Goin’ Home ~ Thanksgiving, 2018

November 21, 2018  |   General   |     |   0 Comment

A Note from Jamie
Thanksgiving, 2018


Happy Thanksgiving to my friends and family.
Goin’ Home…This blog has a few stories from my childhood and a look ahead at today.
It certainly shows me that we’ve come full circle, and sometimes we really can go home again.
Wishing you peace.
You can read this in newsletter format here:
https://mailchi.mp/2f12fa3221ae/jamie-o-thanksgiving-greeting-and-blog


“Then your apples all is gethered…”
Apple picking is a tradition for me and my growing family.

 

 

 

 

 

ON EDGEWOOD ROAD.
“They’s something kindo’ harty-like about the atmusfere
When the heat of summer’s over and the coolin’ fall is here—”

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving when I was young, we came home from school to boxes on the porch with crackers, rice, instant potatoes and macaroni.  All the canned goods you could want: Campbell’s soup, tunafish, corned beef hash and SPAM. (Or not want: hominy grits, mincemeat and dented cans of clams)…Somebody in town included us in their annual charity rounds.  (“Us”  was me and my 13 brothers and sisters and Mom).  The boxes were left while we were out.  We never met the givers.

On Thursday morning, as my eldest brother Willem tells it, he was up early, chopping walnuts and apples, and sauteing onions and celery, while our Mom put turkey giblets up to boil for the stuffing.  When we middle and little kids woke up, we tore up dry bread and put it in the big silver bowl.  The smells from the oven are still fresh in my memory.

Dinner would be a long time coming.  We passed the time, sitting with scissors and construction paper making turkeys traced from our hands.  Playing games and reading books.  By mid-afternoon we needed to go outside.  Cecilie gathered leaves and branches with plump red and purple berries for a cornucopia centerpiece.

“O, it sets my hart a-clickin’ like the tickin’ of a clock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock!”

Mass was optional Thanksgiving mornings in the mid 60s. Without a car, walking the two miles to church wasn’t something I wanted to do, especially when there was a turkey in the oven!  But one exceptional year, when the twins – our  youngest – Bernadette and Bridget were still at St. Thomas, Bridget read James Whitcomb Riley’s poem When The Frost is on the Pumpkin.’ at Mass.  I hear her sweet, little girl voice every fall, as we move from warm autumn breezes to the first cold snaps.


GOIN’ HOME.
Over the years, our traditions shifted to long family walks in the woods Thanksgiving morning.  Today I’ll drive from to Crystal Lake from the city.  My grandchildren will ride on sleds or perch high on shoulders of Dads or Uncles, as my girls did.  We’ll trek through worn trails in Sterns Woods, as pine needles drift in the air, gathering branches for the various dinner tables that will host us.  After the walk, I’ll share the cranberry bread I baked, tailgating on hoods of cars.  We’ll have lunch at the Peters homestead, out on North Shore, just a block from Crystal Lake.  This vibrant place is home to my sister Henri’s family and was built on the double lot where our childhood house stood.  Over the years, rooms were added as the family grew to 12.  Today, its broad, towering trees, trim hedges and gardens will already be set for winter.  Inside the warm kitchen, jars and bins will be filled with summer fruit, honey and grains.  The dining room table will offer baskets of challah breads, rolls, and trays of  cheese and crackers, carrots and stuffed celery.  Soup and cider will be on the stove.  The Peters family will serve.  We’ll say grace and sing together: Simple Gifts.  We Gather Together.  Over the River and Through the Woods.  Let There Be Peace on Earth.

Outside the Bittersweet vines will unveil fiery berries in stark contrast with old bare oaks and dulling green hostas.  As the wind picks up and temperature drops, there might even be some snow.  I’ll step into that cold air, holding deep the memories of those mornings 50 years back, shuddering to think of times we didn’t know where our next meal would come from.  And I’ll drive back home this Thanksgiving knowing that goodness will always make me welcome at Edgewood Road.


 

When the Frost is on the Punkin
Poem by James Whitcomb Riley

When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock,
And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin’ turkey-cock,
And the clackin’ of the guineys, and the cluckin’ of the hens,
And the rooster’s hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence;
O, it’s then’s the times a feller is a-feelin’ at his best,
With the risin’ sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest,
As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes out to feed the stock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock.

They’s something kindo’ harty-like about the atmusfere
When the heat of summer’s over and the coolin’ fall is here—
Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossums on the trees,
And the mumble of the hummin’-birds and buzzin’ of the bees;
But the air’s so appetizin’; and the landscape through the haze
Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days
Is a pictur’ that no painter has the colorin’ to mock—
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock.

The husky, rusty russel of the tossels of the corn,
And the raspin’ of the tangled leaves, as golden as the morn;
The stubble in the furries—kindo’ lonesome-like, but still
A-preachin’ sermuns to us of the barns they growed to fill;
The strawstack in the medder, and the reaper in the shed;
The hosses in theyr stalls below—the clover over-head!—
O, it sets my hart a-clickin’ like the tickin’ of a clock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock!

Then your apples all is gethered, and the ones a feller keeps
Is poured around the celler-floor in red and yeller heaps;
And your cider-makin’ ’s over, and your wimmern-folks is through
With their mince and apple-butter, and theyr souse and saussage, too! …
I don’t know how to tell it—but ef sich a thing could be
As the Angels wantin’ boardin’, and they’d call around on me
I’d want to ’commodate ’em—all the whole-indurin’ flock—
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock


Jamie’s family picture taken by Ben Amandes Oct. 2018
Casey and Baby Arlo, Jamie, Meg with Baby boy Broz (in tummy) Alex, Nia, and Olive

Peters family: Kim, Rachel, Zach, Ben, Yosiah Henri, Don
Second row: Gabe Tim R, Nadia, Elias, Tim, Cassy