The Edge of the Wood

by John Messeder, Nemophilist & Ecological Storyteller

Tag: Thanksgiving

On being thankful

“Here we go again,” Granddaughter Kass said one Thanksgiving mealtime as I prepared to “say Grace.” She knew I don’t normally subscribe to the pre-formatted version of my childhood:

Bless us Oh Lord and these thy gifts which we are about to receive from thy bounty, through Christ Our Lord, amen.

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Giving thanks

As I write this, I am dreaming of turkey and preparing to enjoy sleeping off visions of Thanksgivings Past flowing through my gobbler-doped cranium.

In my youth, Mom would have spent the week baking. The knotty-pine walls of the dining room echoing timed-released aromas of turkey and pies and fresh bread.

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Giving thanks

Sometimes I'm thankful for the smallest things.“Life is just a collection of memories. And memories are like starlight: they go on forever.”

Country music singer C.W. McCall said that several years ago in a ballad titled “Aurora Borealis.”

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Thanks for the starlight

Me and her sitting in a tree, K_I-S-S-I-N-G.“Life is just a collection of memories, and memories are like starlight: they go on forever.” (Aurora Borealis) by C.W. McCall. in a tale of sleeping under lights that have been traveling most of forever, and have forever yet to go.

Most of my best memories involve travel. It’s been said that it’s the journey, not the destination that counts – unless the destination is Gransma’s house for Thanksgiving dinner. I have had a pretty fun trip, though there have been a few places where I’ve needed four-wheel-drive.

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“Here he goes again.”

There's nothing like family reaching across the table.Mother often said if you really want to compliment the cook, clean your plate. Don’t just say it was good, then eat only one helping. I am clear proof that I took my filial duties seriously, and complimented her sincerely at every opportunity. Especially at Thanksgiving.

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Thanks for everything

The wind was blowing strongly but invisibly when we arrived at the breakfast place. Later, our morning hunger sated, we exited the establishment into a wind speckled with seeds of the impending season.

Not enough to whiten the grass, but snow, nonetheless. For my part of the planet, four days before Thanksgiving is early, even for snow that does not stick.

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A time to thanks give

The last pieceI can almost smell the mincemeat and apple pies, sitting on the porch rail to cool, and woe to the child who even contemplated poking a finger in one before The Big Meal.

In my youth, this was an aromatic week, culminating in a table full of turkey, at least one type of squash (and I love them all, in sooth), a humungous bowl of mashed potatoes, a heaping pile of hand-squooshed biscuits and a bowl of cranberry sauce. When cranberry sauce became available in cans, Mom was sure anyone who used the stuff would be consigned to the lower reaches of the eternal furnace.

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Giving thanks

Nephew Greg is downstairs, and his dad and mom and one of his sisters and her two offspring. We were not sure my sister would show up, but her need to aid in the final scenes of another family member has come to its natural conclusion.

My cousin Betty left us Monday morning. She and I were within months of the same age, but from there, we differed some. When we were kids, I lived on the shore of a lake in Maine; she lived in suburban Long Island. I thought skinny-dipping in the lake after a long day’s work was a relaxing experience; Betty could never see the point in living in a place so secluded one could get away with even thinking of skinny-dipping.

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Ella, nearly 4, learns her mother's mashed potato recipe

Published in Gettysburg Times 11/29/2013

As I write this, I am dreaming of turkey. As you read it, I’m preparing, weather permitting, to enjoy another one. Or I’m still sleeping off the first one, visions of Thanksgiving Past flowing through my gobbler-doped gray matter.

The past few days, She Who Must Be Loved has crafted offerings to the dessert god. Gleman Cheese Cake – a mixture of cottage cheese, eggs and chopped fruit candies, poured into a pie shell and baked to satisfy the demand of her offspring at Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s a tradition rooted in her marriage to her high school sweetheart. He’s no longer with us, but the cheese cake, passed down from his parents, is really good.

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Giving thanks, and thinking ahead

Life, like this photographic glimpse, is a bit blurry during the holidaysEach year about this time, I take a few minutes to remind myself of the sorts of things for which I’m thankful. On the simple end are toys such as DVDs and telephones we carry in our pockets that can, if their owners wish, play movies or simply, in the case of my grandkids, affirm connections to friends with whom they have not spoken in four or five minutes.

When I was 12, I had thousands of acres of woods in which to roam, and streams and a big lake in which to swim and slake my thirst. All of it was not ours, but property boundaries were not strictly enforced in those days. The 513-acre pond was home to three pair of loons, a couple beaver families, a family of moose and several species of fish.

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The truth about Santa Claus

The Christmas tree sparkles in the living room bay window

Ah, ‘tis the season.

A friend was informed by her husband that Thanksgiving is over and it’s time to put up the tree.
Another chimed in that her tree is up already.

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