Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thanksgiving Time

  Thanksgiving is only a week away! It hardly seems possible that it is already the 21st of November, but here we are! Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of the year, when I get to spend time with my family and eat and play games and have fun together, and thank God for all his blessings. Every year on Thanksgiving day we go to my aunt and uncle's house with my grandparents and several of my aunts and uncles and cousins, and we have a big meal and play games and it's always such good fun. I'm so blessed, and sometimes I get so caught up in other things that I almost forget just how much I have to be thankful for.
  So anyway, a while ago in one of my history books I read this newspaper article written by one of my favorite authors, Laura Ingalls Wilder, about Thanksgiving time. I really enjoyed reading it and so I thought I would share it with you, my dear readers, since Thanksgiving is coming up.

   Before gaining national fame for her beloved Little House books, Laura Ingalls Wilder was a writer for the Missouri Ruralist newspaper. She wrote articles regularly from 1911 to 1924. In her column, she shared her wisdom on managing a farm and home, community involvement, friendship, and family. This article was published on November 20, 1916.

  As Thanksgiving day draws near again, I am reminded of an occurrence of my childhood. To tell the truth, it is a yearly habit of mine to think of it about this time and to smile at it once more.
  We were living on the frontier in South Dakota then. There's no more frontier within, the United States, more's the pity, but then we were ahead of the railroad in a new unsettled country. Our nearest and only neighbour was 12 miles away and the story was 40 miles distant.
  Father had laid in a supply of provisions for the winter and among them were salt meats, but for fresh meat we depended on father's fun and the antelope which fed, in herds, across the prairie. So we were quite excited, one day near Thanksgiving, when father hurried into the house for his gun and then away again to try for a shot at a belated flock of wild geese hurrying south.
  We would have roast goose for Thanksgiving dinner! "Roast goose and dressing seasoned with sage," said sister Mary. "No not sage! I don't like sage and we won't have it in the dressing," I exclaimed. Then we quarreled, sister Mary and I, she insisting that there should be sage in the dressing and I declaring there should not be sage in the dressing, until father returned-- without the goose! I remember saying in a meek voice to sister Mary, "I wish I had let you have the sage," and to this day when I think of it I feel again just how thankful I would have been for roast goose and dressing with sage seasoning-- with or without any seasoning-- I could even have gotten along without the dressing. Just plain goose roasted would have been plenty good enough.
  This little happening has helped me to be properly thankful even though at times the seasoning of my blessings has not been just as I would have chosen.
  "I suppose I should be thankful for what we have, but I can't feel very thankful when I have to pay $2.60 for a little flour and the price still going up," writes a friend, and in the same letter she says, "we are all in our usual health." The family are so used to good health that it is not even taken into consideration as a cause of thanksgiving. We are so inclined to take for granted the blessings which we possess and to look for something peculiar, some special good luck for which to be thankful.
  I read a Thanksgiving story, the other day, in which a woman sent her little boy out to walk around the block and look for something for which to be thankful.
  One would think that the fact of his being able to walk around the block and that he had a mother to send him would have been sufficient cause for thankfulness. We are nearly all afflicted with mental farsightedness and so easily overlook the thing which is so obvious and near. There are our hands and feet, who ever thinks of giving thanks for them, until indeed they, or the use of them, are lost. We usually accept them as a matter of course, without a thought, but a year of being crippled has taught me the value of my feet and two perfectly good feet are now among my dearest possessions. Why! There is greater occasion for thankfulness just in the unimpaired possession of one of the five senses than there would be if someone left us a fortune. Indeed how could the value of one be reckoned? When we have all five in good working condition we surely need not make a search for anything else in order to feel that we should give thanks to Whom thanks are due.
   I once remarked upon how happy and cheerful a new acquaintance seemed always to be and the young man to whom I spoke replied, "Oh, he's just glad that he is alive." Upon inquiry, I learned that several years before this man had been seriously ill, that there had been no hope of his living, but to everyone's surprise he had made a complete recovery and since then he had always been remarkably happy and cheerful.
  So if for nothing else, let's "just be thankful that we are alive, and be doubly thankful if like the Scotch poet, we have a good appetite and the means to gratify it.

   Some hae meat that canna eat
   And some want meat that lack it,
   But I hae meat and I can eat,
   And sae the Lord be thanket.

1 comment:

  1. What a lovely article. I love Laura Ingalls Wilder! Have a lovely Thanksgiving :)


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