A Thanksgiving retrospective

November 30 – How different from the first Thanksgiving is the one we celebrated this year with the folks across the road from us. Celebrating their first harvest way back in 1621, the Pilgrims and their guests were happy to recount their blessings. Abe Lincoln and later presidents said that the last Thursday in November would be celebrated. But later during the Great Depression, FDR thought that the holiday should come earlier and be celebrated on the fourth Thursday, giving the stores a chance to sell more goods, especially those that would be given for Christmas.

I can remember that when I was growing up, nobody talked about Christmas at all before Thanksgiving was over. How times have changed! I told Dale the other day that at the rate we are going in this dear country of ours, we may be having Black Friday in September so I can buy him a less expensive (also known as cheaper), present for his birthday! To each his own, but I can’t believe that people would camp out on the sidewalk in front of a store the day before the sales begin! Lots of ads for cell phones and iPads catch the eye of many, but since we don’t know how to use either one, I guess we will have to stick to our idea of using what we have while it’s still in good working order, and leave Black Friday sales to those who are really ready to pounce on their bargains.

Thanksgiving fruit bowl (just kidding, rock fruit from the Thrift Store!)

Thanksgiving fruit bowl (just kidding, rock fruit from the Thrift Store!)

But back to a much happier note. Over at the home of Larry and Laurie Pope, 18 of us, some family, some friends, gathered for a really tasty dinner. Good to see the young folks gathered together off in one corner of the living room with phones in use, with lots of chuckles and laughter, teasing and razzing, but all in good fun. Several of the kids in their twenties were home from college in Washington state and Nebraska, along with granddaughter Rindy who has been working at her first job in Kansas, using her skills in physical therapy. The food table was so full of various dishes that it was hard to choose which foods I wanted to put on my plate! Mashed potatoes, salad, vegetarian stuffing, cranberry sauce, lima beans, cheese roast, homemade noodles, sweet potato casserole, warm rolls, and other dishes I can’t remember–a real variety. Now, about the Thanksgiving turkey – since we and others are vegetarians, we chose to pass on the smoked turkey our grandson Rob prepared. But that just left more for everybody else!

Black walnuts for the fudge

Black walnuts for the fudge

Lots of interesting conversation around the table as we caught up on the news from folks we hadn’t seen for awhile. Then came the dessert! So much so that those many dishes took up a good bit of the counter space in the kitchen! Pies everywhere, and in so many varieties. Pecan, chocolate, lemon, apple, pumpkin, all prepared by our Reynolds grandsons. The lemon is always special because of its sourness and zip! Why? Our daughter started the tradition before she passed away three years ago. Although the recipe called for part lemon juice and part water, she always skipped the water and put in the same amount of lemon juice instead! How very much I do like that pie, my real favorite, but I still can’t take even one bite without tears coming from my eyes. It is really Sour with a capital S!

Chocolate-covered peanut butter cookies

Chocolate-covered peanut butter cookies

I think Dale likes the pecan the most, but can do away with pieces of any without complaint. When I saw the apple pie, just filled to the brim with apples and a touch of cinnamon, I told Grandson Kevin how good it looked. “Well, it should be good, Grandma,” he said. “It’s YOUR recipe!” Rindy had brought along a big box of chocolate-covered peanut butter cookies, our friend Carole brought a really tasty frozen pumpkin cheese cake, and I had made a big pan of black walnut fudge.

Following the meal we joined together in the now-crowded living room, with smiling faces everywhere. Some joked that others had eaten so much they couldn’t find a chair that was big enough to hold them. Some sat on the floor where they had extra room on both sides! Now we had a captive audience for family stories, things that happened 60 or 70 years ago, or maybe just lately.

As we left for home, we were full–full of such delicious food, full of stories, full of love and appreciation for friends and family, and full of thankfulness to God who provides so much for us every day. How good that we have at least one day each year to do this, and to take time to realize His blessings. – CHRIS

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