The blessings of Thanksgiving
What are some of your childhood reflections of Thanksgiving? Not a Thanksgiving Day passes that I do not reflect upon the words, actions, and decorations that were present in my home in Underwood. I do believe it was it was my Mother’s favorite celebration. She has been, and is still to this day at age 93, thankful for the many blessings that have been bestowed upon her.
Some of you may recall that in an earlier column I had mentioned one of my favorite memories of my Mom is that of her taking five minutes from her busy day to read from her white Bible at her bedside. She has always been keenly aware what a privilege we have been given to live in the land of opportunity, beauty, and abundance. She many times gave thanks for the message that Billy Graham brought to our home via the television. Thus, planting in her young son’s minds that our religious heritage and freedom to worship is something of which to be most thankful.
She took the time to care about friends across town, down the street, and out in the country. At Thanksgiving time, we said a thank you for these folks who made our lives more fulfilled. They took the time to send a birthday card, help us harvest apples, and even join in a painting project.
She took the time to be thankful for the chance at a fine education that has served her well. So we gave thanks for the many schools and higher institutions of learning. She presented to us that once you’ve had the privilege of learning it has a chain reaction, causing one to support and encourage another person to seek this route of growth and contentment. It is amazing what a grateful heart can initiate.
She taught us to be thankful for the fertile fields swathed in golden robes of grain; for hillsides beset with herds of lowing cattle; the cucumbers that grew in our east garden; and for the beauty that appeared right out side of our west porch window another Dakota sunset strewn with shades of pumpkin orange, cotton candy pink and added in for extra warmth a shade of chrysanthemum gold.
She gave thanks to God for the ability to work, minds that are creative, minds to plan, and hearts to appreciate the many, many blessings that appear every day in our home. She instilled in us that a grateful heart is a wonderfully warm consideration. In a nutshell, to be grateful is to be happy and that giving thanks for simple, little things should not be overlooked.
Each fall she would hang a pilgrim – which I made in fourth grade – in our dining room. I made it by first bending a clothes hanger into a round-face shape. Then over this shape I placed a tan ladies nylon and colored construction paper. I fashioned it into a pilgrim-complete with white collar, black hat with a gold buckle, and a fine expression.
On our refrigerator hung this excerpt from a proclamation made by President John F. Kennedy on Thanksgiving 1961. His words still remind us where the focus of Thanksgiving Day needs to be:
“I urge all citizens to make this Thanksgiving not merely a holiday from their labors, but rather a day of contemplation. I ask the head of each family to recount to his children the story of the first New England thanksgiving, thus to impress upon future generations the heritage of this nation born in toil, in danger, in purpose, and in the conviction that right and justice and freedom can through man’s efforts persevere and come to fruition with the blessing of God. Let us observe this day with reverence and with prayer that will rekindle in us the will and show us the way not only to preserve our blessings, but also to extend them to the four corners of the earth.”
This recipe I just recently found. I can recall having these as a child and found them to be delicious then, and still today. I discovered it written on a piece of floral stationery in a box of my Mom’s clippings.
1. Cream 1 stick of soft butter and cup powdered sugar. Mix well. Add 1 cups flour, pinch of salt, 1 tsp vanilla.
2. Take a small amount of dough and flatten out in the palm of your hand. Fold dough around a maraschino cherry, making a very small ball.
3. Cool and dip in icing.
1. Mix well together 1 cup sifted powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons heavy cream and 1 teaspoon vanilla.
2. Coat each cherry ball completely in icing. Place on waxed paper to dry.
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