The worship most
acceptable to God comes from a thankful and cheerful heart.
The fourth Thursday in November
comes this week. It is not the time to be ranting about this and
that. The fourth Thursday in November is Thanksgiving, and it
behooves us all to reflect on all the things for which we are truly
First, I am thankful for the Wampanoag people, Indian tribes who
populated the Eastern Woodland from Canada to South Carolina and
west to Wisconsin. The Massachusetts, the Punkapogs, the
Narragansett, the Nipmuck and other tribes who greeted the Pilgrims
and helped them survive the harsh winters and their own ignorance.
In 1621 about 90 Wampanoag and what colonials were left from the
1620 Mayflower voyage to “Plimoth” all got together to celebrate the
harvest in what is widely believed to be the first Thanksgiving.
While that may have been the first American Thanksgiving, it
certainly wasn’t the first celebration of the harvest. Mankind all
over the world has been celebrating harvest time from the earliest
days of antiquity and it has been a time of thanksgiving for all the
blessings bestowed by the gods.
Of course, the Wampanoag people lived to rue the day, but that is
ancient history. It makes for a wonderful Thanksgiving story though.
And it seems entirely fitting to at least acknowledge that many of
our blessings are based on somebody else’s sacrifice, which brings
me to the first item for which I’m truly and eternally grateful.
I give thanks for my mother, a wonderful woman who lived a long life
and went to her grave bending over backwards giving to others and so
very little to herself. She was overly generous to me. I certainly
never deserved her goodness or her sacrifices and I was half-way or
more to my own demise before I ever realized it. A sad truth is I
never got around to telling her how very much I appreciated what she
had done for me.
I give thanks to my father, too, who by all traditional standards
wasn’t worth shooting, but he had his moments, and given his love of
liquor and his inability to cope with the death of his first born,
he often did what he could. And I give thanks for my two older
brothers who loved “the baby” and took such pride in his smallest
achievement and always wanted for me more than they had.
And for the young West Virginia girl who could have done so much
better but took me for a husband anyway, I give thanks. And the
three healthy, sane and pretty darn special children we had together
and who have given so much joy, none perhaps more than the five
super grandkids that they’ve produced, I give thanks.
I give thanks also to a handful of people, especially the people of
Alderson, West Virginia where I took root and grew into an adult,
who took me for what I was when they met me and refused to give up
on me even though they may have had plenty of reason to and helped
me to be better and whose wise counsel and support to this day guide
and fortify me. And friends galore who’ve come into my life since
then and have meant so much to me, I give thanks.
Make no mistake, there are a lot of other things for which I’m
thankful, but nothing else deserves more thanks than family, mentors
and friends. I give my heartfelt thanks to them and to all who read
this. Happy Thanksgiving everybody!