February 4, 1971: Don’t Let the Green Grass Fool You

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(Pictured: a TV screencap from Apollo 14 showing astronaut Alan Shepard hitting a golf ball with an improvised club on February 6, 1971.)

(This post is by request from a longtime reader. If there’s something you’d like to read about here, get in touch.)

February 4, 1971, was a Thursday. Apollo 14 went into orbit around the moon early this morning. Astronauts Alan Shepard and Edgar Mitchell are scheduled to land early tomorrow morning while Stuart Roosa stays behind in the command module. Twenty thousand South Vietnamese troops have invaded the neighboring nation of Laos. American commanders have refused to discuss the situation in recent days, although an official news embargo has been lifted today. It’s learned that 20,000 more South Vietnamese and 9,000 American troops are massing at the Laotian border. In Oakland, California, authorities fear that the bombing of an Army induction center, which shattered storefronts nearby but injured no one, may mark an escalation of the antiwar movement. Eight American soldiers and one Marine die in Vietnam today. A Delta Air Lines flight from Chicago to Nashville with 27 people aboard is hijacked and flown to Cuba. President Nixon speaks to the American College of Cardiology meeting in Washington. A tornado in rural Grenada County, Mississippi, kills four members of one family. Future actor/comedian Rob Corddry and future Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti are born. The Vatican says that Catholic theologians and teachers will no longer face excommunication or be charged with heresy for opposing church doctrine.

Major League Baseball announces that it will induct former Negro Leagues players into the Hall of Fame, but they will be enshrined in their own wing. Two games are played in the NBA: the San Francisco Warriors beat Phoenix 117-105 and Portland beats Atlanta 137-123. In the ABA, the Virginia Squires beat the Floridians 138-129 in double overtime and the Kentucky Colonels beat the New York Nets 106-99.

On TV tonight, CBS opens with Family Affair and The Jim Nabors Hour, followed by Sinatra in Concert, a November 1970 show taped at the Royal Festival Hall in London. On NBC, it’s The Flip Wilson Show (with guests including Joe Namath and George Carlin), Ironside, Adam-12, and The Dean Martin Show. ABC airs Alias Smith and Jones, Bewitched, Make Room for Granddaddy, Dan August, and This Is Your Life. Movies in theaters include Peter Sellers and Goldie Hawn in There’s a Girl in My Soup, Barbra Streisand and George Segal in The Owl and the Pussycat, plus Tora! Tora! Tora!, Lovers and Other Strangers, and Song of Norway, the musical biography of composer Edvard Grieg. At Syracuse University hot spot The Scene, tonight is Wino Thursday. Cover is 50 cents for the wine and cheese party; glasses of Budweiser are 40 cents.

T. Rex plays Croydon, England, while Earth Wind and Fire plays a club date in West Hollywood. Just off a three-night stand at the Whisky A Go-Go in Los Angeles, the Allman Brothers fly halfway across the country for the first of two nights at Ohio Wesleyan University. Elvis Presley plays dinner and midnight shows at the International Hotel in Las Vegas. The James Gang plays Morehead State University in Kentucky.

At WRKO in Boston, “One Bad Apple” by the Osmonds holds at #1 on the new survey released today. “If You Could Read My Mind” by Gordon Lightfoot is #2, and “Mr. Bojangles” by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band is #3. One song is new in the Top 10: “Groove Me” by King Floyd is at #10 from #13, replacing “Knock Three Times” by Dawn, which slips to #11. “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” by Creedence Clearwater Revival, is up seven spots to #12. “She’s a Lady” by Tom Jones is the week’s biggest mover, leaping 12 spots to #15 in its second week on the chart. Five songs debut: Bobby Goldsboro’s “Watching Scotty Grow,” “For All We Know” by the Carpenters (from the movie Lovers and Other Strangers), Wilson Pickett’s “Don’t Let the Green Grass Fool You,” “Just My Imagination” by the Temptations, and Santana’s “Oye Como Va.”

Perspective From the Present: On Saturday the 6th, astronaut Alan Shepard would make history by hitting a golf ball during a moonwalk. The “separate but equal” Negro Leagues wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame was shot down pretty quickly. I received a 45 of “Knock Three Times” for Christmas 1970, and I would eventually buy “Don’t Let the Green Grass Fool You,” as well as Wadsworth Mansion’s “Sweet Mary” and the Jackson Five’s “Mama’s Pearl,” also on the WRKO chart this week. The song that would stick with me the longest, however, is “Just My Imagination” by the Temptations, which remains one of my very favorite records of all time.

