Thanksgiving traditions

As we approach Thanksgiving, most of us probably have some tradition we follow to celebrate the abundance that many, but not all of us, enjoy.  Yes, there are those that may be out of work and find food and other essentials scarce in their homes.  And there are a large majority of us that will enjoy a plentiful meal on Thanksgiving Day.

What ever tradition is at your home, enjoy the day and give thanks for what most of us will share and enjoy with each other or quietly with a few family members.  If we know of others around us that are in need, look for ways to share today, and other days too.

What is tradition at your home?  Do you have a large family gathering where every body brings a covered dish and you get to enjoy cooking skills of other family embers?  Or is your family scattered and you can’t get together to enjoy each other?

What ever you do, find a way to be thankful for what you have.  Sometimes a few phone calls to loved ones will brighten the day.  Some folks have the computer and phone technology where they can actually see who they are talking to.  We don’t have that capability yet, but hope to get it someday.

Our family is scattered around the country so getting them all together is not possible.  On Betty’s side of the family, and she has many relatives nearby, we get together in the basement of one of the churches where one member is active.  We usually have from 45 to 70 family members sharing the day.  The table loaded with food is a huge temptation to overeat.  We are so fortunate in this country that our problem can be too much rather than too little.

Family members that can’t be with us usually have their own smaller gathering.  Then they may quietly visit or watch football or a parade or a winter sport if there is snow.  We never know what the weather will deal us on that day but we hope it is good for safe traveling

My great-great grandfather Stoddard Dickinson left a couple of small daily diaries that I have inherited.  He farmed in Shalersville, Portage County and his entries were quite brief.  He usually said what the weather was and what he did every day.

I went back to see if I could find out how his family celebrated Thanksgiving in 1858.  He just said “cloudy, cold, winter like” and some remark that I couldn’t read.  Most of that week was rainy with some snow on Tuesday.

Then I looked at the 1885 diary of my Grandmother Inez Holcomb Parker.  Strangely I could not find any mention of Thanksgiving.  During that week there was a lot of snow, then it turned pleasant later in the week.

Most of you know my interest in agriculture and farmers.  When you sit down for your Thanksgiving Day dinner, remember to give thanks to those farmers that provide the safe, healthy abundance we enjoy.                                                    

In Ecclesiastes in the Bible, Chapter three, there is a section on “For everything there is a season”.  One section says there is “a time to pluck up what is planted”.  Our farmers have been working hard on that this fall, even with some difficult weather conditions.  They are always thankful when that last ear of corn is harvested and the combine is put away for the winter.  Then they can relax a bit more.

If we are a gardener or a small or large farmer, harvest time can be satisfying when we see the last of our crop in the can, freezer or grain bin.

John Parker is an independent agricultural writer.