Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. Sure, I am glad to live in this country, but the reason I so enjoy Thanksgiving has nothing to do with pilgrims or the Mayflower. It has everything to do with the fact that when I was a hungry little fellow, Thanksgiving was a time when there was so much good food to eat that everyone in the family seemed happy … I believe that they really were. It was one of those days when my dad would spend time with me cutting the giant grapes with pits in them (remember grapes with seeds?) in half to remove the seeds. Making the fruit salad was one of my responsibilities, and it was always made better because dad was there to help. Once we had enough of those giant green and purple grapes, we would cut apples and bananas and chop some walnuts. The grand finale was getting to play with the Sunbeam Mixmaster, to whip the whole cream. Later I graduated to pumpkin pies. I still make them today … sometimes with fresh pumpkin.
Fast forward a lot of years, and Thanksgiving is still my favorite of holidays. These days a collection of daughters, sons-in-law and/or boyfriends come home for a few days of food, fellowship and fun. There’s almost always a little bit of drama, but for the most part each of us takes on some meaningful dish and we wind up crowded in the kitchen, cooking way too much food for a feast that flies by too fast. If you could rationally analyze it, I bet you’d discover that our highpoint is the kitchen and the cooking. Actually, the highpoint is likely spending time with people you love.
Then there will be the hikes around the farm, fooling around with the utility vehicles and even some chores. This year we hope to get five big spruce trees planted … along with the garlic. On Sunday, there will be the choked up trips to the airport … just enough emotion to let us know we are alive, and that there are some very special people in the world who care to care about us.
I don’t know what your tradition is, but I hope that you have plenty to be thankful for this year … and I hope you’ll spend a bit of thought giving thanks.
See you on Monday.
Hank Will raises hair sheep, heritage cattle and many varieties of open-pollinated corn with his wife, Karen, on their rural Osage County, Kansas farm. His home life is a perfect complement to his professional life as editor in chief at GRIT and Capper's Farmer magazines. Connect with him on Google+.