While trying to come up with material for this editorial, I asked several friends to tell me what Thanksgiving was like for them, when they were children. After listening to their stories, I came to one conclusion. For the most part, what many people seem to remember about Thanksgiving is either the preparation of the food or the company the meal was shared with.
The stories I heard ranged from watching grandmothers catch a rooster and cutting it head off, to mothers setting bread dough on the windowsill for half a day, to let it rise, so they could bake it.
In my own case, I can remember getting up in the early morning hours to discover that my mother had already been up and working in the kitchen for several hours, trying to prepare the turkey. Her hands would be covered with remnants of food particles and every square foot of the kitchen seemed to be occupied by mixing bowls, dishes, pots and pans.
As a child, Thanksgiving meant a day with no school, where I could play or sit and watch the Macy’s Day Parade while my mother was busy in the kitchen. Once I got older and had several step-sons to raise, I would take the boys out squirrel or rabbit hunting early in the morning and we would get home just in time to eat a nice big hot meal shared with visiting family members.
Now that I look back on the past, I realize the most important part of the day was not the food we ate, but the time, energy and love that went into doing things for your family. There have been many many hours spent over the years by grandmothers and mothers, and sometimes even fathers and grandfathers, capturing, killing and preparing food, for the family members they love.
So as you prepare for this holiday season, if you are one of the lucky ones that gets to SHOW your love by spending time preparing something special for your family, I hope you realize that your actions will be remembered and appreciated for many years down the road.
There are even times that the lack of actions can have a positive effect and create a happy memory. A case in point involves my grandfather, Warren David Hostetter. I don’t recall ever seeing him help in the kitchen, but on holidays, there is one special dessert that my grandmother made. It was mincemeat pie and she ALWAYS served it HOT.
Whenever she made her mincemeat pie, my grandfather would go to a large cabinet that he kept locked, take out a bottle of Seagram's 7 whiskey and commence to pouring a little dab on top of the pie. Using whiskey on top of that pie, was the only time in my life that I ever saw my grandfather consume any type of alcohol.
I believe the examples of lifestyles and character I witnessed by observing my family as I was growing up, have helped me to become the person I am today. So my one message to all the fathers, uncles and grandfathers out there is that your actions, moral fiber, and respect for others is being noticed by the younger men and boys in your family. And while they may not acknowledge it now, some day down the road, the examples you set by your actions, will be appreciated.
I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving day and may the traditions you pass on, become the model for many generations to come.
Franklin T. Wike, Jr.
Turkeys will thaw in the morning, then warm in the oven to an afternoon high near 190F. The kitchen will turn hot and humid, and if you bother the cook, be ready for a severe squall or cold shoulder.
During the late afternoon and evening, the cold front of a knife will slice through the turkey, causing an accumulation of one to two inches on plates. Mashed potatoes will drift across one side while cranberry sauce creates slippery spots on the other. Please pass the gravy.
A weight watch and indigestion warning have been issued for the entire area, with increased stuffiness around the beltway. During the evening, the turkey will diminish and taper off to leftovers, dropping to a low of34F in the refrigerator.
Looking ahead to Friday and Saturday, high pressure to eat sandwiches will be established. Flurries of leftovers can be expected both days with a 50 percent chance of scattered soup late in the day. We expect a warming trend where soup develops. By early next week, eating pressure will be low as the only wish left will be the bone.
U S Legacies Magazine November 2003