Thanksgiving for All

For Walt and Marie’s Poetic Bloomings using all the words: Thanksgiving for all the words: cranberries, feast, eat, grateful, Pilgrims, sweet potatoes, Plymouth, stuffing, gravy, food, ham, gobble, natives, pumpkin pie, gobble, blessings, turkey, family, thankful, friends, leaves, tradition, football, parades, nap. In Richmond every year, there is a Thanksgiving for all who want to come and join in the feast. all food and labor is volunteered. I volunteer in the kitchen every year to help cook.

Thanksgiving for All
The huge space is filled with tables
Covered with hand drawn plate mats
Drawn by children of the school system:
Pilgrims, turkeys drawn from hands,
Rocks with the world “Plymouth” written on them.
Pictures of Native Americans, autumn leaves.
Some of the pictures are scraggly,
Others well drawn, even some Santas
With Happy Holidays coming from their mouths.
It is a tradition, thirty years old.
All are welcome here:
Friends, family, strangers, rich, poor,
Those without homes and those who live in mansions.
All gather here to eat this feast.
People – men, women, children
Are seated at tables. Some people you don’t know
Some you do but they all become family
By the end of the meal.
When all are seated,
A rabbi, a priest, a minister
Someone representing those without beliefs
And others representing the Buddhists,
The Muslims, Shinto
All speak to their God and thank them
For the blessings of this meal and friendship.
We are truly thankful for this meal, this food,
This friendship.
People wearing aprons circulate among the tables
Bearing plates of turkey, stuffing, cranberries,
Gravy, rolls, green beans and greens, candied sweet potatoes
Slices of ham, glasses of milk or iced tea.
All volunteers grateful to have cooked and now serving
These many people.
Children laugh, make turkey sounds:
Gooble gobble gobble!!
Then pumpkin pie is served
While full diners talk about football and past parades,
Babies nodding, taking naps.
In the kitchen the crew clean up
And snatch mouthfuls of leftovers
And then stand at the doors shaking hands
Of those leaving.
Peace to you. Blessings upon you.
We will see you next year!

Richmond Center Thanksgiving meal for all

 

Holidays are coming: Thankfulness and light

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Yes, I understand that sales are popping everywhere: online, in the stores, at the convenience stores, on TV. Yes I understand that Thursdays kicks off the official whirl of holiday gaiety, madness, and constant reminders to spend spend spend. I mean, that co-worker you barely know really needs to be re-gifted with that weird nutcracker Great Aunt Leticia gave you last year and your son’s current teacher desperately needs that cheap mug filled with 10 starlight mint candies and your mail carrier is seriously craving that $1 tiny piece of gourmet chocolate. Your cousin begged you for that $9.97 gift basket of one bath cube, mini bottle of body wash, that plastic fluffy scrubber, and useless sized loofah. I get it, the gift limit at the exchange was $10 and it was easy to grab the basket and you spent five minutes choosing between the lavender, pink, or yellow colors.

Heaven forbid that your child not get the latest $600 phone since all their friends will be getting one. And if you are blessed to have loving parents who are still alive, they specifically asked you for that $50 gift card to that restaurant they never go to. Hey, it was on display with other cards at the grocery checkout and we all know it’s the thought that counts. And be sure you schedule attendance at all the parties and open houses and cookie exchanges. Don’t forget that.

Several years ago, I was forced to get my priorities straight. I was home from being in hospital after surgery for cancer. I was not able physically to do shopping, put up decorations, cook tons of cookies that never all seemed to be eaten and grew stale and were thrown out to the birds, I had to send regrets to parties.  Thanksgiving was quiet and take Chinese food.

My husband pulled out of its box, a two foot fiber optic Christmas tree which fitted perfectly on the small table in front of the window in our family room. I was given by a friend, a special Nativity scene in honor of my being home and doing well. It went on the mantle of the family room. My family sent a gift card to a restaurant we liked and we used it to purchase our Christmas dinner: KFC fried chicken. My husband purchased a pie from a local bakery. Lights did not flash in our yard astounding people miles away. We didn’t have money for a pile of gifts so we made do with handmade cards with special wishes handwritten to each other.  We spent quiet time with each other and sang Christmas carols with each other.

It was one of the best Christmases ever. We delighted in the season of light and spent time with each other, a few friends who came to visit for a bit and who brought gifts of food and smiles. Silent snow fell and I wrapped myself in a quilt and stood on our front steps and looked up into the night sky. Silent night, holy night….

I am not tooting my horn here but you know, there really are better ways to spend your time and money. You truly do not have to spread darkness by arguing with sales people, pushing people out of the way to grab the last item on sale, buying something just to exchange because you have to. You can spread light by random acts of kindness, serving food at a shelter, getting toys for children in need, contributing to a fund that ensures children have warm coats for the winter, filling up boxes with food for the hungry, addressing cards for the elderly to send to their family, raking the yard of the neighbor you barely know but know he is laid up with a broken leg and his wife is 8 months pregnant, taking bags of food for animals at the local shelter, adopting an “angel” off an “angel” tree…the list goes on and on.

