Well Avery….the header gives a clue as to what lay ahead with this particular love note to you. This year we will all be coming to your house….all except Uncle Justin, Aunt Gina and Aunt Heather. Two are invested in their now annual “sabbatical” to Alaska and One with commitments to a new job prevent their participation here with us. But that being said we will attend and will, as usual, envelope you with suffocating hugs and kisses. Now in attendance will also be Great Grandma Taitt (Grandma’s mom) and Aunt Linda (Grandma’s oldest sister), and Sarah (Grandma’s neice, and Aunt Linda’s daughter) your cousin. My comment last night and today as well, both to your Grandma and mother is that I will be in a distant “6th Place” on the pecking order able to get any attention from you. I have resigned my low status at this point till such time as I can expand your World about 2 hours West of here. That day is coming I only pray that I live long enough to share it with you. Of course the main purpose of all these notes are in the event that “I don’t” make it.
While most of the Country celebrate this particular “Holiday” in ways that have over time become of a more commercial nature, “Black Friday”, “Car Sales”, “Bass Pro Shop” visits etc…from my perspective though it is my time to remember Thanksgiving’s from the past. When I was a kid on my Father’s farm it all began with visits to family and friends for coffee (bleechh) and cake or pie (yea, Cherry please)…but in a Farming community family and friends did not live next door so getting in the car for a drive was necessary. More times than those the Church “fellowship hall” was used, multiple times, as a meeting place to gather with the “Church Family”, people you knew or knew you since birth. Thanksgiving in a farming community is way different than today’s modern process. No going to the grocery store back then. We had in our home a place called the “pump room”, it was a misnomer really because while the room did indeed house a pump it’s real function was more akin to what is now called a pantry. Your Great Grandma V was a living, breathing, Pioneer woman. She mastered those things needed to manage/run/preserve a farm family. Meaning….. she learned how to feed her family in all four Seasons of the year not just the easy time of Summer and Fall when harvesting was ongoing. She “caned” those things that we raised, and if there were things that we loved but didn’t grow she would trade things we did raise with others who had what we wanted. I hated squash (still do) but my dad raised what was called “Hubbard” squash which were huge and in a mostly Dutch community was the bomb and a perfect barter veggie. My mom had hundreds of jars in the pump room and none of them happened by accident. Each one had to be sterilized along with lids and covers, it was a master class in purposeful survival on a budget. It often took weeks of effort to make ready and accomplish and put away…..and…it was done every year without fail. It has become a rare outdated application due to the neighborhood grocery store, but the ease at how it was done in my youth proves that generations that have come before you and me learned the importance of how to make the best of things in a tough environment. Thanksgiving in my youth had a much stronger family connection that came out of shared struggle and joyful giving.
Grandma V (my mom) is now past onto glory….but….there is yet another Grandma V who has stepped into her shoes…”your” Grandma V who also possesses acquired skills on how to provide for her family which now also includes you. Your mom has learned many skills from Grandma V and my little girl is the very “apple of my eye” even still surpassing you to this date, and I see her with a very high degree of commitment invest in you to be equipped to handle whatever may come your way and love you at the same time. That is no small feat and I don’t ever want you to forget the effort she is trying to accomplish on your behalf. Now for me? Well I at least get to watch you from a distance as it is always crowded around you during these times. My time is coming when you become interested in things that perhaps are more challenging in the arena of life. Let me offer to you as you read this a Happy Thanksgiving from the old guy who adores you….and along the line of what “you will always get more of”, I’ll bet Grandma will have some Cherry Pie and Rice Krispie Treats at the ready for the both of us to enjoy…..