you. Sometimes I need to “take the right lane” to prevent this from happening as they are often in a rush to head up the pass. The illustration below will help you to understand more about the dangers of getting yourself into a “right hook” or “left cross” situation.
The above animation was created by Keri Caffrey at iamtraffic.org showing how to avoid some bike riding traffic traps. Knowing and using these bicycle positioning skills can prove useful on most any ride. These skills apply to more than just bike/truck situations. Click on the the image to see the full animation. One must ride where one is visible to all traffic.
Once on Cathedral Oaks it was a relatively straight forward ride out to Winchester Canyon Road where I stopped by the 76 station for an early lunch/refueling before turning around and heading home. The route home took me back on Cathedral Oaks, then on to Ribera Drive where I connected with the Maria Ygnacio Trail multi-use path, then on the Obern Trail path all the way through to Modoc Road, and then home again.
These trails are wonderful to ride on. During the low light times of the day, I keep my head and tail lights on. And, when passing people or bikes I will use my handlebar bell to let them know I’m coming.
SB to Carp to Goleta – click for more detail
All in all this was an easy, though long ride. It took just under seven hours to complete the 70 miles. This is part of the training for PBP, long and increasingly difficult rides, working up to 200K, 300K, 400K, and 600K distances. All of these qualifying rides also have time limits on them to insure the rider will have a decent shot of completing PBP within the required 90 hour time limit. Of course, we don’t have to ride long distances in beautiful Santa Barbara, nor do we have to press hard — we just need to take the opportunity to get out and ride, and enjoy the scenery.
Santa Barbara photo of the week by Bill Heller, click to enlarge.
The end to what looks like it was an amazing day of sailing. This sailboat is motoring its way back into the Santa Barbara Harbor under one of the most beautiful skies imaginable.
Thomas Storke, the man who would come to be known as “Mr. Santa Barbara,” was born on this day in 1876. Although his accomplishments were many, Storke is best know for his hand in the local newspaper business. He was 24 years old when he bought the Daily Independent and over 80 when he won the Pulitzer Prize for journalism.
“In 1900, Tom Storke, age 24, borrowed $2,000 to buy the Daily Independent, weakest of the town’s three papers,” wrote the NY Times at the time of his death in 1971. “He sold it in 1909 and went back into the business in 1913 as owner of the Santa Barbara Daily News. Not long afterward he reacquired the Independent and published the combined paper as the Daily News and Independent.”
In 1932, Storke’s competition, the Santa Barbara Morning Press, was on the brink of bankruptcy, and they begged him to take over as owner. He did and merged his newspaper with the Morning Press to create today’s Santa Barbara News-Press. Continue reading…
A friend of mine told me to check out the turkey’s on Modoc & MIssion. Sure enough, a tom and a hen, along with a few chickens have free range of the large yard. Driving by they almost look like yard art, but as I walked up they slowly walked towards me. With a few seconds the tom ruffled his feathers and took on the look of, gulp, the classic holiday bird.
Before he got too close I beat a hasty retreat. A really gorgeous bird.
Fast fashion has been big in the last decade or more – cheap and hence readily disposable clothing, but a turnaround may be happening, as some fashion experts say a “buy less but better movement is brewing”. Great! Because the average person also disposes of 68 lbs of clothes (throws away) in a year. And then there is what we give away – so much that most of the donations to thrift stores ends up with textile recyclers who either sell them abroad or turn them into rags. Last year 860,000 tons of used clothing were exported. No stats on the rags.
Here is a hopeful indicator: if people are buying too many clothes, at least more are buying used, it seems. The number of thrift stores increased 12% in 2012. There are now around 25,000 resale or thrift shops in the U.S.. Well, the clothes are there to fill the shops, that’s for sure. Even downtown Santa Barbara has more consignment/resale clothing shops than ever. So maybe more of our massive amounts of clothing have at least a better chance at being worn until they are actually ready for rag status.