As I was painting the windowsill in my kitchen in preparation for the big dinner here on Thursday, I was reflecting on Thanksgiving memories from my childhood....
One of the things I remember most is that we always invited one or more people to dinner that didn't have family nearby to spend the Holiday with. I'm sure at one point or another, we'd ask "why" we did that.... to which I am sure my parents replied that we did it to share our good fortune and feast of food with others who would otherwise be alone on Thanksgiving eating a TV dinner. I know they must have explained this, because as a child, I remember understanding it.
I remember my mother reading us a little book called the "Pilgrim's Primer" about the true story of "Thanksgiving", and Squanto, and how the First Americans saved the pilgrim group from starvation by instructing them about planting crops and hunting wild game.
And, how the first Thanksgiving lasted three days; and how they feasted on Turkeys, Deer, and seafood from the harbor, in addition to the corn and squash they had harvested.
I also remember putting on a little play about it with my sisters and brother, and a couple of the kids that came with their parents for dinner one year - complete with costumes.
These things make me very appreciative of my parents, and how they instilled in us an understanding of American History and tradition, as well as the spirit of giving to your fellow man, by demonstration - inviting a "stranger" into our home and extending to them our food and family atmosphere.
AND, the creativity it took for us to create a little "play" - thanks to my parents who always encouraged and pushed us to use our imaginations and creativity by making us read books and watch less TV.
I know, these are not the usual Norman Rockwell style Thanksgiving memories that conjure up visions of feast laden tables and Mom bringing in the glorious, golden brown turkey to a chorus of "Ooohs" and "Aaaahs".
I'll discuss THOSE memories later!
So this Thanksgiving, I am thankful for my parents, who taught us by their example - not just their words - that it is a good thing to reach out to those alone or in need.
And just as important, that they taught us the importance of American History, and the history behind the holiday. We didn't just eat a big dinner to eat a big dinner - there was a reason we had the big dinner: to give thanks as a Nation, to God, for all of our many, many blessings. This is one of many examples of my parents, and Grandparents, teaching us how to be a model American Citizen and realize how lucky we are to live in freedom in this country.
Thanks, Mom and Dad.