Today is Thanksgiving Day. That glorious American holiday when we annually consider all the things for which are thankful. I am thankful, most of all, for my family.
Most of us will get together with family Thanksgiving Day. People will probably visit Grandma’s house for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. This is a day when we remember that the blessings of life abound and, at our Thanksgiving celebrations, we’ll give thanks for those blessings.
I am reminded of Thanksgiving Sunday, Thanksgiving dinner at Grandma’s house, and being with family. So today let’s consider those aspects of a traditional Thanksgiving. Let’s start with …
The third Sunday in November, Thanksgiving Sunday, is my favorite Sunday of the year. Throughout the service, I reflect on many things. I remember that beautiful sanctuary at Rome First United Methodist where we were active members for many years. I think of those stunningly beautiful stained glass windows. I think of the many great people whom we knew there through the years. The late Frank McAfee; the late Alice Rose McAfee; the late Frank Cherry; the late Martha Yeargan; the late Martha Lou Riddle; the late Marcia Wyrick; the late Jerry Bryant; the late Judy Summerbell, and many other great folks.
The late Dr. Garnett Wilder began a wonderful Thanksgiving tradition years ago at First United Methodist. We gathered mid-morning in the fellowship hall for doughnuts and coffee. Then we went to the sanctuary for a simple service of thanks where we sang “Come Ye Thankful People Come” and “We Gather Together.” These days, singing those traditional Thanksgiving hymns brings forth the memories I mentioned.
Thanksgiving at Grandma’s house
Through the years we celebrated Thanksgiving at Grandma Griffin’s house. While dinner preparations were completed, the cousins all went to the backyard for a fast-moving game of touch football. In the meantime, Daddy and my uncles enjoyed watching football together.
The dining table in Grandma’s kitchen was a large table that belonged to her father, the late Jacob Morris. When it was time to eat, we all took a seat at that table. My uncle, the late John Sheffield, said the blessing. Keenly aware that there would probably never be a time in my life when I had no place to go for Thanksgiving, or family to be with, I felt so loved and was particularly thankful for my family.
Thanksgiving dinner in the South
Southern Thanksgivings feature turkey and dressing. Mama would never stuff the turkey. Like every great Southern cook, she made a pan of cornbread dressing. Thanksgiving dinner included cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes. No Southern Thanksgiving dinner would ever be complete without casseroles. Green bean casserole. Squash casserole. Sweet potato casserole with pecans and mini-marshmallows. While we’re talking about a Southern Thanksgiving dinner, don’t forget pecan pie.
We’ll gather today with my son-in-law Ryan and my daughter, Christy, and my grandchildren, Charlotte and JuneMarie. We will be greeted at the door, as always, with, “Grandma Pam! Grandpa Stan!” Ryan’s siblings and their spouses, his parents, my son and his girlfriend will all be in attendance as well. We love Ryan and his family and they all love us. That is an enormously significant thing for which I am grateful.
I will think of many things this Thanksgiving Day. I will remember Mama and Daddy and how they steadfastly put their faith into action every day of their lives. I will recall their thankful hearts and grateful spirits and I will follow their example. I will continue being aware of how important it is to be thankful.
Happy Thanksgiving one and all.