I am thankful this year for my family, for my health, for the love of God, for the kindness of people I know and for the kindness of strangers, for my friends, for plenty of food….I could list pages of what I am thankful. Light came into this world centuries ago without hoopla. His upcoming birth was not announced two weeks before Halloween, the Magi did not go to Black Friday sales to get their gifts as cheaply as possible, the shepherds did not arrive in the newest model SUV, the angels did not rock out to the latest soundtrack.

Simply, quietly, the Light of the World came to us. Because He loved us. So, what is your priority this year? What are you thankful for? How do you show your love?  How do you spread light in the darkness?

Thank you all for being my friends this year. Thank you for your prayers, good vibes, happy thoughts, sharing your light with me and mine. Thank you.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.  Melody Beattie

 

Thankful

Being a true and proud southerner, I decided I needed to disavow the notion that folks up north had the first Thanksgiving. Yes, I know I’m starting trouble. Yes, I know other people claim the “first Thanksgiving”.  I think some folks in Florida also lay claim to this even further back than 1619.    Thanksgiving: 4 December 1619 Berkley Plantation, Virginia.  Massachusetts:  November 1621

But the true heart of the matter indeed, is taking time to be grateful for our blessings. In spite of hard times, we still have much to be grateful for. I’ve had a rough patch – much stress and grief.  But behind all of it, was the love of my family and friends, the eternal love of God.   I’m here today, still standing, still loved and still loving.   A roof over my head, a job, food in the fridge, eyes to see the beauty around me, ears to hear the voices of those I love.   I am mega-wealthy.

And I am thankful to all of you, out there in the Blogosphere who take the time to share yourselves, your talents, visions, humor, grief – your lives.  You all have enriched me in ways I cannot express so I will just say, Thank you and God bless you all.  You are officially awarded:  Best Bloggers in the World

Oh yes….and a few photos……please just have a good smile with me and humor me.  Please note another of the firsts at Berkley – First Whiskey Distillery…..

Berkeley-Collage-1024x613[1]news45_thanksgiving1[1]      Teaching the minuet at the Virginia Thanksgiving Festival November 2010   imagesCATRCPRG

FLU SUX

WEll, the flu laid me low during Thanksgiving.  I slept out the holiday and most of that week and the next medicated via doctor and medicated via me:  hot apple cider liberally doused with Samurai Saki.  Good for you.  Makes you sweat out the toxins and clears up chest congestion and gives you sweet sleep. I haven’t slept so much in 25 years (I usually sleep 2 – 4 1/2 hours a night).

So….this being said,  I haven’t had a chance to do much notifying, thanking, etc.  Please all of you who have started following me the past few weeks and visited, accept my thank yous.  I never cease to be amazed that I write something that touches you to like or comment. 

I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving (those of you who celebrate) and in the coming month of December, there are a lot of holy and secular observations going on.  Whatever you celebrate, I hope it will bring you joy, spiritual fulfillment, happiness, peace, and smiles.

Bless all of y’alls heart and in the next few days, I’ll be storming you all with stuff.  Again, Thank you.  🙂

Turkey Day in the South

Times changes and things change with time.  However, some things stay blissfully the same in my memories – like the Thanksgiving day we put the cooked turkey out on the back porch and the neighbor’s dog stole it and drug it around half the neighborhood before another dog took it away from him.  Or the time mama’s cousin Benny unexpectedly showed up for the day, fresh off the ship that had docked in Newport News.  How handsome he was in his uniform and how proud I was as we sat on the side porch and neighbors dropped by to welcome him home for the holiday.  Our cousins from various parts of NC showed up and brought their feasts with them so we could all have a brief visit before he shipped out to the Mediterranean.

I’m looking over my menu today and find that is almost identical to one from 1960:fried chicken,  baked ham,  turkey and stuffing, gravy, cranberry orange relish, collard greens, home canned greened beans, home frozen butter beans, corn, candied yams, devilled eggs, potato salad, home made pickle tray, home made yeast rolls, iron skillet baked cracklin’ cornb bread, fresh coconut cake, pecan pie, ambrosia, banana pudding, citrus punch, sweet iced tea.  In other parts of the South, similar menus will be spread out on tables to ooos and ahhhs.  There will be local specialties added to menus and some items will be subtracted.

The day starts with hunters heading out to the woods while the women stay home and cook, listen to the parades on TV, and tell stories about the past or present – laugh and cry together.  Those who have passed are remembered with tears and love.  Babies on the way are belly kissed or touched and given a prayer that their delivery will be safe and mom and child will be healthy.  And if a new member of the being is introduced, to tell her horror stories about her date (yep, that boy rode that old hawg a mile before he had the sense to fall off).

I’m grateful to be a Southern woman.  I probably move a little too slow and say “bless your heart” too many times, but I’ll do my best to make you happy and comfy and safe.

I wish all of y’all a blessed Thanksgiving.  My our gracious God cause His face to shine upon you and His love extend to all of you and yours.  Bless your heart!

 

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