THE BEST THANKSGIVING DINNERS IN MY MEMORY were prepared by my great-grandmother Dollie. Her mother’s maiden name was Wallen. My Wallen ancestors are descended from Ralph and Joyce Wallen, a Pilgrim couple who sailed from England to Plymouth Colony in 1623 on the ship Anne — three years and two ships after the Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock. Ralph and Joyce Wallen were my great-grandparents times 9.
In one variation of the history of our nation’s first Thanksgiving, the original celebration took place when my ancestors’ ship arrived. As the story goes, after a hard winter in which food supplies were depleted and many of the first settlers died, when the ship Anne arrived bringing new settlers and plenty of food, a joyful Thanksgiving was held.
I like to think this version of our nation’s first celebration is true — even though it took place in July!
Today, as my stepdaughter, my husband, and I prepare for a feast with friends, I have much to be thankful for. I am rich in love. I have friends. I have family. I have wonderful people I love dearly, who love me back.
This wasn’t always the case, particularly during my troubled teens. When I was 15 years old, my Thanksgiving dinner took place on the maximum security ward of a notorious state insane asylum. Although I had never been violent and had never even threatened to be violent, I was locked on a ward alongside criminally insane murderers, because…. I kept running away.
Almost 50 years have passed since that terrible Thanksgiving. The difference between then and now is almost as extreme as the difference between heaven and hell. In my mind, anyway!
….I woke up this morning, checked the weather forecast, and discovered we have an ice storm warning, beginning late tonight through early Saturday. The warning says we may experience power outages caused by high winds and ice accumulation on tree limbs and power lines.
We have a giant old Japanese Elm with some iffy-looking heavy branches hanging over our small house and the little trailer in the back yard where my precious stepdaughter now lives.
I started worrying when I saw the weather forecast, before I had gotten out of bed this morning. I thought about all the things that will not work if our electricity goes out. With temperatures predicted to be in the teens during this storm, losing our only source of heat would be a problem.
But then I remembered that our Pilgrim ancestors in 1623 had no electricity, ever. They also had no cars. No road plows. No interstate highways. No indoor plumbing. No central heat or a.c. (our winters often get down to the single digits and our summers into the triple digits! Yikes! We need both our heat and a.c.!!) The Pilgrims had no grocery stores. No fast food restaurants. No malls. No Wal-Marts. No telephones, no televisions, no radio, no WiFi, no internet. No Amazon. No WordPress blogs. No ebooks, no libraries, and no bookstores. (Triple yikes, for a book lover like me!!) There was no 911 to call for help. No ambulances. No hospital emergency rooms. They didn’t even have kitty litter to sprinkle on snow and ice.
And yet, they were THANKFUL.
Today, I am going to feast with my friends and family and I will be thankful, too.
If no one’s told you lately that they love you — God and I do. Yes, really. ❤ ❤
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