Like lots of folks, I’ve always pictured Thanksgiving as a time when a one-horse sleigh traveled through the woods to grandma’s house where family gathered to eat turkey and the trimmings from a big platter. When everyone was nice and stuffed, the family would gather around the fireplace in the sitting room and enjoy being together.
No matter how much I envision Thanksgiving like a Norman Rockwell painting, my expectations always seem to fall short. There’s never any snow around here so there goes the one-horse sleigh and the trip through the woods. The turkey never seems as big and golden as in the Grandma Moses paintings. And my family never seems to look that wholesome and angelic, mainly due to some long-haired fella with an oversized mustache and a hat only removed to acknowledge prayer, ladies and meals.
My mother was one of 13 children, so I remember Thanksgivings as a boy that resembled a Courier and Ives painting with a gaggle of family on a beautiful November day. We had so many folks to feed that dinner was served in three parts. (Actually, the meal was at the lunch hour, but in the rural South, we called that dinner. The evening meal was supper.) The men ate at the first table, the kids ate at the second table and the women ate at the third table. The women got it right. Their thinking was, “Get the men fed and out of the way first, so they could go out on the porch and talk and smoke. Feed the kids second (which might take two seatings with chairs bunched all around the table); then they could go about doing the things kids do. The women ate last. They had cooked the meal, served it to the men and served it to the kids, so finally they could sit down and take their time to talk and enjoy the meal without the men and kids being in the way.
Thanksgiving has changed since Abraham Lincoln declared an official day to observe our blessings as a country in 1863, but some things never go out of style, like gratitude. Most folks know I love a great tale, and the observance of Thanksgiving has all the makings of a great story. In 1621, or thereabout, the first version of Thanksgiving took place between pilgrims and Indians. The Indians helped the pilgrims plant and cultivate a successful corn crop in their new homeland, so a celebration of thanks for the farming lesson and the food was in order. Over time, we’ve come to associate Thanksgiving with food and family, which isn’t a far stretch from the original feast.
It’s not as easy these days for families and friends to be together for a meal on the official Thanksgiving Day. Folks scatter and don’t always stay in the same place. We’ve had to adapt as the world changes, though Thanksgiving is still the most traveled day of the year. My family doesn’t have a Norman Rockwell version of Thanksgiving like I remember from my childhood. But, some things never go out of style. We make the rounds between our families but the day is always about giving thanks to our Maker for another year of blessings, no matter where we are eating. I appreciate things that last forever, like traditions.
Here at The Great American Leather Company®, we do our best to be thankful every day. We wouldn’t get much work done if we ate turkey and dressing (in our neck of the woods, it’s “dressing” not “stuffing”) seven days a week, but I’ve found over the years that being grateful for our blessings every day makes us want to get up in the morning and do our best work.
And so, I want to leave you with this Thanksgiving blessing that we’ll observe here at Col. Littleton on this holiday and every day.
Let our celebration remind us of all we are grateful for.
Let our homes be warm and welcoming.
Let our hearts be filled with love.
Let us all be thankful for our health and prayerful for those who are experiencing health problems.
Let us all be thankful for family and friends and for God who has so richly blessed our country and all of us.
God Bless America and each one of you.
Need a few recipe ideas for Thanksgiving? Add both of these to your holiday menu. (Janie Pearl was Colonel’s mother-in-law, who definitely knew her way around a kitchen.)