Well hello again everyone and Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I hope this message finds you happy and healthy.
Ever since I was a little kid I would become a little extra festive when the holidays came around. But now that I am an adult I find that it takes a little extra effort just to be festive. And the more I wonder why I feel this way now leads me to think about perception. Now I know almost everyone's perception of certain things are not all the same but I am smart enough to know that most of our perceptions on certain subjects are similar.
Now anyone that is familiar with me knows that I come from a big family in a small town and that I spent most of my youth on a farm in the country. And all of our neighbors to that farm were all family and we all were a part of each others lives in one way or another. This arrangement was not a perfect one but it worked and there was a lot of love involved.
Almost every late fall when Thanksgiving was close by the family dinner's at my grandparents house seemed to increase. When your a little kid that lives in the country these dinners were a very good thing because that meant that my cousins were going to be there also and we all played together and had fun. Let me be clear that this time of my life involved some of my most fondest memories as a child.
Then eventually the big day would come and the entire family gathered at grandma and grandpa's house for an all day gathering for food and family fellowship to celebrate Thanksgiving. And the whole event was carried out every year in a very similar way that was not out of the way to any of us kids but as we grew older our perception of the event became different.
Now it all come together like this. Everyone arrived early carrying in loads of food in all shapes and sizes, main and side dishes were put into the kitchen and deserts were put on a separate set of tables in the dining room.
The ladies of the family were the backbone of this entire operation, and without them it would have never gotten off the ground. They would literally work themselves to a sweat putting this entire event together and would all be talking and singing the entire time and you would never hear anything of a complaint out of any of them.
Before you knew it the dining room table had been extended to it's maximum length and another table or two attached to it and table cloths covered them all and extra chairs all the way around the table. Then came the food, the side dishes, the main dishes and the finger licking good turkey surrounded by broccoli and cheese casserole, oven baked ham, shimmering cranberry sauce and home made yeast rolls just to name a few. The smell flowing throughout that house was one I will not soon forget.
All the men folk would all be gathered around in the living room sitting on one of the two couches or any of the metal folding chairs or anywhere that was to sit. And unless you were raised around any of these men you probably wouldn't understand anything that was being said in that area of the house. Why you ask. Because there would be at least four or five different conversations going on at once and some of them would be crossing in front of another and you really had to pay attention to keep track of the conversation you were in.
If you weren't currently weren't involved in any of these highly philosophical conversations then the remainder of the men were gathered around a card table playing a mind bending game of “MOON”, witch is a domino game that some folks call “SHOOT THE MOON”. Winners of this game hung on to the bragging rights of victory at least until the next family get together.
That left all of us kids, and we numbered anywhere from 8 to 15 depending on the year, all running around the house but usually gathered into one of the two spare bedrooms usually playing board games or whatever we decided to do from moment to moment. And before you would know it half the day was gone and the house would begin filling with this wonderful culmination of a Thanksgiving Feast that could not be denied. And since we all arrived there so early most of us didn't have much of a breakfast that day if any at all and appetites were in strong supply.
What happened next is where our family tradition differed from most family traditions I discovered later in life, don't get me wrong I don't regret it, it was just different from most families.
Once the table was set with food, drinks, and eating utensils at least one or two lady spokespersons would call out to the men and tell them it was “TIME TO EAT”. And it usually didn't take them long to get to the table. But it was only the men that sat down at the table. There was a certain order to things in reference to were you sat to eat your Thanksgiving meal. The men in the family always ate first. Then once they were seated the kids had to prepare their plate. The kids always had to eat in the utility room using the deep freeze as a table or in the living room camped out around the coffee table.
Once all the kids were taken care of and the men folk began to wander away from the table then all the women in the house made their way to the dinner table sat down and ate their Thanksgiving meal. You know for years I never gave it a second thought, but as I grew older it kinda struck a nerve at how unfair it seemed from my perspective. But I never knew anyone to complain, I certainly never heard any complaints it was just always the way it was done.
The only real exception to this rule was when one of the older kids had a boyfriend or girlfriend visiting and they were invited to sit with the men as they ate. It always seemed a little weird when it happened but it was always accepted.
After everyone had their Thanksgiving meal all the adults would all sit around the house and regale each other with the latest word around town or start up another never ending game of Moon. While all us younger kids would, depending on the weather, play some more board games or would go rabbit hunting with our BB guns or what ever meanness we could get ourselves into. One year my cousins Steve and Clifford were caught in the act of shooting grandma's chickens with their BB guns and were brought in front of the whole family while grandma scolded them. Not exactly the game we would usually hunt.
Well those times were some of my most favorite. But the good Lord blessed me with many more since then. Like I said before it wasn't until I was older when I experienced the way other families celebrated their holidays and it really put my life into perspective. At first I looked at it as something different from the way I use to it happening and didn't like it. But the good Lord opened my eyes and let me see things in perspective and it suddenly clicked, just because it's different doesn't make it wrong.
It it my wish for all of you this holiday season to take others into perspective and give your fellow man the benefit of the doubt. Be easy to forgive and difficult to judge. Don't go through this wonderful life trying to figure out who to blame for the problem, just do your best to fix the problem or make life better.
It is my wish that you all have a very happy Thanksgiving. God bless you.