Ah Thanksgiving- I do love the food. This year (among other things) I will be making a French silk pie, courtesy of the Pioneer Woman. It takes a practiced technique, but it is worth all the time invested. And the yams! In the past we’ve had them with the praline topping, and other years with marshmallow topping, but a few years back I just decided to go crazy, and now we have the praline topping AND marshmallows on top of that. It can’t be beat.
But I also love the tradition. I always try to have as many thanksgiving meals as I can- one with my church family, one with my friends, one with my actual family, one at school, and this year we’ve kind of invited ourselves to a fifth one. For this year’s school thanksgiving I went to Dennis Elementary, which my godson attends. They clearly expect a large crowd because they have the logistics down to a science. Having grown up in Putnam City, I can honestly say the turkey and dressing have not waivered much in flavor through the years. Nor have the mashed potatoes. I think we had a little slice of pie when I was younger, which is now a leaf-shaped cookie. It’s not fancy, but it is full of delicious nostalgia.
But what really makes Thanksgiving my favorite holiday is its combination of being so American and so relaxed. What other holiday expects you to only eat and nap? Maybe you cook a little, maybe you watch football, but seriously. There’s no stress, you get to be with people you love (hopefully) and just hang out. Those facets themselves are enough to make it a great day each year!
I know other nations have their own harvest celebrations, but I bet none has the rich story of sharing between vastly different peoples that ours has. It’s not exactly the same one we learned growing up (they did not eat turkey, for instance), but the sentiment of thankfulness was there. When the Pilgrims on the Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock, they had been blown off course and were sorely lacking in supplies. Their first year in the new world was a tough one. Half the heads of families died, and nearly all the mothers, leaving very few able-bodied people to do the planting. If you can imagine coming through that experience, a three-day feast of thankfulness with your new beneficent neighbors would be a well-deserved respite from your trials.
That level of thankfulness, of gratitude, should shape us much more often than it does. Being able to live in a nation where I have so much freedom- from fear, from want, of religion, and of speech as President Franklin Roosevelt put it during World War II- makes me immensely proud and full of gratitude for all those who came before me to keep those promises alive- the soldiers and sailors, but also the teachers and cafeteria workers who molded Thanksgiving in my mind. In that spirit I wish you all a slice of your favorite pie, a warm blanket, some belly laughs, and a second helping. Happy Thanksgiving Putnam City!