We have a lot of music-related traditions at my family Thanksgiving. We sing a hymn instead of saying grace before the meal, and after dinner is over, we gather around my cousin Jesse's guitar and belt out our favorite selections from the Rise Up songbook.
But my favorite comes before the food, before the guests even arrive: when "Alice's Restaurant Massacree" by Arlo Guthrie comes on the radio at noon. My mom, dad, brother, and I are usually gathered in the kitchen, preparing hors d'oeuvres, arranging centerpieces, checking on the turkey in the oven.
The 18-minute-long song takes place on Thanksgiving and manages to skewer local government bureaucracy, protest the Vietnam draft, and celebrate group sing-a-longs. The best part of the song, though, is its simple, catchy chorus that embodies the inclusive, bountiful spirit of the holiday: "You can get anything you want at Alice's restaurant."
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