Sunday, November 18, 2007

Thanksgiving Thinking

Thanksgiving just makes me feel so centered. I used to kind of wonder about my aunts and grandmas who would say they "loved" Thanksgiving... I wondered, what's to love? You eat. You go somewhere. You go home... Ah, the innocent, unappreciative mind of a young person... even one of those who seemed pretty mature, pretty intuitive, and very aware of the fragility of life.... or so I thought. My days back then were filled with some kind of unusual soul talk. I nearly always had some kind of dialogue running in my head, and I was constantly inhabiting the books I read or the television I watched. As a little girl, I was MORNING STAR, an Indian princess... I am not sure what television show that came from. Does anybody know (I know... you would have to be in your 50's... but maybe somebody else remembers this lovely Indian maiden.)Brave Eagle: Chief of the Cheyenne.... That's the name of the show. I looked it up. Boy, that title doesn't ring any bells.... I recall having my entire family call me by "Morning Star" or I wouldn't eat or do any chores..... or anything... Wow... I was certainly a little Miss Universe, wasn't I?
It's funny, but we don't have very many photos of Thanksgiving. My family isn't big on pictures anyway, but about the only ones I recall were at my home about ten years ago when I had my Dad's Aunt Mildred and her family, along with my cousin and her children. Lovely day... sparked by the constant barking of a little Jack Russel terrier somebody brought and tied to my clothesline about a leash length from my collie... I don't know if they were making friends like the pilgrims and Indians, or what... but they barked.
Gobble gobble... I also associate Thanksgiving with going to one of my very favorite aunt's houses in Quincy, Illinois, nearly every year. She didn't like turkey, so she made ham. It was the most delicious candied ham I ever hope to put in my mouth, but I still usually lied and told the school classes and teachers I'd had turkey... Being original and unique was such a terrible thing for a grade school girl.... At times when my days are going a bit rotten, I AM still that girl... Isn't it funny to feel gangly or "wrong" or ugly or something unusual in a wash of that old yuckiness right in the middle of walking around clad in these adult bodies? I don't think my students, or my son for that matter, ever think older people might have those kinds of thoughts.. (I'm not the only one, am I? I would HATE to be that different....)
This Thanksgiving I just have to give thanks for so many wonderful gifts. My top ones are my family, of course. And I include in this list both the ones I have with me now and the dear ones who have gone on to be in Heaven. Something about the November winds, the chilly rain, and the delicious grey mornings bring me into their circles, both here and there, and I feel so grateful for them. Isn't it amazing how a person's family shapes the life she is living... It's possible to realize that each person's family was just perfect for that person... and even the ones in my tribe who were a bit under par, if you know what I mean.... they became a part of my past and thus a part of my very real presence in the world. I wouldn't be me... so I guess I'm grateful for those "ones," too.
This is me this year... hibernating like an old gobbler inside the cocoon of my mother's house. I went to a cousin's home for a delicious Thanksgiving dinner today, and I can't describe how intensely being together, even traveling through the gray clouds in my turkey sweater... all this process made me appreciate that bond... I also cherish and appreciate my beautiful friends. This year my friend world again multiplied in an amazing way. I have found so many friends through blogging, and I have such dear ones here with me. My dear friend is traveling to Michigan this week and will be gone for the whole week. She usually graces my table at Thanksgiving, and I'll miss her.... and her little dog, too... I pray for safe travels for all of those who are journeying over the holidays.
I am thankful for books, for movies, for blogging.... for school, for cats and little snippets of colorful magazines. I consider it luck to have fall colors, fat orange pumpkins, and sweet cider candles in my mornings and here late at night.... My world is so blatantly different this year with the loss of my dad, with the move to my mother's, with full time teaching, and with so many changes; therefore, my greatest thanks turns to the Rock of my world, the sweet love of a God who loves me unconditionally, whether I am setting a table in my beautiful navy blue dining room with my precious autumn stoneware or not... I am trying to learn to be happy.... happy with myself.... happy from the heart, from the soul, not based on anything external... just an internal smile and a light in my core spirit and being. Things and places are simply that. Things... replaceable or not, but things... places, livable or not, but just places.... Not places in the heart, not things that truly matter.
That's probably just about enough philosophy for one night, eh? I read in a magazine this week (forgot which one) about a collector who made this comment: "Everything I have is valuable, whether it cost a lot or not." I ponder this.... In the midst of having much and having nothing, I think that's a pretty worthy goal. To make everything I have valuable by esteeming it, by choosing it wisely, by thinking about its purpose and worth and beauty to me.... If it doesn't make that standard, why do I have it anyway? And it could apply to food... If something isn't delicious, why should I eat it? I'm on to something here, but I'm not sure what it is.... To each of you who read this little blog, I am wishing a sweet and loving Thanksgiving week. I hope to post a lot this week and show you pictures of our table. Mom has beautiful Friendly Village Johnson Brothers dishes... We have invited over friends of my son. There won't be an empty place at the table perhaps, but there will be that one person we are all thinking about and missing.... Holidays are coming.... Be strong, oh my soul.... and be thankful... Goodnight!


IsabellaCloset said...

Gala, What a very touching post.. I smiled when you told about you as a little girl saying you had turkey instead of ham.. yes I'm sure I too told a few fibs wanting to fit in. I still feel so much like that little girl at times, just wanting to fit in. Thank you for sharing!
I hope you have a very happy Thanksgiving ~Mary~ :-}

Mary Isabella said...

Truly a post of thankfulness. Hpoing you have a great week. Mary

Dena ~ swaddlecottage said...

What a truly touching post. We had ham when I was little too and it was because I didn't like turkey that my mom would make the ham. I've grown to enjoy it so thankfully my youngest can be honest. Yes, sometimes I do feel like a lost little girl in big girl shoes. How comforting to know I'm not alone in that.

Peace and blessings to you this holiday season.


Anonymous said...

A Happy Thanksgiving to you, too, Gayla. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. With Christmas coming, and feeling "anti-consumerist," I found the comments about valuing everything (even with regard to foods) to be particularly helpful. May God give your family peace in your hearts as you consider that we are "surrounded by that great cloud of witnesses." (Heb. 12:1) Desert Lady

black eyed susans kitchen said...

This was so sweet. It touched my heart. Hope you are having a good day. Susan

Terri and Bob said...

I am right there with you. Thanksgiving and Christmas will be hard this year.