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The Last Windrow: An old-fashioned Thanksgiving

We are headed, together, toward the bowl of red cranberries, the side of bread dressing and the slice of turkey. It is the time of year when we put the harvest to bed and start thinking of the holidays. 

Of course, the holidays start a little earlier than they used to, like the day after Labor Day in retail terms. 

But, I like to go back to my childhood when Thanksgiving was actually a day for giving thanks, being around Uncle Claude and my other uncles and aunts and rough-housing through the farmyard with my many cousins. 

With most of the family living within 30 or 40 miles of each other at the time, getting together to celebrate any holiday wasn’t the challenge presented today when we’ve sent kids and relatives hither and yon, making it tough to get together. 

Perhaps time has dimmed my memory of how much fun those holidays were. Sure there were some personality clashes in the kitchen, some of my uncles disagreed as to who was more fit to be in the White House, a kid or two came away from the gravel football field with a bloody nose, but for the most part we enjoyed each other’s company. 

These large gatherings just taught you some life lessons in how to get along with other human beings. 

Today’s world seems much more disconnected to me. Little time is given to actually resting on Thanksgiving. Stores are beating the drums of war and even Black Friday has become an endangered species. This year the turkey will not yet have left the fork before the first store opens. 

No one at our Thanksgiving dinners was remotely thinking of spending money the next day or, even worse, that night. Most of my relatives were trying to figure out how to save a dollar. But no more. Now our wallets are opened and our credit cards melt from the friction of having run through too many card machines. 

The turkey dressing has hardly cooled before we head for the exits of the home and onto the freeways in pursuit of a bargain. 

Now we have holiday athletic tournaments to keep our kids busy. Kids don’t go visit their cousins over Thanksgiving weekend anymore, do they? They are expected to show up to play or practice sports. 

My cousins and I had all kinds of exciting experiences in the weekend following Thanksgiving. We hunted pheasants, chased rabbits, played barn basketball and enjoyed the three days of freedom from schoolwork. We were actually refreshed when we returned to school the Monday after Thanksgiving! 

Maybe I’m just remembering the good parts of the Thanksgivings I participated in as a kid. I know how exciting those special days were to me and I didn’t have to spend a dollar or travel a thousand miles to enjoy the day. 

And, I didn’t have to go to work stocking shelves at 10 o’clock on Thanksgiving Day morning. I feel for those folks. The world has changed. I will be counting my blessings. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

See you next time. Okay?