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Thanksgiving Day is a time of feasting and visiting between families and friends who join in the offering of thanks for all those blessings bestowed since the last Thanksgiving. Many were in far-off lands and unable to get home for that day, but the spirit of Thanksgiving knows no distance and thought is this fastest thing in all creation. So people on that day think of those who were so far away.

Some people have much to be thankful for and yet they will not recognize it. A few will say, "Well so what?" and will not stop to think of reasons to give thanks at the moment — but it will come to them someday. Others who seem to have so very little will return thanks and it will be heard just the same as the most rich and important person. This is a time when the high and mighty; the rich and poor will be on one common ground. The thanks of the widow and the orphan and the lone wanderer on the highways will count just as much as the thanks from those in high places.

The old books tell about the Pilgrims landing so long ago. What ever those people did or did not do, it seems that the first thing they did on landing was to offer a prayer of thanks for an ultimate landing on a wild and lonely shore far from where they expected to land. They were probably deeply grateful because the many weeks at sea in the Mayflower were far from comfortable and many failed to even last out the trip. Then we read later on that they gave thanks at a dinner and were supposed to have had only a few grains of corn apiece which would add up to a very sparse dinner. It was never said, as far as I know, what they ate the following day.

Anyway, it made a story. Those pilgrims were pretty strict people evidently. They burned witches and a man in church who carried a rod with a knob on one end and a feather on the other. If a lady went to sleep during a three or four hour sermon, he would tickle her nose with the feather. And if it was a man they tapped him on the head with the knob. Those sermons must have been pretty wearing on the congregation.

As we look back we can take the best and ignore the rest. Those people must've gotten along pretty well with the Indians, at least at first, because when corn planting time came, which was when the oak leaves were the size when mouse's ear, the Indians showed them how to put a fish or two in each hill of corn. That fall, as the stories go, there was a bountiful harvest and a very big Thanksgiving dinner was prepared. The Indian people from all around were invited and they came in with plenty of turkeys and other wild game. We understand that the Puritan ladies did most of the cooking, otherwise they might not have cared to eat much. But wild cooking no doubt was the same as it has been since in later years.

Thanksgiving ran along that way for about 200 years and was held anytime people wanted a big community dinner. Then Abraham Lincoln set the day as a national holiday as we now observe it. But in all these many years we have had a Thanksgiving once every year. Some years were pretty tough. But the Day was held with whatever they had. It might be luxurious in the cities, or it might be out on the lonesome western plane. But effort was always made to make the Day something special. Christmas Day followed not too long after and it too was celebrated by almost everyone.

Times have changed a lot in the last 50 years or so. I remember when it was horse and buggy or a team and surrey. But the dinner was about the same: roast turkey and lots of pie. Peachland Road when I grew up was a small community off all by itself. The dinners were notable especially on the holidays. Ma Sanders would have the dinner and all the neighbors would bring something. Mom would have the turkey and Jim and Myrtle McNeill would help as would the others as they arrived. There would be Charlie and Mrs. Sanders and Leo from Philo and Aunt Delcie Whipple. Bert and Cora Small and their family. Charlie Lewis came from his place on Dick Creek. Always there would be others, individual people and groups of neighbors — all were welcome.

The food would be left on the table and covered over and just before time to go there would be a final snack. It was a young boy's delight. All the pie you could eat. The world was larger then and distances were greater and communications were poor. But those people would all come over for a big dinner and a pleasant renewal of old ties and acquaintances.

It was a day which was memorable and remembered thankfully over many, many years. ¥¥ (1971)

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