January 1, 1981: Another One Bites the Dust

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(Pictured: Georgia running back Herschel Walker carries the ball against Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl on January 1, 1981.)

January 1, 1981, was a Thursday. Stories in the morning papers include the death of media theorist Marshall McLuhan yesterday. Also dying this week were singer/songwriter Tim Hardin (of a heroin overdose) and J. W. Milam, who had been acquitted of kidnapping and murder charges in the 1955 Emmett Till case. After the acquittal, Milam and an accomplice admitted the crime in a 1956 Look magazine story. Today, negotiations continue in hopes of freeing the Americans held hostage in Iran since November 1979. Algerian diplomats will take the latest American proposals to Iran tonight; meanwhile, a British envoy says that the release of British hostages held in Iran is imminent. The federal minimum wage increases from $3.10 to $3.35 an hour. It had been raised 60 cents in 1979 and 20 cents in 1980. Outgoing president Jimmy Carter continues to recover from a broken collarbone suffered last weekend while cross-country skiing at Camp David. Despite the break, the Carters attended a New Year’s Eve party at the home of press secretary Jody Powell last night, returning to the White House a little before 1:00 this morning. The president is up at 6 and in the Oval Office by 7:30; later in the morning, the Carters fly to Atlanta and then New Orleans, where they attend this afternoon’s Sugar Bowl game between Georgia and Notre Dame. They return to Washington via Atlanta and are back in the White House by 9PM.

In the Sugar Bowl, Georgia completes an undefeated season and is expected to be voted college football’s national champion after defeating Notre Dame 17-10. Second-ranked Florida State, its title hopes extinguished after the Georgia win this afternoon, loses the Orange Bowl to Oklahoma tonight, 18-17. Elsewhere today, Michigan wins the Rose Bowl 23-16 over Washington and Alabama blows out Baylor in the Cotton Bowl, 30-2. The last of the season’s 15 bowl games will be played tomorrow when Miami (Florida) plays Virginia Tech in Atlanta at the Peach Bowl. Four NFL divisional playoff games are scheduled for this weekend. On Saturday, Minnesota plays at Philadelphia and Buffalo is at San Diego; on Sunday, Oakland is at Cleveland and Dallas plays at Atlanta.

Around the country, radio stations have been counting down the top hits of 1980. At WLS in Chicago, the #1 song of the year is “Lost in Love” by Air Supply. At WABC in New York and CKLW in Detroit, it’s “Another One Bites the Dust” by Queen. At KIIS-FM in Los Angeles, “Funkytown” by Lipps Inc. is #1 for the year. At WFIL in Philadelphia, it’s “Lady” by Kenny Rogers, at WHLM in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, it’s Billy Joel’s “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me,” and at KSTT in Davenport, Iowa, it’s “Call Me” by Blondie. “Call Me” is also American Top 40‘s #1 song of 1980; the second part of the annual Top 100 countdown will air around the country this coming weekend. Cash Box has “Call Me” at #2 for the year; its #1 song is “Another One Bites the Dust.” Cash Box and Billboard both name Pink Floyd’s The Wall as the year’s #1 album. On their regular weekly charts dated last Saturday, both Billboard and Cash Box have”(Just Like) Starting Over” by John Lennon at #1 for the first week, knocking “Lady” from the top spot.

Perspective From the Present: The 1981 federal minimum wage of $3.35 is equivalent to between $9 and $10 per hour today, depending on which calculator you use. It would not be raised again until 1990. Georgia was named the consensus #1 team in college football, in those days before a formal playoff system existed. “Starting Over” would eventually spend five weeks at #1 in both Billboard and Cash Box.

For several years running in the late 70s and 1980s, my group of hometown friends known as the Crew would see in the new year at one guy’s family cottage, on Yellowstone Lake in rural Wisconsin. I am pretty sure that’s where I was when 1981 arrived. Guests tended to come and go as they pleased to these affairs; it was not unusual for people to roll in after midnight ready to party just as most everyone else was ready to go to sleep. One year—and we might as well say it was when 1980 turned into 1981—some of us arrived at mid-afternoon on New Year’s Eve and, thanks to one of those New Year’s snowstorms we always seemed to get back then, didn’t leave until after dark on January 1.

