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Memories of Thanksgiving

Liberty lore

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POSTED: November 27, 2013 5:30 p.m.

The old turkeys are getting scared this time of the year and telling everyone they see to eat more pork or beef!
We were in Lyons at the goat auction last Saturday. People bring chickens, guineas, ducks, turkeys, rabbits, quail, puppies, antiques, homemade syrup, vegetables and yard-sale items to sell before the goat auction begins. I saw a cage full of brown turkeys. It had been a long time since I have seen brown ones. To me, they are too pretty to kill. I would rather buy a frozen one from the store. Fried turkey breast still is my favorite way to eat turkey!
The history of Thanksgiving, according to history.com, has had a winding road to get to the holiday we now know.
The pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving in America in 1621. They were thankful for all their blessings of survival through so many hardships. In 1863, President Lincoln proclaimed a national day of Thanksgiving to be celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. There was not much to be thankful for in the Southern states at that time!
In 1941, President Roosevelt signed a law making Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday in November. The owners of the store that later became Macy’s persuaded the president to make it the fourth one so there could be more days to shop for Christmas and help the economy, which was just coming out of the Great Depression. It was unforgiveable to advertise for Christmas before Thanksgiving. It was amusing to see on the news recently that calendars had been purchased from Walmart with the wrong date on them for Thanksgiving this year. They had printed that it was on Nov. 21.
This being a four- or five-day weekend, it is considered one of the busiest travel times of the year. Many food drives are conducted and baskets of food donated to the hungry. The soup kitchens and churches around the country provide turkey dinners with all the trimmings to those who need it or want to attend. In our part of the country, we are so blessed. Even so, we still grumble and complain about the slightest little thing. We can be thankful that our towns are not in shambles from tornadoes, such as in Illinois.
Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867-1957), of “Little House on the Prairie” fame, once wrote about a Thanksgiving in her childhood when they lived in South Dakota. This passage is from “Thanksgiving Time,” originally published in The Missouri Ruralist on Nov. 20, 1916, and taken from beyondlittlehouse.com:
“Our nearest and only neighbor was 12 miles away, and the store 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 gun and the antelope, which fed in herds across the prairie. 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 as I felt then and realize 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 such as I would have chosen.”
Laura, I like sage in my dressing, also.
Have you ever thought about being thankful for a bag of quick-cooking grits? Nine times out of 10, I cook grits for breakfast. My husband says that is the kind of food that will stick to a working man’s ribs.
Georgia writer Chloe Perry Mitchell wrote about grits and how we should delight in simple things:
“One afternoon, while buying groceries and trying to decide what to have for supper, I decided to have grits, sausage and maybe scrambled eggs. It was a cold afternoon, and something warm seemed right. Being out of grits, I picked up a bag of the quick-cooking kind.
“When I was a child and we ran out of grits or corn meal, we children would be told to grab a large bucket and head to the corn crib. The corn lay piled almost to the ceiling and held back by a few boards nailed across the lower part of the doorway. We would grab the unhusked corn from over the top of the opening, peel back the dry shucks and break off an ear. This continued until we had a large mound of golden ears. Next came shelling it off the cob with the heel of our hand, even using a cob to help clean the grains from an ear. By the time a croaker sack was full of the grains, our hands were calloused and sore, and our clothes and faces were covered with the shuck dust.
“The corn was then taken to the mill. Water from a stream trapped behind a dam was sent through a raceway to the mill. There it fell into a boxed wooden trough onto a horizontal wheel under the building. The actual grinding didn’t take long, but some farmers extended the waiting period by swapping some of their tall tales and bits of news. When it was finished, the grits and meal were stored in lard cans. The aroma of the freshly ground grits and meal lingered all the way home.”
In our hurried times, it’s time saving and easy to buy a bag of quick-cooking grits and they can be cooked in five minutes. Let us be thankful for all the little and big things in our lives.
Give God thanks every day and not just once a year on Thanksgiving Day. Happy Thanksgiving!

 

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