Here in the states, we’re getting ready to celebrate Thanksgiving! It has become a special time that we set aside to remember all the blessings we’re grateful for.
I recently had the joy of spending a few days in Gap Pennsylvania where we lived for 27 years. There was an unexpected snowfall that made our old neighborhood look like a winter wonderland while I was there. It was like I was given a look back into the life I knew for many years. It’s in this place I enjoyed some of the fondest memories of my life.
My family celebrated Thanksgiving every year with the traditional turkey dinner. For as long as I can remember, the dinner in my childhood home consisted of turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, creamed celery, and pumpkin pie.
The smell of turkey in the stove all night would wake us in the morning and then the work would begin.
In the Amish tradition, we would take all the meat off the bones, add the dressing, mix it together and bake it in a roasting pan. Mom made turkey and bread filling like no other mom on planet earth!
Thanksgiving was also a celebration for all the food that was taken from our garden, then canned or frozen for the long winter months ahead. It’s where I learned how to plant and harvest.
It was a day for our family to rest from our labor on the farm. We had worked tirelessly all spring and summer in preparation for the winter ahead. Mom and dad taught me the value of working hard and planning ahead.
I loved working in the kitchen with my mom. That was often my role in our family. It’s where I learned how to make good meals for the family, friends, and relatives that would join us around the dinner table. Many times there would be as many as 20 or more. Those were the days when fast food was unheard of. Dinner was always served around the table.
Mom would say, “There’s always room for more.” She served meals with a smile and a song. I didn’t know then that I was learning how to host many people and one day I would do the same in my home. Mom taught me how to be a gracious host.
She also taught me how to bake delicious pumpkin and pecan pies along with many fruit pies. I was able to bake 60-70 pies on my own by the time I was 12 years old. Mom and dad would take these pies to a farmers market in Philadelphia to sell at our deli and bakery stand. Learning how to do things on my own and become responsible gave me great satisfaction and pride.
For these lessons I learned in life, along with many more, I’m thankful.
Thanksgiving may not look the same today as it did back in my day. In the 21st century, new traditions have been created. Some gather to watch football games or the Macy’s Parade, both of which have become a great family tradition for many.
Regardless of your own traditions, I encourage you to take some time to sit around the table with family and friends and thank God for the blessings, lessons, and bounty that he has given you. It’s still a good way to celebrate this holiday!