Abraham Lincoln Pardoned the Turkey

One of my many paintings of Lincoln/Enamel on wood/2012

This is a repost of a wood cut painting I did of President Abraham Lincoln/2012

I’ve always been so inspired by Abe Lincoln.  He remembered his dreams and reflected on them and their meanings, was interested in the mystery of the human spirit and souls in the after-life, and was full of so much knowledge which he shared with such engaging humor. When I was a child I thought we had visited his house and I still “remember” it.  Today is Thanksgiving and I had not realized that Thanksgiving was proclaimed by President Lincoln during the Civil War. The following is an excerpt from the Smithsonian website:

It was, however, in late 1863, when the Lincolns received a live turkey for the family to feast on at Christmas. Tad, ever fond of animals, quickly adopted the bird as a pet, naming him Jack and teaching him to follow behind as he hiked around the White House grounds. On Christmas Eve, Lincoln told his son that the pet would no longer be a pet. “Jack was sent here to be killed and eaten for this very Christmas,” he told Tad, who answered, “I can’t help it. He’s a good turkey, and I don’t want him killed.” The boy argued that the bird had every right to live, and as always, the president gave into his son, writing a reprieve for the turkey on a card and handing it to Tad.

The boy kept Jack for another year, and on election day in 1864, Abraham Lincoln spotted the bird among soldiers who were lining up to vote. Lincoln playfully asked his son if the turkey would be voting too, and Tad answered, “O, no; he isn’t of age yet.”

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