Post Abstract

Thanksgiving is meant to be a time for family, friends and sharing food. Tell stories, eat too much, and laugh as much as you can by celebrating the people who matter most.

Dibs on the Gravy Spoon!

  • By D. Christensen
  • 2022-11-23

Ready or not, the holidays are upon us.

What are you hoping for as this year quickly rushes toward a new one?

Wishing for things as one year closes and the next positions itself to take over is no novelty. It's human nature to reflect on the past and look forward to a new beginning--a fresh start.

In 1863, Sarah Josephina Hale finally got her wish: Thanksgiving became a national American holiday. It took her 36 years of lobbying Congress before President Abraham Lincoln signed a declaration recognizing this day of celebration. 

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Historians suggest that Lincoln initially positioned Thanksgiving's November date to commemorate the Mayflower's landing two centuries earlier. Lincoln, and even later American Presidents like FDR, viewed the holiday as an opportunity to bring peace to a nation torn by civil war and prepare for the upcoming Christmas season. 

It was time to stop stirring the pot and start celebrating our blessings.

Over the River and through the Wood

Thanksgiving became a day for gathering a bountiful harvest and people we treasure.

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Lydia May Child wrote the poem "Thanksgiving Day," which would become a well-known song beginning in media res with these words: 

Over the river and through the wood,

  To grandfather's house we go;

         The horse knows the way

         To carry the sleigh

   Through the white and drifted snow.

 

Over the river and through the wood--

   Oh, how the wind does blow!

         It stings the toes

         And bites the nose,

   As over the ground we go.

 

Over the river and through the wood,

   To have first-rate play.

         Hear the bells ring,

         "Ting-a-ling-ding!"

   Hurrah for Thanksgiving Day!

 

Over the river and through the wood,

   And straight through the barn-yard gate.

         We seem to go

         Extremely slow--

   It is so hard to wait!

 

Over the river and through the wood--

   Now grandmother's cap I spy!

         Hurrah for the fun!

         Is the pudding done?

   Hurrah for the pumpkin-pie!

 

Being Present in the Moment

I've never ridden in a horse-drawn sleigh through the white and drifted snow.

However, I remember clambering into the back seat early in the morning to make the drive to my grandparents' house for Thanksgiving. 

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We left at morning-dark-thirty to arrive just in time for an impossibly large spread of fall-themed foods. The table bore the weight of a roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberries, pumpkin pie, and more, but I don't remember the specifics. 

Do you know what I do remember?

Family and visiting friends being together. Discussions in the kitchen between my grandmothers about whether gravy must be stirred clockwise or counter-clockwise (I think they invented this argument as a form of entertainment). 

Parents and grandparents enjoyed each other's company while the children ran off excess energy and offered to be kitchen tasters. The only pot-stirring took place in the kitchen, never at the table.

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We managed to celebrate Thanksgiving without judgment. Because social media hadn't invaded our lives, it was an opportunity to get together and catch up.

We were together for a brief few days, and we were in the moment. 

Our Turn

Rather than judge and decry opinions, lifestyles, and other decisions (like we've all regretted at one time or another), let's come to the metaphorical table once again. It's okay to reconsider whether to stir left or right or zigzag down the middle of the gravy saucepan. 

What if Thanksgiving Day could be like some of the first ones America observed: 

  • time set aside for peace and preparation.
  • a chance to count blessings and experience gratitude.
  • the opportunity to reconnect on a personal level, without social media.

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Maybe this year, just one more time, we could all be in the moment, stirring gravy and celebrating the best we have to offer each other.