Maybe our thanks should come after the meal

Thanksgiving Day, 2005
Let’s see, there’ll be five grandchildren, three of our own plus their spouses, brother-and-sister-in-law, Luan’s mother and brother-in-law and with me, that’s 16.
Another challenge of the day is to fit them around an extended dining room table.
Together we should be able to skeletalize a 25 pound turkey and hopefully leave a neck, gizzard and piece of skin for me on Friday.
It’ll be a joyous day with teasing the grandchildren, poking fun at, and good natured insulting of, the bigger ones.
The grandchildren will shy away from saying the blessing, but it will be observed even if unsaid.
Thanksiving Day was always a Sherman household celebration in our growing up years, but no blessings were asked to be given.
Dad had become a Jehovah’s Witness before we were born, and out Methodist mother submitted to her husband’s belief.
The Day’s meal preparations took a few days. There were pies to be made (pumpkin and mincemeat),
cranberries to be crushed, or whatever (never let them take space on my plate) and stuffing to be mixed.
Mother would make it the night before, and when Dad came home from work at 4:00 a.m. (He always worked the night shift, thus avoiding us kids as much as possible.) he’d put the dressing in the turkey and put it into the oven.
We’re not talking about an electric stove oven here. We’re talking coal heat from a stove with a boiler on one end sitting on a linoleum covered floor.
There were some Days when duck and chicken would be added to the menu, just in case some of the relative-guests didn’t like searching out the pinfeathers on the turkey.
By the time eating came around, 2:00 or 3:00 p.m., the house was chuck full of aroma and noises of growling stomachs.
Reviewing these Days with my older (only) sister, Barbara, she reminded me that the most memorable serving on the table was mother’s gravy.
Mom (‘Never call me Ma!?) could make a gallon of outstanding gravey from a half-cup of leavings.
I’m drooling on my keyboard now just thinking of the taste of turkey dressing swimming in Mother’s gravy.
That’s why I suggest the blessing be said after the meal. Of course, we could ask blessing in anticipation AND for bellyfuls.
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The Bill of Fare
Pies of pumpkin, apples, mince,
Jams and jellies, peaches, quince,
Purple grapes, and apples red,
Cakes and nuts and gingerbread–
That’s Thanksgiving.

Turkey! Oh, a great big fellow!
Fruits all ripe and rich and mellow,
Everything that’s nice to eat,
More than I can now repeat–
That’s Thanksgiving.

Lots and lots of jolly fun,
Games to play and races run,
All as happy as can be–
For this happiness, you can see
Makes Thanksgsiving.

We must thank the One who gave
All the good things we have;
That is why we keep the day
Set aside, our mamas say,
For Thanksgiving.
Eugene Field, 1850-1895

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