It seemed like it was time to refresh our tagline ….a friend suggested this one. I have no idea what it means….. but I think Latin gives FT a sophisticated and educated look – which we needed……
Last week’s “Sue, What Do You Do ?!??” generated lots of email with many suggested rhymes – even some good ones! We will send out our favorites next week – so send yours in.
This morning I started to write about my favorite Thanksgiving memory……. but then remembered that I did that last year – and since my brain has been full of rhymes and I am feeling a bit lazy, I decided for a rerun of The Rabbit.
I know there are many FT readers outside the US that do not celebrate Thanksgiving – I hope you will forgive my narrow, domestic indulgence……
* * * *
For what we are about to receive, may the Lord make us
truly thankful and ever mindful of the needs of others.
It’s just a simple ceramic mold in the shape of rabbit… but the minute we bring it out for Thanksgiving, a flood of warm memories washes over me..…
My mother’s two aunts, Margaret and Lulla, were probably in their 60s, never married and were the epitome of Southern Ladies….
They lived in Atlanta in a big house in Brookhaven….the house was filled with “antiques and heirlooms” that had been passed down from generations of ancestors in Collierville, Tennessee, Camden, SC and Charleston.
I remember the feeling as we drove up the steep driveway …..they would rush outside to greet us with beaming joy and smothering hugs that made it clear we had entered a home of unconditional love………which was a big deal since 6 wild kids under the age of 10 were about to terrorize their beautiful home.
Lulla and Margaret were effortlessly gracious, unfailingly polite and always generous. They relentlessly labored to shape this redneck, uncivilized boy into a young southern gentleman reminding me of “Please”, “Thank you” and “Yes, Mam”….correcting grammar, instructing refined table manners, teaching about the honor of Robert E. Lee ……and, oh yeah, checking fingernails for dirt.
My earliest memory of Thanksgiving is at their house – I was probably 5 or 6.
The kitchen was a flurry of intense, noisy activity and a tense countdown was taking place ……rich, intoxicating smells filled the air …..
….the dining room table stretched the length of a football field…..it was a work of art…each place setting was careful arranged with a myriad of glasses, plates of different sizes and multiple knives forks and spoons….
…..food overflowed the table to the sideboard ….mashed potatoes, gravy as thick as molasses in December…. green beans, corn bread stuffing, collard greens, asparagus casserole, yams, rice, . ….the turkey was the size of a sofa and carving was a careful ritual that was reverently observed by all.
Norman Rockwell’s Thanksgiving painting, “Freedom from Want” brilliantly captures the warmth of the moment.
At just the right time, Aunt Margaret would reverently bring her hands together and bow her head – everyone followed and the room went silent s …….with the thickest and most dignified Southern accent she would say:
“For what we are about to receive, may the Lord make us
truly thankful and ever mindful of the needs of others.”
….the brevity gave it gravity….. the word Lord was at least 4 syllables .. and sounded more like “Laaaaawd” ….. she emphasized the word “ever” in a sharp, scolding way….. the words “ever mindful of the needs of others” would hang in the air and echo in my mind ….
As a kid I was fascinated by The Rabbit. Instead of cranberry sauce in a bowl, there was a prominent and highly celebrated cranberry mold in the shape of a quite dignified rabbit.
There was a fairly loud and heated debate (by the standards of southern ladies) between the two sisters over whose turn it was to take the special first slice of The Rabbit.
I did not understand this ritual negotiation until much later in life ….I learned that they had been fighting over the privilege of the “rear” part of the rabbit since they were young ladies…….I also learned that they referred to this sacred part of the poor rabbit’s anatomy as the “Pope’s Nose” They were staunch Episcopalians. I also learned that this annual clash of wills was likely fueled by the abundant pre-dinner gin and tonics.
So 45 years later, I have The Rabbit….. and the tradition continues. For several years we did not get the recipe quite right and it would melt before dinner started ….it looked more like road kill.
As The Rabbit makes its way to the table tomorrow, I will be reminded that there are many people with many needs. I will also know that for no reason, I am incredibly blessed with an abundance of family that continues to give that same unconditional love. My family is the greatest gift my aunts, my parents and my wife could have possibly given me.
I am truly thankful…. and must remember to be “ever mindful of the needs of others”
I wish you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving!!
Interesting Unrelated facts:
- Both the turkey and bald eagle were once considered as the national symbol of America. Benjamin Franklin argued passionately on behalf of the turkey.
- According to the USDA Poultry Data Handbook Americans will consume 45 million turkeys this holiday season.
- looking for a holiday getaway? – try one of the 11 prisons turned into hotels for your incarcer-vacation.