By the time this hits the newsstands, the Thanksgiving festivities will be over and we will be dealing with clean-up and leftovers. I wonder why we have taken this holiday to such an extreme. It’s become all about a big meal.
I was determined this whole week to think about things in nature for which I am grateful.
For starters how about the two maple trees on the west side of the Tisbury School? They still have most of their leaves as do the lovely callery pears along Clough Lane and on the corner of First Baptist.
Last Sunday’s terrific wind storm dislodged quite a few leaves and branches and blew buckets and tarps around my yard. I thought I had secured everything. Never underestimate the awesome power of nature.
I picked the last of my beets . . . note to self: midsummer next year pull some mulch or dirt up around the individual plants. They tend to grow half above the ground so can get tough and hard to peel.
I am still busy harvesting lettuce, carrots, kale, celeriac and leeks. I am so grateful for this fact, especially thinking of all those in need worldwide.
I am fond of the Christmas window decorations at Crane Appliance. It’s very seasonal and will look great all winter.
In my perfect world, I would be making Christmas wreaths but in reality am still finding and throwing out the Halloween candy. Life can move along at a steady and alarming rate.
Over 20 years ago, Alan Wood, then pastor of the Stone Church in Vineyard Haven, gave me the following story and our family has adopted it as a tradition ever since.
“In early New England, it was the custom to place five grains of corn at each place as a reminder of the first winter. The food supply of the Pilgrims was so low that only five grains of corn were rationed to each individual at a time.
The Pilgrim fathers and mothers wanted their children to remember the sacrifice, suffering and hardship which made possible the settlement of a free people in a free land.
They did not want their descendants to forget that on the day in which their ration was reduced to five grains of corn, only seven healthy colonists remained to nurse the sick. Nearly half of their number lay in the wind-swept graveyard on the hill. . . .
Thanksgiving Day is the expression of a deep gratitude for the rich productivity of the land, a memorial of the dangers and hardships through which we have safely passed, and a fitting recognition of all that God, in infinite goodness, has shared with us.
As we gather on this Thanksgiving Day let us remember those who passed a rich heritage to us and give thanks for the many reasons this can be a day of joy.”
Historically, groups of people have been giving thanks to God for safety and food for generations. In our country, President Washington made a lengthy proclamation and created the first Thanksgiving Day in 1789. From then until the Civil War, various presidents and governors renewed the tradition.
Abraham Lincoln’s proclamation in October of 1863 made Thanksgiving a national holiday but it took until 1931 for Franklin Roosevelt to declare the fourth Thursday of November as the official date. Naturally some states disagreed — notably Texas — and finally in 1941 Congress approved the date.
Presidential turkey pardoning is relatively new. JFK wanted his spared to “let it grow” and Ronald Reagan declared an official pardon for the 1987 turkey in order to deflect publicity about the Iran-Contra affair.
Most turkeys have been so highly over-bred that they will continue to grow until they die, so that presidential pardon only buys them a couple of years.
I raised my own turkeys (large white ones) a couple of times. It is not as simple and economical as raising chickens for meat. In researching beforehand, I found several books that said “Don’t!” Never one to take suggestions, I gave it a go. In the future I’ll leave it to Jefferson Munroe and Richard Andre or the Farm Institute.
Local turkeys can be pricey, but worth it once a year.