I grew up in a family where a version of Thanksgiving was celebrated almost 365 days a year. Really.
Family around the table? It was our tradition to gather for the evening meal — supper, we called it — every weekday evening at 6 p.m. On Sundays, it was right after church. Oh, and on Saturdays, we all ate breakfast together. Talk about a feast. Biscuits and gravy, scrambled eggs and sausage were the standard fare. Sometimes, that Saturday morning meal was waffles or hot cakes and bacon. Always, it was delicious.
Counting our blessings? Before we ate, no matter what the occasion, we thanked God for the food and each other and whatever else came to mind. Almost every grace contained the phrase “and bless this food to the nourishment of our bodies.”
Those simple prayers were answered in multiple ways. Not only were our bodies nourished, but our spirits and minds were nurtured without us even realizing it.
My two sisters and I have checked in with each other to see how our mealtime memories compare, and it’s amazingly unanimous: They were lots of fun. While most of the details have faded, the three of us agree our family times around the table were spiced liberally with laughter. The love was a given.
One of my dad’s favorite sayings, always delivered with a wink and a grin, was: “Every day’s a holiday for your dad.” I think the holiday he had in mind when he said that was Thanksgiving. He didn’t see his cup as half full, it was always overflowing — no matter what the circumstances. He and my mom were no strangers to hard times (they, after all, were children of the Great Depression), but they refused, in the words of the early 20th century minister and teacher Oswald Chambers, to be swamped by the cares of this life.
There was a practical side to my mother’s gratitude. As a young journalist struggling to make ends meet, I remember complaining to her that despite all the deductions in my paycheck I still owed taxes.
If it was sympathy I was looking for, I had gone to the wrong place. “Just be grateful you make enough money to pay taxes,” she told me.
It’s a lesson in gratitude — and perspective — I try to remember, and not just at tax time.
For Homer News readers, I hope this Thanksgiving holds for you some of the things I hold dear from those mealtimes of my childhood: good food, a time of consciously saying “thank you,” lots of laughter and the knowledge that you’re loved. If this is a year when you’re having trouble counting your blessings, maybe you can be grateful knowing that this, too, will pass. And if your cup overflows, may it help strengthen and nourish others.
Editor and publisher