Picture if you would your entire family gathered around the Thanksgiving table ready for the feast of all feasts. Large dishes of mashed potatoes and gravy, green bean salad, stuffing with all the trimmings adorn the table as the sound of murmured conversation fills the house.

In the the middle of the table sits a large covered dish. Its contents hidden away for now as waves of simmering heat are emitted from the dish cover...a result of being recently pulled from the hot oven.

Dad begins the annual tradition of sharpening his culinary cutting tools getting set to carve up the contents underneath the large covered dish. Then it happens. Dad lifts the cover to reveal a freshly roasted, golden brown...Raccoon. Its butt packed with stuffing. while the aroma of freshly roasted Raccoon immediately begins to waft around the table making everyone salivate at the thought of white or dark Raccoon meat.

Believe it or not this may have become a staple for us today had President Calvin Coolidge decided he would cook the critter sent to him from Mississippi native Vinnie Joyce. Joyce sent Coolidge the plump Raccoon as a gift to have as his Thanksgiving dinner. Instead Coolidge and his family decided to stick to Turkey as a centerpiece for their dinner and make the Raccoon an immediate member of the Coolidge family.

Rebecca, as the Raccoon became known accompanied the Coolidge's on outings and family trips, even adorning a cute petite collar. Rebecca became an essential member of the Coolidge administration too even writing legislation and filibustering on the floors of congressional hall. Okay, I made up the legislation and filibustering but the Raccoon liked to take walks on the White House grounds and even attended the annual Easter Egg Hunt.

So this Thanksgiving as you carve that golden brown bird, give an extra nod of thanks to President Coolidge and be thankful you're not carving up some Raccoon or Squirrel for Thanksgiving dinner. Although in certain parts of our country nobody would blink an eye if that were the case.

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