This coming Thursday, the fourth Thursday in November, is the American Thanksgiving. Although it has a religious context – giving thanks for all we have been given – it is not a church holiday, but a secular one.
A group of people fled England (we call them the Pilgrims) seeking a place where they could practice their particular and very fundamental religion without persecution. They landed in a new country and established a colony. A good many of them died in the first year – from starvation, from minor ailments like ear infections that went untreated and became more serious illnesses. At the end of the harvest, the following year, they gave a great feast to celebrate those who had survived.
Honored guests were the Native Americans, who had welcomed the newcomers, showed them berries and forms of wildlife good for gathering and hunting, and without whom the Pilgrims could not have survived. At the table were foods never seen in the old world – turkey, corn, cranberries, possibly potatoes. . .
Wherever we are in the world, we take this 4th Thursday in November to give thanks, and to feast, preferably with family and friends.
My nieces, Little Diamond and Sparkling Diamond grew up going to the local soup kitchen on Thanksgiving with their parents to serve the poor and homeless their Thanksgiving meal. Many of us have special church services that day. Most of us spend a good part of the day in the kitchen!
We have so much to be thankful for this year. Although my parents are old, I have been able to go back and help them several times this year. The next generation of our family has (mostly) finished school and all have jobs they love doing. We shifted our tent successfully to another country this year, and are having a great time getting to know Kuwait. We have found a church here and are thankful to be able to worship freely. Through another friend, we met a family here we dearly love, and we will spend Thanksgiving with them. I am sure it will be a mountain of food.
I will be fixing my Mom’s cranberry salad, cornbread stuffing for my husband-of-Souther-origins, a pumpkin pie, and some balsamic roasted sweet-potatoes (the potatoes are tradition, the balsamic is not) and a few other dishes. We try to balance the traditional with something new from time to time. We will break open one of the fruitcakes to serve with the other desserts. Mom’s Fruitcake Recipe
You will know where people will be gathering and feasting by the delicious aroma of roasting turkey as you take advantage of this gorgeous weather to go out walking . . . We give thanks for the beautiful weather, too.