Stephen King has written a lot of books – at 56 novels, he’s closing in on Agatha Christie – some of which have been great, some of which less so. Still, he says, when people say, “Steve, your books are uneven”, he’s confident “there’s good stuff in all of ’em”. Now and then, a story lingers in his mind long after it’s published. When fans ask what happened to Charlie McGee in Firestarter, for example, King isn’t interested. But when they ask what happened to Danny Torrance, the boy from The Shining, he always found himself wondering. Specifically: what the story would have looked like if Danny’s father – mad “white-knuckle alcoholic” Jack Torrance – had “found AA. And I thought, well, let’s find out.”
When you think of the history of Thanksgiving, you’d be hard-pressed not to picture funny Pilgrim hats and stereotyped Native Americans. These days, most of us know that the sanitized story we learned in grade school bears little resemblance to the real history of the Plymouth colony. But it might still come as a surprise to hear that, as Anne Blue Wills argues in a 2003 article in Church History, Thanksgiving as we know it was deliberately invented in the 19th Century.
This festive season, or simply the holidays, is a time for gathering and celebrating with family and friends, gift giving, reflection and thanks. To commemorate this time of year, the U.S. Census Bureau presents the following holiday-related facts and figures from its collection of statistics.