December 31, 1999: Millennium Mix

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(Pictured: fireworks over San Francisco as 1999 turns to 2000.)

December 31, 1999, was a Friday. Tension is high in the developed world over fears that computers might go haywire when the date changes to 1/1/2000 tonight. Worldwide, over $300 billion has been spent preparing for the so-called Y2K or Millennium Bug. Around the United States, at least six babies are born minutes before midnight tonight while awaiting twin siblings to be born after midnight, not just in a new year but a new millennium. Cities around the world prepare for record crowds of revelers to see in the new year. Not seeing the new year is Sarah Knauss of Allentown, Pennsylvania, who died yesterday at the certified age of 119, the oldest person in the world. Today, former US Attorney General Elliott Richardson, who resigned from office in 1973 as a casualty of the Watergate Saturday Night Massacre, dies at age 79. Boris Yeltsin, who became president of Russia after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, resigns from office. He is replaced by Vladimir Putin. By the terms of a treaty concluded in 1977, the United States hands control of the Panama Canal to the government of Panama.

Four college football bowl games are played today. Two are decided late: Oregon beats Minnesota 24-20 at the Sun Bowl in El Paso; in Shreveport, Louisiana, a field goal as time expires gives Mississippi a 27-25 Independence Bowl win over Oklahoma. Six more bowls will be played tomorrow, including the Rose Bowl, with Wisconsin against Stanford. The NBA is on a New Year’s break until Sunday. Two games are played in the NHL tonight: Dallas beats Anaheim 5-4 while Chicago and Detroit play to a 4-4 tie.

Television networks of all sorts are airing special programming themed for the millennium. ABC 2000 Today, a 23-hour show anchored by Peter Jennings, begins at 5AM Eastern time. Tonight, CBS has a special primetime edition of Late Show With David Letterman, a Grammy Awards special, and a live broadcast from the White House millennium gala. NBC presents Dateline NBC and millennium programming hosted by Jay Leno. Fox airs the theatrical movie Star Trek: Generations and a special from Times Square in New York City. Prince performs a pay-per-view show from his studio in Minneapolis, at which he plans to play “1999” for the last time. Metallica plays Detroit with Kid Rock, Ted Nugent, and Sevendust; some of the show airs on MTV. Phish plays the Big Cypress Festival in Florida; some of that show airs on ABC. Billy Joel plays Madison Square Garden and KISS plays Vancouver, British Columbia. Gloria Estefan plays Miami and Bruce Hornsby plays Williamsburg, Virginia. Barbra Streisand opens a two-night stand in Las Vegas, for which she is reportedly being paid $15 million. The Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, and Jackson Browne play the Staples Center in Los Angeles. A story that ran in the Los Angeles Times on Christmas Eve noted that many of the New Year’s Eve shows around the country were seeing sluggish ticket sales. Most of the $1000 seats at the Eagles show are expected to be empty tonight; promoters of Jimmy Buffett’s show at the Universal Amphitheater in LA have slashed ticket prices and reconfigured the theater to hide empty seats.

On the new Hot 100 that will come out tomorrow, the top three songs are in the same positions as last week. “Smooth” by Santana with Rob Thomas is in its 11th week at #1; “Back at One” by Brian McKnight and “I Wanna Love You Forever” by Jessica Simpson are #2 and #3. Whitney Houston’s “My Love Is Your Love” trades places at #4 with “I Knew I Loved You” by Savage Garden, now at #5. The biggest mover within the Top 40 is Christina Aguilera’s version of “The Christmas Song,” up to #18 from #47. Kenny G’s “Auld Lang Syne (The Millennium Mix)” jumps to #54 from #89.

Perspective From the Present: On this night, The Mrs. and I had dinner out but planned to be in early. Some friends invited us to stop by their house for a drink, which we felt we could safely do and still get home before our town hit the streets to celebrate the new millennium. But it was so pleasant, with cool people hanging out drinking, talking, and watching the celebrations on TV, that we stayed. At midnight, we all sang “Auld Lang Syne” around the piano, and it was 1AM before Ann and I left. It was our last profoundly memorable New Year’s Eve to date. We have spent a few with the family since then, but we’re far more often long in bed by the time midnight comes, as we expect to be tonight.

