By PETTUS READ
Maybe I'm just getting old, there is certainly no debate on that subject, but I feel like we skipped a month between October and December with the election taking up a small part of November. As I was hiding the left over portion of Halloween candy on November first, my neighbor across the road was putting up Christmas lights and a tree. I was still getting toilet paper out of the front maples to save for an emergency, but the neighborhood was already heating up hot cider, putting Frosty on the roof and burning my retinas out with super bright lights in their bushes that are suppose to use less energy, so says GE.
It seems to me we are missing something somewhere and I don't know how to slow this modern-day process of pushing time. We should all be thinking of good memories of family, our many blessings in life, home-cooked fattening foods, bad football games in the yard and most of all, how we can combine all of these wonderful experiences into one jam-packed day called Thanksgiving. Instead, we are replacing it with Black Friday and multiple days of Gray Tuesdays and forgetting about the holiday that should involve counting our blessings before counting our stuff.
Thanksgiving used to be very important to me as a child, because I knew as soon as it was over Christmas was just around the corner. Today, we straightened that corner out and put in a freeway right to the discount store. True, back in my day as a kid, we did farm work on Thanksgiving like killed hogs, gathered corn and stripped tobacco, but during that weekend we did gather together to give thanks for our many blessings and enjoyed being with family. No one left to rush out to a sale and Christmas seemed to be months away.
However, today, children do not have the same understanding of Thanksgiving as I did due to our current society's commercialization of the holiday period. Beginning after the Fourth of July celebrations, you can order the Christmas Holidays Traditional Music collection over the TV. If that is not bad enough for pushing the season, you can select your favorite genuine artificial Christmas tree at Wally World in the next aisle over from school supplies around the first of September.
It sure wouldn't hurt to re-examine what Thanksgiving is all about. It is a time to give thanks for our many blessings and our country, as a whole, has been well blessed. Thanksgiving is a time to share those blessings and thank the God above for the families we have and the hopes we have for the future.
One of our greatest blessings we have as Americans is the abundance we enjoy in this country. As families gather around their dining room tables this Thanksgiving, many will enjoy a safe and affordable bounty of food products. Nowhere else in the world will the amount and variety be found like what will be exhibited on tables across this country. From the turkey to the pumpkin pie and the cranberry sauce to the dressing, America's citizenry will enjoy a day of eating like no other.
I am sure many of you noticed I used the term "dressing" in the last sentence. I still say stuffing is something you would find in a couch or a previously live animal that now hangs on the wall. Dressing is made from a mixture of cornbread and other great tasting items. Both my mother and wife could make the best dressing ever, but this summer I lost my mother and my wife is also no longer with us, but they taught me how to do dressing, so that blessing will continue. No matter where you live or what you call it, you have the freedom to do so without any problem or fear.
The Pilgrims started it all, as all of us know the origin of the day, but it is reported on wilstar.com that it was Sarah Josepha Hale, a magazine editor, whose efforts eventually led to what we recognize as Thanksgiving. Hale wrote many editorials for her cause in her Boston Ladies' Magazine, and later, in Godey's Lady's Book. Finally, after 40 years of writing editorials and letters to governors and presidents, in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in November as a national day of Thanksgiving. The proclamation was made after Lincoln delivered his famous Gettysburg Address on November 19, 1863, as a way and a hope to heal a nation at war. The date was changed a couple of times, but in 1941, Thanksgiving was finally sanctioned by Congress as a legal holiday on the fourth Thursday in November.
For me, I'll keep my pumpkins out front, fall colors on the door, and the two Native-American carvings on the dining room table while my neighborhood goes Ernest Saves Christmas in its entire splendor. I'll hold off on Christmas a little while longer and have a Happy Thanksgiving, as well as enjoy my dressing, without Frosty on the roof just yet.
-Pettus L. Read writes for the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation. He may be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org