Wednesday, November 21, 2012

LINCOLN: the movie; the Best Thanksgiving Songs

LINCOLN is worth watching.   Lots of yawns among the small Kentucky audience, just a few miles from Lincoln's Homestead State Park, but spontaneous applause at the end.   Tony Kushner focused the script on the arguments over the passage of the 13th amendment and the legalities involved, which was a good choice.   They should have streamlined it even further.

Lots of nice performances.   Hal Holbrook stands out. Daniel Day-Lewis got the Kentucky accent right, or nearly right, somehow.   I never thought he’d be that good.   Sally Field plays a rather demanding role, gained 25lbs for the part, has lost it now and looks great for her age, 10 years older than Day-Lewis, twenty years older than Mary Todd Lincoln was at the time. Amazing.

David Lee Jones was also good.   As were James Spader and lots of others I knew but couldn’t name offhand.


Ever since Lincoln established Thanksgiving Day, the holiday has needed some appropriate music.  What we usually hear is that church song:

We gather together to ask the Lord's blessing;
He chastens and hastens His Will to make known.
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing.
Sing praises to His Name; He forgets not His Own.

That doesn't do it for us, and although other songs of gratitude, such as Louis Armstrong's "It's A Wonderful World" and Perry Como's "There's No Place Like Home For the Holidays" are frequently played, none of them are particularly connected with Thanksgiving Day.

But now there is one appropriate song to be heard at our house, and that is Mary Chapin Carpenter's lovely "Thanksgiving Song," from her Come Darkness, Come Light CD.

Here are the lyrics:

Grateful for each hand we hold
Gathered 'round the table
From far and near we travel home
Blessed that we are able

Grateful for this sheltered place
With light in every window
Saying welcome welcome share this feast
Come in away from sorrow

Father, mother, daughter, son,
Neighbor, friend and friendless
All together, every one
In the gift of loving kindness

Grateful for what's understoood
And all that is forgiven
We try so hard to be good
To lead a life worth living

Father, mother, daughter, son,
Neighbor, friend, and friendless
All together, every one
Let grateful days be endless

Grateful for each hand we hold
Gathered round this table

Amen to that.

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