December 25, 2000: The Grinch Stole Christmas

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(Pictured: Destiny’s Child. L to R: Kelly Rowland, Beyoncé Knowles, and Michelle Williams, on stage in 2000.)

December 25, 2000, was a Monday. There’s subzero cold across much of the American Midwest today. Moline, Illinois, sets a record with a low of 18 below. In Madison, Wisconsin, it was 21 below. A partial eclipse of the sun is visible across much of North America, reaching its maximum just past noon Eastern time. Up to 60 percent of the sun is covered in the northeastern U.S., but only about 20 percent in the far southwest. Christmas celebrations in Bethlehem are either scaled down or canceled in the wake of renewed fighting between Israelis and Palestinians; outgoing president Bill Clinton has presented both sides a new plan to stop the violence. Meanwhile, the family Christmas celebration of president-elect George W. Bush is interrupted when 19-year-old Jenna Bush is hospitalized for an emergency appendectomy. Today’s newspapers contain stories about the new president’s cabinet choices. Liberal groups oppose the nomination of John Ashcroft as attorney general given his conservative record on civil rights and abortion. Also in the papers today is the obituary of Billy Barty, who appeared in dozens of TV shows from the 50s to the 90s. The 3-foot-9-inch actor died on Saturday at age 76.

The top movie at the box office this past weekend was Cast Away, starring Tom Hanks, which took in a record $30 million. Other popular movies include What Women Want, starring Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt; The Family Man, starring Nicolas Cage; and Jim Carrey’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The top-rated TV show of the night is ABC’s Monday Night Football, where the Tennessee Titans blow out the Dallas Cowboys 31-0. Tonight on CBS: A Charlie Brown Christmas, Everybody Loves Raymond, Becker, and Family Law, which stars Kathleen Quinlan, Dixie Carter, and Tony Danza. NBC presents its annual broadcast of It’s a Wonderful Life. Fox airs Boston Legal and a Christmas episode of Ally McBeal.

The NBA’s made-for-TV Christmas doubleheader features the Indiana Pacers beating the Orlando Magic 103-93 despite Tracy McGrady’s 43 points for Orlando. In a battle of Western Conference contenders, the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Los Angeles Lakers 109-104. Rasheed Wallace of the Trail Blazers leads all scorers with 33; Shaquille O’Neal of the Lakers scores 32. In college football, Boston College beats Arizona State 31-17 at the Aloha Bowl in Honolulu. The Titans/Cowboys game today was the last of the NFL regular season. The playoffs begin this coming Saturday. The Titans are the #1 seed in the AFC; in the NFC, the New York Giants are #1. Both teams will have the coming weekend off. The wild-card weekend schedule has St. Louis at New Orleans and Indianapolis at Miami on Saturday; on Sunday, Tampa Bay plays at Philadelphia and Denver visits Baltimore.

On the Billboard Hot 100, “Independent Women” by Destiny’s Child is #1 for a sixth straight week. “It Wasn’t Me” by Shaggy moves up to #2. “Case of the Ex” by Mya is #3. “With Arms Wide Open” by Creed is at #4; it’s also the oldest record on the chart, in its 38th week. There’s not much chart action, apart from “Liquid Dreams” by O-Town, which makes its Hot 100 debut at #21, and Madonna’s “Don’t Tell Me,” which zooms from #54 to #35. On the Billboard 200 album chart, 1 by the Beatles is back in the top spot. It was knocked from the #1 spot two weeks ago by the Backstreet Boys’ Black and Blue, which is now #2. The compilation Now That’s What I Call Music 5 is #3, Human Clay by Creed is #4, and Oops! I Did It Again by Britney Spears is #5.

Perspective From the Present: I have had better Christmases than the one in 2000. We visited the family in Michigan, Ann’s brother, his wife, and our three nephews, then aged 7, 4, and seven months. My journal records that we drove through two different snowstorms to get there on Christmas Eve. Christmas Day was chaotic with general family buzz and I craved quiet that I could not find. On the 26th, I awoke with the flu, which required Ann to do the driving on the way home while I moldered in the passenger seat. On Wednesday the 27th, I was back in my corporate cubicle, although as I wrote in my journal on that day, with the bosses out of town for the holidays, “there’s little motivation for me to do much of anything. If I liked this job and thought it mattered, I might have more remorse about malingering—but as it is, I don’t.” I’d had the job for nine months; I would somehow stick it out for nearly three more years.

