“Thanksgiving was never meant to be shut up in a single day.”
— Robert Caspar Linter
As we finished our dinner this afternoon, I reflected on my childhood Thanksgivings. A day off school, the start of the Christmas season, and the familiar smells of my grandmother’s kitchen – turkey, potatoes, stuffing, cranberries, and pumpkin pie. The smells in my nose and the tastes in my belly today were the same as those long ago days.
Perhaps it’s the flavors, perhaps it’s tradition, or perhaps it’s nostalgia. Whatever the reason, I love these special foods this time of year but I think I love the memories more. There are memories of laughter, full bellies, stories, and walks in the cold Iowa winds.
Memories, though, are made in the present not the past and they are made everyday, not just on Thanksgiving. It’s up to us to make every day of our lives special by noticing the people around us, building community, making connections, giving time, giving thanks, and … well you know … making the effort to make things better. That’s where memories are made.
It is my fervent hope that, starting right now, you too can make memories everyday.
To my wife Melissa, my son Zachary, my twin daughters Tessa and Hayle, my mother Lorraine, my father Ivan, my mother-in-law Zona, the many members of my extended family, my great friends that I have made throughout the years, and to you dear reader –
The warmest wishes, the fondest memories, and the happiest Thanksgiving.
Wrote a letter to a soldier, helped my wife with Thanksgiving dinner, played games with my kids, and expressed my gratitude to all of you.
The Pumpkin (Verses 3-5), by John Greenleaf Whittier
Ah! on Thanksgiving day, when from East and from West,
From North and from South comes the pilgrim and guest;
When the gray-haired New Englander sees round his board
The old broken links of affection restored;
When the care-wearied man seeks his mother once more,
And the worn matron smiles where the girl smiled before;
What moistens the lip and what brightens the eye,
What calls back the past, like the rich Pumpkin pie?
Oh, fruit loved of boyhood! the old days recalling,
When wood-grapes were purpling and brown nuts were falling!
When wild, ugly faces we carved in its skin,
Glaring out through the dark with a candle within!
When we laughed round the corn-heap, with hearts all in tune,
Our chair a broad pumpkin,—our lantern the moon,
Telling tales of the fairy who travelled like steam
In a pumpkin-shell coach, with two rats for her team!
Then thanks for thy present! none sweeter or better
E’er smoked from an oven or circled a platter!
Fairer hands never wrought at a pastry more fine,
Brighter eyes never watched o’er its baking, than thine!
And the prayer, which my mouth is too full to express,
Swells my heart that thy shadow may never be less,
That the days of thy lot may be lengthened below,
And the fame of thy worth like a pumpkin-vine grow,
And thy life be as sweet, and its last sunset sky
Golden-tinted and fair as thy own Pumpkin pie!