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By Tamara, November 2012

Where did our fall season go? Time is flyin’ by, and I seem to not keep up with it these days.

November brings more chilly weather, and winter snows are falling in high country, the northern states, and Canada. Brrrrrrrrrr! That could be why we chose Arizona to retire, and live permanently! Yes, summers are hot and dry, but I’ll take 4 months of uncomfortable heat in order to spend the rest of the year relaxing on our patio every afternoon! Trust me, there’s nothin’ like it!

Yes, it’s November, and Thanksgiving will be early this year on the 22nd and I’m sure most of you are looking forward to family get-to-gethers, or fun with friends if you’re far from family as we are. We do get to visit with the kids by phone though, (and even see each other by Skype, or whatever they call it!) As you know, I am not up on these new fan-dangled inventions. They passed me up with VCR’s---and I still can’t run a DVD player.

To my older fans—Do you remember when we actually knew, and were taught in school about what Thanksgiving truly was, and why we celebrate the holiday? And do you also remember all the Pilgrim and Indian cut outs the entire grade school would be decorated in? We used to make colored leaves and paste them above the blackboards too, and have yellow corn on dried stalks standing in the corner of the room to remind us of all the Thanksgivings gone before. I remember the teachers telling us stories of those early settler’s and the many hardships they endured, but how they also felt the reward of reaping their own crops, and sharing their bounty with the natives that first harvest season so many hundreds of years ago. I find more and more these days ‘Political Correctness’, has tried (successfully) to dummy-down our children in American history, and to me, it’s deplorable!

This Thanksgiving, there will be one less in our family since my Dad passed away at almost 91 this past September 25th. But I take solace in the fact that now Mom and he are reunited after being apart in death these last eighteen months.
After 67 years of marriage, (they were also childhood sweethearts nine years prior to marriage) it seemed strange to visit Dad, and see him sitting all alone. He was very sad and lonely after Mom died in April 2011, but because of his advanced dementia, he didn’t always know why he felt that way.
Now, my brother, Clyde and I are the elders of the ‘Dicus family’, (having lost our baby brother, Steven, forty years ago in an auto accident when he was twenty-one.) Guess life either builds you up, or tears you down, but we old birds are toughened by it, and hopefully have learned to lean on the Lord when grief strikes.

Sorry! Didn’t mean to get morbid….There are fun memories I hold dear of Dad too. One was him always sayin’, “I’m gonna die with my boots on, in my own diggin’s, and then they can haul me off to the Marble Orchard!” (Marble orchard being the cemetery). Sadly, that didn’t happen because he & Mom had serious health problems this past five years, and they had to go into Assisted Living.

OK, enough of my sad memories!

When we were kids on the farm, Thanksgiving was either held at our place, or at Aunt Aggy & Bob’s house in town. There was always plenty of food and fun to go around with us kids who were cousins and saw each other on a regular basis.
I can still smell grandma’s homemade minced-meat and punkin’ pies, Aggy’s breaded tomatoes, biscuits, etc., Turkey with loads of gravy for those mile high mashed potatoes, and the yummy dressing Mom made. Those were the days of real cooks, and very long hours preparing wonderful dinners from scratch.
Nothing came in a package in those days except Chef Boy-R-Dee spaghetti! (Remember that, you oldsters?) ha! ha! Admit it---you do!

Snow was usually deep by Thanksgiving, so after dinner, us kids would go sleigh riding on Laughlin’s hill on Anne Marie and Johnny’s street if we were in town at my aunt and uncles, or if dinner was at our place, we’d ride large pieces of cardboard down the gravel pits that were 30 or 40 feet high sitting just off the road behind our property. Neighborhood kids like the Fergusons, and Blackhalls would sometimes join us. What a time we would have until we were so worn out, or frozen with cold wet snow, we’d have to drag ourselves back to the warm fires of home.

We played all kinds of indoor games once we would return home. Does anyone remember, Mother May I, Simon Says, Hide The Thimble, and many, many others? We also played Pinochle, Rook, Cribbage, Rummy, Slap, and so many other card games. We’d put picture puzzles together, or just find a corner out of earshot of our folks to share teenage secrets by the hour. We never considered being entertained with TV when we got together, (and there was no such thing as video games, or cell phones back then.) There were too many active, fun things to do in or out of the house to sit around being bored. Guess that’s why we were all skinny, and no matter how much we ate of healthy, homegrown foods on the farm that our Moms cooked in abundance, (no eating out in those days) we remained lean and bony.
Oh, how I wish kids of today knew the joy and camaraderie we knew in those days, even though life was much harder.

I do wish there was more respect for authority, and love of God today as we knew it back then, and were never allowed to take for granted, or ignore. Misbehavior had consequences, and we usually didn’t enjoy the repercussions.

Well, looking forward—I do hope this holiday season finds you healthy, happy, and surrounded by friends and family you love.

Here’s a Thanksgiving poem below I just now scribbled down…


Blessed were the Days!

Oh, how we took for granted
those wonderful days of yore,
when family coming to visit
we’d welcome at the door.

Holidays we still celebrate
meant something way back then.
We were taught before our school days
why we honored those days, and when.

They were not a day for drinking,
and making quite the fool,
sacrificing time with family
to believe that we were cool.

No, back in my time, everyone knew
just why we got together.
We accepted an invitation
no matter what the weather.

The Lord was a part of our Day,
asking always for His blessing,
before we dove into that meal
with loads of turkey and dressing.

Holidays were special,
and it wasn’t then a shame
to say “Merry Christmas,”
and call a Holy Day by name.

No “Political Correctness” practiced
in my youthful days.
Our 1st Amendment was honored—
we could say what we wanted to say.

So tell your children the story
of our heritage long ago
when Pilgrims came to settle
a land where abundance flows.

Tamara Hillman
©2012

 

 

 



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