December 24, 1970: Awe and Wonder

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(Pictured L to R: Janee Michelle, Venetta Rogers, Erin Murphy, David Lawrence, and Elizabeth Montgomery in “Sisters at Heart,” the episode of Bewitched airing on December 24, 1970.)

December 24, 1970, is a Thursday. It is Christmas Eve. Newspapers are crowded with ads from merchants extending holiday greetings, although a few retailers advertise last-minute gift ideas or reduced-price Christmas decorations, and some restaurants plug their holiday hours. The National Christmas Tree Growers Association estimates that 50,000 retailers across the country will sell about 45 million trees this year, grossing about $200 million, comparable to 1969 figures.

The U.S. Central Command announced today that 23 Americans died in Vietnam during the week of December 12-18, the lowest weekly total since October 1965. American and South Vietnamese troops suspend offensive operations for 24 hours beginning at 5AM Eastern time this morning, which is 6PM Saigon time. The Viet Cong have already announced a 72-hour cease-fire, which was to begin at noon yesterday. American bombers will continue to hit targets in Cambodia and Laos, where the cease-fire orders do not apply. The Nixon Administration’s 1971 budget proposal, to be sent to Congress next month, will include $1.3 billion to facilitate an all-volunteer army by 1973. Money will be spent on enlistment bonuses and higher pay for those who agree to serve in combat infantry, artillery, and armored units. Up to $20 million will be spent on “prime TV and radio time” for recruiting commercials rather than relying on free public-service announcements. Elsewhere, the new budget will not include any new federal spending on health care, but a Nixon advisor says the administration wants to make medical care available to all Americans, reform the health-care delivery system, and concentrate on prevention of both disease and accidents.

No games are scheduled in the NBA or ABA tonight. The Milwaukee Bucks have the NBA’s best record at the holiday break, 26-and-6. The Utah Stars, Virginia Squires, and Kentucky Colonels are the ABA’s best teams, each with 23 wins. The National Hockey League is also quiet tonight. The National Football League playoffs will begin on Saturday.

Laura Nyro plays a Christmas Eve show at the Fillmore East in New York City with Jackson Browne opening. (The two have begun a brief romance.) On TV tonight, CBS presents Family Affair, a Christmas edition of The Jim Nabors Show, and the 1962 theatrical movie The Password Is Courage. NBC presents Christmas episodes of The Flip Wilson Show and The Dean Martin Show along with Ironside and Nancy, a sitcom about the daughter of the President of the United States, who marries a small-town Iowa veterinarian. ABC airs Matt Lincoln (with Vince Edwards, former Ben Casey star, playing a hip young psychiatrist at work in an urban neighborhood), Bewitched, Barefoot in the Park, The Odd Couple, and The Immortal. Some local stations pre-empt network programming to air their own Christmas Eve choices. After the late local news, many stations broadcast Christmas Eve church services, holiday concerts, and/or Christmas movies.

A young farm family in southern Wisconsin, with kids aged 10, 8, and 4, does not watch TV on this night. The milking is done early. They have supper and attend Christmas Eve services, then return home to open presents. Later, they will begin waiting for Santa to come.

At WLS in Chicago, “My Sweet Lord” by George Harrison holds at #1 again this week. “Knock Three Times” by Dawn is up to #2, and “One Less Bell to Answer” by the Supremes Fifth Dimension is at #3. “Stoned Love” by the Supremes (#4) and “No Matter What” by Badfinger (#6) make strong moves within the Top 10. New entries in the Top 10 are “Black Magic Woman” by Santana (#7) and “Domino” by Van Morrison (#9). The biggest movers on the survey are “Lonely Days” by the Bee Gees, up 12 spots to #16, and “River Deep, Mountain High” by the Supremes and the Four Tops, up 8 spots to #17. At 3:00 this afternoon, WLS suspends its regular programming, and for the next 24 hours airs a special called the Holiday Festival of Music.

Perspective From the Present: I first told the story of Christmas Eve 1970 during this website’s very first Christmas season in 2004, and have retold it many times since. I look back on that night with a sense of awe and wonder, the kind a religious person might feel while reading the creation story, because in a very important sense, the person I became, the one I am today, was born that night.

