Thursday, November 23, 2017

Giving Thanks

"When you drink water,
remember the source."
                                                     ~ DENG MING-DAO

          Today, for those of us residing in the United States, is Thanksgiving, or our version of it (many are celebrated), commemorating, depending on which version you accept, that momentous fall day in 1621 when English colonists in the New England area harvested the native crops that native American Squanto had taught them how to cultivate earlier that year.  The colonists spent the next four hundred years showing their gratitude for that act of kindness, and the celebration remains with us to this day, celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November.
          While the date of the first true American holiday, by which I mean not that we "own" it, but the first holiday that wasn't brought from elsewhere, such as Christmas or Easter, has been remembered and celebrated continuously over centuries, what it means has been harder to pin down.  To some, it is a fully religious, specifically Christian day for worship, and although that wasn't the intent, the Pilgrims and Puritans who settled New England would certainly have included thanks to the Almighty for the bounty that sustained them.  To others, my childhood family included, it was a time for scattered relatives to gather for a day of feasting, stories, and companionship that overshadowed Christmas, unless you were a small child hoping for legendary toys a month down the road.  I knew four generations of my birth family, my great-grandmother dying when I was 25, and the house was overrun at the end of November with relatives of every stripe and temperament.  Once "Gan" passed beyond, though, the others followed quickly, until these days, our "extended family" consists of our adult son and daughter, and our son's four children, one of them an adult himself.  This year our celebration will be held on the 30th, as they both work in retail, and that's their next coordinating day off.  We don't mind; it isn't the date, it's the love.
          While everyone who is willing to keep a civil tongue in his or her respective head is welcome to read and comment, this little blog is written mostly for and read mostly by friends, and it is my hope on this day of celebration that you all have something positive in your lives to be thankful for.  Whether it's cherished loved ones, security, a decent job, or a loving home to come back to at day's end, find something to warm your heart, and take joy in it.
          My childhood Thanksgivings sometimes included two turkeys, or a turkey and a ham, and side dishes brought by everyone, showpieces of their culinary skills.  These days, with the smaller numbers involved, we usually buy a couple of turkey breasts and broil them, basting them in their own juices.  Delicious, waste is minimized, and everybody likes the white meat, which is all there is this way.  But no matter what you make, traditional or non, no matter where you are, surrounded by loved ones or far away, take a moment to give thanks for the things that make your life a positive experience.  They have value we often take for granted.

          I did say no matter what you make, and those with an adventurous bent might like to whip up this delightful bit of fowl, or should I say "foul?"  The roast facehugger comes from the devious mind of Helen Die (yep, that's her name), and consists of a whole chicken butterflied out to make the body, snow crab legs, and a chicken sausage for the tail.  She writes the incredible NecroNomNomNomicon blog where this lovey is a featured recipe.  Surprise your guests this year with a Thanksgiving they'll never forget!
          But whatever you do, don't forget to include the love...

'Til next time,
~ JT


  1. What a cool thing to have known your great-grandmother into your own adulthood. Our thanksgiving busyness has slowly morphed into the five of us (me, my husband, and our three kids) at home for the day, and it's been so nice to simply have all of us in the house at the same time. This year our sons invited a friend who would have otherwise spent the day alone, and it was a blast. I'm exhausted but happy for a day together.

    Glad you still have the time to look forward to with your own children and grandchildren next week. You're right: it's not the day, it's the love. The important thing is that you get together and share some time.

    Happy thanksgiving, friend o' mine!

    1. Welcome back my friend to the show that never ends... Great-grandma was incredible. Born at the height of the Victorian era, her parents had been slaveowners. Yeah, it was that far back. Her hair turned snow-white at 16, and that feature placed her in high demand for a while as a fashion model. Back then, from what I understand, there were formal luncheons, and the models stood on platforms around the dining room wearing the clothes which the guests could examine as they ate, and they certainly weren't the superstars they are today; they were living manikins, clothes-horses, which may be where that phrase originated. She had one picture of a room with her along the side wall, but it departed with her, and I haven't seen it since I was a teenager. She rode a horse to school as a child, flew across the country as an adult, and saw men walk on the moon in her "golden years." What a life!

      Great to hear from you, as always. Glad you had a happy Thanksgiving; my turn next week. There are nine of us, which strains our furniture just about to the limit. It's really wonderful having them all in here at once!