Forest City Courier, Dec. 8, 1938
In some ways the first Thanksgiving must have been different from the Thanksgiving of today. We are told that it lasted three days. The friendly Indian neighbors came in to help celebrate and brought their share of wild turkeys end venison from the woods. This first Thanksgiving was not merely a feast. There were prayers and sermons and songs of praise. The previous dreadful winter they had sick, death and starvation to fight. So after a successful summer harvest they felt they had much to be thankful for. Today we have just as much to be thankful for, but our indifference to these blessings would indicate that we are less aware of what they mean to us. In a war-torn world we have peace on our own shores. Medical science has conquered disease. We have well-built and warm churches in which to worship and comfortable houses to live in. In the final sum-up it would seem that our blessings would surpass in number those of the Plymouth colony, In our easy going existence we take everything for granted and were afraid that it would take something like an earthquake to shake most of us out of our complacency and wake us up to the fact that we are indebted to a higher power for the blessings we enjoy every day of our lives.
After Labor Day in September, the holidays and festive occasions follow in quick succession. Halloween, Thanksgiving, and here Christmas is only about four weeks off. From now on everyone will be busy, and in between times frantically counting the “so-many shopping days ’till Christmas.” The children in households everywhere are already having visions of Santa Claus. Our shops are displaying gifts and toys, and we are beginning to save our nickels. One week between Christmas and New Year. Then maybe some snows in February and several blustery days in March, and then the trees will be budding again and the daffodils peeping out. But wait! When are we going to have time to wear that winter hat we got at a reduced price because we waited till November to buy? Here the fashion magazines are already beginning to talk of spring suits and hats. It keeps our frenzied brain working trying to make the four seasons and our clothes come out even.
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A turkey gobbler’s dissertation on Fate
During the short span of my life I have learned much of the whys and wherefores of the barn-yard. I have solved the mysterious disappearance of some of my ancestors, and have gotten wise to that enticing scattering of corn that invariably leads to the execution block. Aside from being the largest of the eatable fowls, we have also been the most glorified. From babyhood we have had the best of everything that goes to make a fine appearance. Acres of running range has given us a sense of ownership of the universe, and helps to keep up that superiority complex with which we are blessed (or afflicted.) It is true we, are a clannish lot. We do not associate with some of our poor relations, who cannot afford a home, but make the woods their native haunts. Our plumage may be less brilliant than theirs, but we are protected from to hunter’s gun which keeps them in a nervous state of fear. But tell me, why does our race have to furnish the high light at all the big dinners during the holiday season? Why not let our neighbor, the chicken take his turn? His carcass could furnish an accompaniment for the celery, cranberry sauce, candied yams and all the other fixings. But no, our destiny is planned. We are on a diet of choicest grains to increase our avoirdupois, and after a glorified existence of a year, I know that in a few days I too will follow the tricky tine of corn and eat my way to doom and eventually ride in state on a big platter to the festive board.
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A birthday is usually just a mile-post, but this year it was a most happy event. Coming round Thanksgiving, I was invited to a turkey dinner. One birthday card received was one of the cleverest, in the line of poetry, that I have yet seen, and I think is worthy of clipping and keeping handy to give wings to the passing years.
Cheer up, my friend, now don’t feel blue
Just s’pose, instead, you younger grew,
Each year, you’d lose a friend or two,
You’d lose your family, money too.
You’d lose and lose each day and week,
Your neighbors wouldn’t nod or speak.
Acquaintances would pass you.
Old friends would stare with glassy eye.
You’d lose your poise, and tact, and place,
Your glass would show a simple face.
You’d lose your knowledge—lose your grip,
Right there, you’d surely start to slip.
The years would slide—you’d be in school
And feel the crack of teacher’s rule.
You’d eat green apples, nuts and trash,
Break out with measles, mumps and rash,
You’d drool and blubber—couldn’t talk,
Great guns! You’d find you couldn’t walk.
And all of this could happen too
Each birthday, if you younger grew.
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What about more hobbies and recreations for us home women? We need them! We homemakers can’t keep house and sew all the time you know. Hobbies take our minds from our prosaic daily tasks and create new interests to which we can turn when things get at sixes and sevens. For years I have been collecting empty card board boxes, of all things. But even if my family does laugh about it, I notice that when they need an empty box for anything they call on mother for it. A recent hobby of mine is collecting sugar bowls. Why I ever thought of that particular thing to collect was probably because they have been accumulating at our house, after their partners, the cream pitchers, have been broken, but the thing I enjoy most is my scrap book of pictures of children.
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We are told that our remotest ancestors lived in caves, and that the man of the family returning home, from the hunt would merely fling the deer down and grunt crossly to the woman in cave-man language, or something suitable meaning, “Woman, step lively; light the fire and roast this, since you insist on food being cooked. Or I’ll begin eating it raw!” Any cave wife thus addressed would lose no time, in getting the roast on, for then all wives were fighting for “cooking rights for women.” Woman was the first cook, but efficient man soon caught up with her. Now, almost every college boy can prepare at least one dish, and many family men are, good at some dishes such as coffee hard boiled, burnt eggs a-la-camp fire, and perhaps lemon pie with cigar-ash meringue. Some of these masculine masterpieces are, truly terrible! Some are edible. But In any case, no tactful wife with a scrap of humor beholding the pan of something mysterious would dream of interfering or fail to praise highly the finished product.
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The heritage of home is a wonderful thing. Many of our holidays could be called home holidays, because they are so traditionally a part of home that the thought of one brings a picture of the, other. When we speak of home a picture comes to our mind of the furnishings and everything that go to make up an attractive interior. Houses may require rugs, linen, furniture, silver, etc., but homes are built on human values. Men and women making homes have the job of building up these values. Some one is sure to rise up and say that there are other values too. There are to be sure. There are worry and fear and anger to be met and conquered. They existed in Pilgrim homes, and sadly enough we find them in homes today. Perhaps we could conquer these undesirable values if we had an antidote for each Let us take a distant view of the things we are worrying about. There they won’t seem so big. A good antidote for fear is understanding, and maybe a good one for anger would, be insight and a combination of sympathy and knowledge. The exteriors of our homes count for something too. Some of them have a homey look about the premises as is pictured in this little poem by Mary Carolyn Davies.
A swing beneath the apple tree,
Grass thin under,
Daisies lifting faces up
Full of wonder.
Plants in the window;
And on the lawn
A little red cart
With two wheels gone.
To tell what heaven looks like
Isn’t very hard.
Heaven is a cottage
With daisys in the yard.
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What a glorious Indian Summer we are having! Warm, hazy, summery days giving the farmers time to gather the cotton, harvest, the corn and get things in shape for the winter. Persimmons hang high on bare trees waiting for the frost to make them mellow and luscious. My zinnia bed is still colorful, opening their bright heads on long slender stems as if having a last fling at summer. In another corner of the garden my few chrysanthemums are opening fresh and vigorous, lifting their haughty heads and seeming to resent the zinnias’ infringement on their blooming season. Yesterday I cut the last three rose buds. The vines on the front porch are growing straggly, the few green leaves that are left throwing grotesque shadows on the floor. Inside the house a fire burns in the grate in our dining room, inviting us to sit by the fireside. But as the warm afternoon sun throws long shafts of light in our open front door, our steps turn in that direction. As the prolonged summer works over-time winter waits impatiently close by to send us crisp frosty mornings, white snows, and those two enjoyable seasons, in the offing—Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Reprinted with permission from The Daily Courier. Copyright owned by The Daily Courier.