So, from our bedecked halls to yours, as Nat King Cole sang to me 50 years ago on Christmas Eve:

I’m offering this simple phrase
To kids from one to 92
Although it’s been said many times, many ways
Merry Christmas to you

November 24, 1966: Hazy Shade

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(Pictured: Bullwinkle J. Moose floats above the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.)

(In the very first post on this website, I warned you that sometimes it was going to be so personal that only I would care about it. This is an example of what I meant. This may not be one day in your life, but it’s one day in mine.)

November 24, 1966, is a Thursday. It is Thanksgiving Day. All over America, families gather to celebrate. For a second straight day, elevated smog levels are recorded on the East Coast. After a stretch of Indian summer weather, a stagnant air mass is held in place by a cold front, which has allowed the buildup of carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and smoke. New York City is positively choking. Today, in hopes of minimizing the smog, the city closes its garbage incinerators, and utilities cut back on the use of fuel oil to generate electricity. Despite the smog, one million people attend the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, where the haze is noticeable.

There are also Thanksgiving Day parades in Detroit and Philadelphia, also sponsored by department stores, J. L. Hudson’s and Gimbels. This afternoon, in Detroit’s traditional Thanksgiving Day NFL game, the Lions are blown out by the San Francisco 49ers 41-14. For the first time, the Dallas Cowboys play on Thanksgiving, beating the Cleveland Browns 26-14. There’s also an AFL game today: Buffalo beats Oakland 31-10. On TV tonight, CBS airs the 1963 theatrical movie Jason and the Argonauts at the conclusion of the Cowboys/Browns game. ABC presents Batman, F Troop, The Dating Game, Bewitched, That Girl, and Hawk, a police drama starring Burt Reynolds. On NBC, it’s the anthology show GE Fantasy Theater, Star Trek, The Hero (a sitcom with Richard Mulligan as an actor who stars in a TV Western, with Mariette Hartley as his wife), and The Dean Martin Show.

The current Cash Box magazine chart is led by the Beach Boys and “Good Vibrations.” “Winchester Cathedral” by the New Vaudeville Band is #2; last week’s #1, “Poor Side of Town” by Johnny Rivers, is #3. “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” by the Supremes and “Last Train to Clarksville” by the Monkees round out the Top Five. Two songs are new in the Top 10: “I’m Your Puppet” by James and Bobby Purify (currently #1 on the Cash Box R&B chart) and a medley of “Devil With a Blue Dress” and “Good Golly Miss Molly” by Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels. Elsewhere, “I’m Ready for Love” by Martha and the Vandellas is up 16 spots to #24; “Mellow Yellow” by Donovan is up 26 spots to #33; “A Hazy Shade of Winter” by Simon and Garfunkel is up 19 spots to #35. Two Motown hits are the highest-debuting songs of the week: “Money (That’s What I Want)” by Jr. Walker and the All-Stars at #61 and “(I Know) I’m Losing You” by the Temptations at #67. The #1 song on the Cash Box country chart this week is “Open Up Your Heart” by Buck Owens and the Buckaroos. The self-titled debut album by the Monkees is atop the Cash Box album chart.

Perspective From the Present: On Friday, November 25, New York City issued a first-stage smog alert, asking people to avoid driving, turn thermostats down, and stop burning their own garbage. Similar alerts were issued in New Jersey and Connecticut. On Saturday morning, the weather turned, and a northeast wind dispersed the smog. Although precise figures are impossible to calculate, some experts said that the smog likely caused as many as two dozen excess deaths in the city per day.

Six-year-old me did not celebrate Thanksgiving with my whole family on this day. A few days earlier, I had been kicked on the playground, and as a result, I developed some sort of infection in one leg. I had already missed a couple of days of school because I had keep it elevated and under hot towels. That meant I couldn’t go to Grandma and Grandpa’s for Thanksgiving dinner with my aunts, uncles, and cousins. So Mother, my two-month-old brother, and I stayed home while Dad and my other brother, age 4, went to the dinner. Mother prepared turkey noodle soup for  us, entertained me with board games, and did all she could to lessen my disappointment and, most likely, hers.

Even though we didn’t particularly like the circumstances, we made the best of what we had to deal with—a good lesson for Thanksgiving 2020.