In just a few short hours my husband and I will load up the Patmobile and drive miles away from home to join family members for Thanksgiving dinner. On this day we will feast on thoughtfully prepared food made from heirloom recipes or newly found one pulled from Martha Stewart, Pinterest or one of own family’s heirloom wonders. No matter whose recipe we follow in preparing the great feast, no doubt Thanksgiving 2015 will make an indelible impression in someone’s memory bank. As I prepare to join my family, I can’t help but remember how my family celebrated Thanksgiving when I was going up in South Georgia.
My mother died during the month of November, when I was 2 years of age, so my recollection of Thanksgiving pivots every year to a single event that happened (fairly routinely) on Thanksgiving day. Various families in my countryside community gathered at the cemetery plots of their love ones. This was a big but somber tradition. The way the day evolved began shortly after breakfast when the family piled cleaning tools in the trunk of my daddy’s Ford sedan or the family’s farming truck, and then head off to join other families in pulling weeds, sweeping off grave markers or stones covering a grave site. In a year’s time, leaves, grass and other sorted debris settled in the cemetery and would inevitably come to rest on the family member’s gravesite.
Not everyone celebrates Thanksgiving with the traditional turkey, dressing and all the other wonderful trimmings. It is true that you may hear crystal glasses clinking in the distance but not necessarily to celebrate the joy, love and peace of family and friends. For all we know the pinging sound could be the last drop of a libation used to ease the pain of sorrow or to celebrate the hope of a better tomorrow.
What are we really celebrating at Thanksgiving? Traditionally it was about the harvest season for farmers. They had spent the warmer months planting, gathering and preserving food that would carry them through the upcoming cold winter days and for that they set aside a day of prayer and thanksgiving. They shifted into a mode of thanking God for another year of harvest.
I think as a nation and as a culture we have evolved so much in our choice of worship, belief systems and just as notable we have shifted from an agricultural society to that of technology. Consequently, the question bears us to ask … have we forget our inherent celebration of an ample wheat crop harvested for bread, the harvesting of cotton for wear and countless other uses, the harvest of tobacco for riches and pleasure, the harvest of fruits and vegetables for sustenance?
Since we have shifted away from the original purpose and meaning of Thanksgiving, perhaps there is an opportunity here to teach the meaning of Thanksgiving to new newcomers to this County or to those who have forgotten or just simply never knew the true reason. The other option is to enjoy the freedoms we have and just allow the reason to celebrate Thanksgiving to continue to drift away from its original meaning. After all, Christmas starts the day after Thanksgiving, right?
Thanks for taking the time out of your busy Thanksgiving schedule to read my post.