By Rick Houser –
From my earliest memories forward, my family and now my children and their families, take the fourth Thursday in November and set it aside to gather with good food and company and give thanks for the year that is nearing its end. We have always been thankful for the year with bountiful crops and for all our family we celebrate with. Today we give thanks for the year and all the good we have been blessed with. It is a great reason to take a day off from work and be with our families as we work on over eating in proportions that seldom if ever are matched again throughout the year.
In my years on the farm on most Thanksgivings we would work until the noon meal and then gather to eat and converse. After leaving the farm I always got Thanksgiving Day off so I could sleep in late or play with the kids or help prepare the big meal. We always had much more to eat than needed and I guess that was where realizing we should be thankful got our attention. Many years we stayed thankful for days while eating all the leftovers. There probably is nothing to match a fridge full of leftovers from Thanksgiving. Most years there was not only a large turkey but a large ham to help us over indulge.
In looking back at this holiday I can’t recall any Thanksgiving being a bad one. When the event was all said and done, everyone was happy that we had celebrated together and of course the talk of gathering the next year would be discussed. I have always felt fortunate at these events. Giving thanks comes about after we have taken reflection on the year and when each year was all said and done I almost always feel good and pleased with how my year went. I think most folks do. To start a year and make it through the hard winter and the long summer and into the home stretch of a year is in itself a good year.
One year in particular we were holding Thanksgiving at our home when we lived outside of Felicity. We had had a nice year and we now had two children and we had added on to our home as we needed space and we were able to afford to add which was a good thing. That Thanksgiving Day was a sunny and unseasonably warm day. The group that day was my mother and father in law, along with my one brother in law and two sisters in law. With them came my wife’s two grandmothers and my mother and father. Add in my wife Sharon our two children and yours truly. For our home this was as comfortable a crowd as we could hold. All the leaves were put into the dining room table. Along with that we had TV trays and a high chair for our youngest.
As the company arrived and found a comfortable place to sit, splintered conversations arose amongst the adults as to how or what was going on in their lives. The youngsters adjourned to a bedroom where freedom to play was more available. Throughout our entire home the aromas of the ham, turkey and dressing drifted into everyone’s nostrils surely causing stomachs to signal they were ready to dig in. A little after noon my wife called us all to the dining room and asked us to please take a seat. She didn’t have to ask twice.
While we all were finding our place at the table and still talking, my wife again asked all of us to please have a seat. She wanted to share something with us all. We all were curious as to what was on her mind and this is what we heard. She said “I want to take this time on the day we all give thanks and I want to read you a passage I like and feel is very fitting at this time. It is Ecclesiastes Third Chapter verses one through eight.” When she began with “to every thing there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven”, the entire house fell silent. We all had heard this passage but I must say this time I heard the passage as if I had never heard it before. I think that was the feeling that was upon us all. When she finished and closed her Bible I could see a look upon the faces that showed they all were giving thanks. The grandmothers were smiling warmly but at the same time were wiping away a tear or two. I think that they understood the passage more, thinking of all the past Thanksgivings and looking at how good the day was and maybe even how many seasons were left for them.
As we move into this time of year when we should take a moment to be thankful, I look at my family, both old and young and find very few are older than I these days and I should maybe start wondering how many seasons I have left.
One of the things I am so grateful for will be that we will be sharing the day with members of family. I am so glad I have children and grandchildren to enjoy that day with. With them at our side I am more grateful than I can say and I don’t think or worry how many years are yet to be counted.
To have had the day and the family really brings forth the entire reason for the holiday. Thankful is the day and grateful is the reason. So take the time to experience the feeling. Happy Thanksgiving!
Rick Houser grew up on a farm near Moscow in Clermont County and loves to share stories from his youth and other topics. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.