Thursday, November 27, 2008

I Hope Your Thanksgiving Was Good

This morning, as my grandchildren headed out the door to school, their mother reminded them to share with their teacher that they were going to be celebrating Thanksgiving when they returned home at the end of the day. That may not seem like anything different unless you notice that they are attending school today. You see, they live in England. . .in Plymouth England to be exact.

Their mother has seen the importance in maintaining the link with her American roots in spite of her English accent and very English family. Links are a good thing. They form memories and a bonding unlike anything else.

I can remember a time once when my little girl bailed out of the pickup and ran across the street to look at what should have been one of the more important monuments she would ever view. Her response? "It's a rock. Mom, it's just a rock and not a very pretty one at that." She stared, confused, and then looked back at me. "Couldn't they have picked a prettier rock to land on?" I laughed and reminded her that they probably hadn't had much time to shop around for rocks and never thought that millions of people would eventually be looking at the rock as something of significance. A nearby stranger commented, "The kid's right. It's probably not even the real one." He walked away as did so many in the crowd that day. How was she to know that Plymouth Rock would have a place in her future?

Last night we talked on the phone and were discussing the components of a 'traditional Thanksgiving dinner.' She wanted to get it right for her family. She shared how she wanted the kids to know the history of their hometown and how it connected with the history of her homeland and I suspect a trip to the harbor may be in their near future.

Perhaps someday she will share with them a story of a young man, a cooper, who sailed to the new land and within a few years married a young lady with whom he had made the voyage. A Stranger and a Saint. Oh, John and Priscilla, if you could but see them now.

Wishing You All a Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving

Friday, November 14, 2008

Gobble Gobble Ho Ho??

I'm confused (or maybe not). As a child I can remember the flurry and fun of Christmas shopping. The day after Thanksgiving was known as Black Friday and was the busiest day of the entire year for retail business. I know that because my Mother was one of the millions who hit those stores with gusto and did her share for the national economy.

Christmas music and decorating was taboo until Thanksgiving night when suddenly stores were transformed into fake snow covered windows looking in on worlds of spice and gingerbread cookies, Lionel train sets, Flexible Flyer sleds, and the dreaded Daisy Sure Shot B-B Gun. ("You're gonna shoot your eye out, Ralphie.") Christmas trees were never put up before the turkey gobbled his last and each of the holidays was celebrated on its own. There were no Santa's in shops on November 3rd. Santa would not and could not make an appearance until Thanksgiving afternoon when Macy's would bring him onto the scene at the end of their gala Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Television stations would have never thought to have shown It's a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, or Holiday Inn before the season was upon us. We always waited to see if the Bing Crosby family had added another member or what Bob Hope was doing to entertain the troops with his USO tours. Christmas family specials were fun to watch and entertaining.

What happened? When did the holidays merge to the point that one is considered a major food fest and the other so loaded with crass commercialism that shopping no longer seems much fun?? I do remember that while living in England, Christmas seemed more the treat it had been for me as a child. Decorating was reserved for late November and the first of December and these were NOT people who celebrated Thanksgiving but simply meant to keep the holiday as it should be kept.

And recently I have noticed the tendency of some churches to be closed on Christmas because attendance is down. What?!? WHAT?!?!?!?!?! Who's the rocket scientist that came up with that one?? Let the church ladies guild go on their annual shopping trip to Gatlinburg or to Milwaukee or Copper Hill but Christmas is canceled due to lack of participation. Ridiculous!!

I, for one, am proud to say I had family who attended that first Thanksgiving and who have held with many of the same traditions for years. There will be no tree at our Thanksgiving dinner. I am also glad to say that I come from and am still a part of a family that believes that Christmas should be kept as Christmas. We will carry on years of tradition when we decorate a tree and share simple gifts, enjoy a meal together, and remember whose birthday we celebrate.

Hapus Diolch
(Happy Thanksgiving)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Does He Know?

I mean seriously. . .does this guy realize how dangerous following me around the car park at work can be at this time of year?

For those who don't recognize him, this is a wild turkey. He is, in fact, a BIG wild turkey and he was inspecting my car on Thursday as I came out of class to head for home.
Thanksgiving is only a few weeks off and here he is for all the world to see.
Go figure.

When I arrived home that day it was to this colorful view of our small area of woods.
I love fun days like this.