November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012



One of my friends suggested that beginning January 1 we should get a mason jar (or any other kind of jar with a lid) and place in that jar something we are thankful for each and every day. At the end of the year, take the lid off the jar and begin to read all those “thankful” messages.

Maybe we shouldn’t wait until January. Maybe we should begin on Thanksgiving Day and then take the lid off next Thanksgiving. I don’t think we even need to limit ourselves to one “thanks” a day.2


I’m posting this late, I admit, due to the holiday’s hectic nature and to fighting off a mild headache.


On Thanksgiving Day both our children visit their in-laws, which leaves my husband Monte and I alone. A neighbor and friend, Joanne, invited us to join her family. Monte wanted to relax at home, but I went. One of her guests teaches fifth grade science and was fascinated that Monte changed from teaching college physics to being an ordained pastor. He regretted that Monte hadn’t come with me.

The day ended with excitement. Joanne’s four (one her daughter’s) dogs escaped at dusk. Three were retrieved. The oldest one, the arthritic female, couldn’t be found. Off Joanne and numerous guests went to search for her. One man saw her but was unable to retrieve her. The dog remained missing and Joanne was quite worried.


On Friday because my daughter had to work, and our son didn’t plan to arrive until into the afternoon, leaving us free to participate in Black Friday—even when it began on Thursday. However, there was no temptation to participate in this consumer madness.

When my son, his wife, and two grandsons arrived on Friday I was immediately immersed in playing flip Uno, computer-induced word searches, and air-popped popcorn. We have our own Uno rules—we earn a point for winning a hand, and the winner draws five more cards to continue the game. Whoever reaches ten (or whatever number is chosen) games wins. A new rule this year: Jump In. lf a player has two cards of the same color and number they can play both by saying Jump In.

Saturday arrived. My daughter-in-law peeled the potatoes because the boys had me busy on the computer creating word searches. The call that the turkey was ready came about four o’clock. We traipsed through the woods to Sandy’s house and gathered there—finally, our family, together. Two guests were missing: Joanne and Lois both had bugs that had successfully invaded their systems.


At both Thanksgiving dinners the menus were traditionally American—turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, stuffing, rolls, pumpkin pie and apple pie, along with miscellaneous side dishes: corn, green beans…

I wondered how closely the menu compared to what was served at what we refer to as the first Thanksgiving.

Although the first autumn celebration on the United States northeastern shore occurred in Jamestown, Virginia, the celebration I’ll use occurred in Plymouth:

While 103 people landed at Plymouth Rock on December 11, 1620, about half of them died during the first winter. Those who survived managed to plant crops the following spring and reaped a good harvest during the summer and fall. The first Thanksgiving at Plimoth Colony was held to celebrate that harvest.1

Journals written by literate persons offer clues to the meal.

William Bradford wrote: “They began now to gather in the small harvest they had, and to fit up their houses and dwellings against winter, being all well recovered in health and strength and had all things in good plenty. For as some were thus employed in affairs abroad, others were exercised in fishing, about cod and bass and other fish, of which they took good store, of which every family had their portion. All the summer there was no want; and now began to come in store of fowl, as winter approached, of which this place did abound when they came first (but afterward decreased by degrees). And besides waterfowl there was great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many, besides venison, etc. Besides, they had about a peck a meal a week to a person, or now since harvest, Indian corn to the proportion. Which made many afterwards write so largely of their plenty here to their friends in England, which were not feigned but true reports.”

Edward Winslow wrote: “Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruits of our labor. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week. At which time, amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which we brought to the plantation and bestowed on our governor, and upon the captain and others. And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.”1

I can conclude that the first harvest celebration included fish, fowl, wild turkey, venison (deer), and Indian corn.


This Thanksgiving I am thankful for all those persons who trod the journey before I did, laying the groundwork for me to enjoy the products of their success—and their failures. I am thankful for my husband, my children, their spouses, and their children. And I am thankful I was born in a country where I can turn the handle of the faucet and clear water flows out abundantly, where I am free to vote, and where I am free to exercise my religious faith without fear of violence. I am thankful for two sisters who discovered me through CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS. And I am thankful for continuing good health.

I thank those of you who read my writing on CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS, and for those who comment on these writings.

I hope each of you had a happy Thanksgiving.

NOTE: Joanne’s dog was rescued by a neighbor and arrived home safely. Both are recovering.




The Thanksgiving Baby




2St. Clair Street Happenings, From a pastor’s heart…Pastor Ardi (Calvary United Methodist Church, Ligonier, PA)


  1. I am thankful for you and Dad to!!!

    Comment by Sandra Murawski — November 27, 2012 @ 12:11 am | Reply

  2. Our daughters enjoyed the leftover turkey on kitchen counter!!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by Joan — November 27, 2012 @ 9:15 am | Reply

  3. Ignore 1st comment / Our daughter’s dog enjoyed the leftover turkey on kitchen counter!

    Comment by Joan — November 27, 2012 @ 9:17 am | Reply

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