Centuries ago, 1621 it is believed, Pilgrims and Puritans who had come in from Europe commemorated their good harvest on a day they named Thanksgiving. Although we should find reasons every day of the year for thanksgiving, this particular holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November is a special day set aside just for that. However, the regular person nowadays honors this day for reasons other than a harvest, since we only had to traipse off to the market for our bounty. Although, today we still use the time to get together with family, and friends over a very large bird – we are all aware it is the official kick-off, if you will, of the Christmas, New Year and Chanukah season. In fact this year, Chanukah comes early indeed, as it begins this evening. But, as we bow our heads over that stuffed turkey, we are all appreciative for the provision.
Specifically, the United States, Canada, Norfolk Island in the Pacific, Puerto Rico, and Liberia observe this day, with all but Canada honoring it in November on a National level. Did you know, Liberia, offers up thanks for the freeing of the slaves in this country, the (United States)? Firstly though, we have to thank Abraham Lincoln for declaring this a National holiday, but only at the urging of one Sara J. Hale. She worked as an editor for a popular magazine at the time and hounded Mr. Lincoln with letter after letter, until he conceded. History tells us that this entire week is fraught with travel headaches for those family members trying to make it home to Mom and Dad, Grandma or Aunt Margaret’s house. Also, this time of year can, on occasion, try us with weather woes as well, and this year it began last weekend, am I right?
Isn’t it funny how our memories haunt us? From a teenager, I recall the entire family making their way to my mother’s for the annual feast, and this happened every year – it never changed. My mother began cooking certain things early in the week, and finish up by noon on that Thursday. Once I got older and married, everyone suddenly, migrated to our house in New Jersey. I believe, every other Thanksgiving we feasted at my in-laws, with my mother in attendance. However, when she returned to Virginia, hubby and I always hit the road. When we arrived here the heavy coats and long sleeves went in one direction and we, another, since the temps were always in the high fifties or sixties, at least. As we came in from the frigid north, those temps were reminiscent of a spring day. Of course, that happened only after we braved the ice, or snow-covered, and parking lot sectioned highways to get to her.
So, whether you had to fly across the country, drive from north to south, or just across town, getting together with family is a wonderful thing. Hopefully, you’re doing what we’re doing this year – going out. Yes, it is a first for us, but sometimes you need those, don’t you agree? I’d also like to wish all of my friends celebrating Chanukah a happy one as well – eight days of gifting is quite a chore. But, whatever you’re doing, have a happy, and safe one from Thursday’s Child. More next time.
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