The Garden Plot

Ray Baird

Thanksgiving is an All–American Celebration – No other holiday is so very American as the Thanksgiving holiday. It was celebrated in America first by Christopher Columbus in 1492 long before the pilgrims in 1620. Columbus landed in America and his first act was to offer a prayer of thanksgiving for sparing his life. Columbus set the example of Thanksgiving by the actions of thanking God and acknowledging God not with a feast or festival but with the offering of praise and Thanksgiving. Over 128 years later on American soil, Pilgrims landed in Plymouth, Massachusetts and acknowledged God by giving thanks. A year later, they celebrated and remembered with a feast of Thanksgiving. In both incidents, the giving of thanks and praise to God was top priority over temporary commodities of food and drink. Today is Thanksgiving and a special time to re-collect our thinking and reflect on what really matters in our lives and family and what and who is really most meaningful in our lives. Even though America has plenty of shortcomings, we live in a blessed land with much to be thankful for in this Thanksgiving year of 2017.

A feeling of Thanksgiving in the air – There is a crispness in the late autumn air on a Thanksgiving morning with lawns and rooftops covered with a layer of frost. With the exception of mighty oaks, most trees have emptied their harvest of leaves. The dogwoods are adorned with bright red berries and honeysuckle vines entangle the borders of the woodlands. They contrast with the bear limbs and tree trunks amid a background of cedar’s and shortleaf Pines. All the frosts of October and November have painted the lawns a color of brown and red. All the changes in our surroundings show us nature is moving to a mode of slow down and setting an example for us to slow down even as the rush of the coming Christmas season sneaks in upon us.

Country apple dumplings for Thanksgiving – Pumpkin pie is great for Thanksgiving, but so are apple dumplings to tickle taste buds and add variety to a Thanksgiving table. This is an easy recipe with simple ingredients: four large mackintosh apples, 2 ten ounce cans of refrigerated crescent roll dough, 1 cup light margarine, 3 cups of sugar, 1 tablespoon apple pie seasoning spice, one 12 ounce can of regular or diet Mountain Dew. Step one: Preheat oven to 350°. Step two: Grease a 9” x 13” baking dish. Step three: Peel and cut each apple into eight wedges. Sprinkle with lemon juice and set aside. Step four: Separate crescent dough into triangles. Roll each apple into crescent dough, starting at smallest end. Pitch to seal in apple. Place in the baking dish. Step five: Melt margarine in small sauce pan and stir in sugar and apple pie spices. Pour over the dumplings. Pour cans of Mountain Dew over dumplings. Step six: Bake at 350° for 35 to 45 minutes until golden brown.

A Thanksgiving feast for the birds – The birds of late autumn are active and searching for food. You can furnish them a great meal on this Thanksgiving and every day of autumn and the coming winter by keeping the feeders filled with food and bird baths filled with water. Every morning, empty ice from birdbaths and refill with water when sun warms up above freezing. The birds will continue to visit your lawn every day.

Don’t let Black Friday spoil the spirit of Thanksgiving – When we were growing up in the 1950s the Christmas shopping season officially begin the Friday after Thanksgiving at 9:00 a.m. In this 21st-century, it starts after dinner on Thanksgiving Day and also at 4:00 AM on Friday morning known as “Black Friday”. It seems most people just skip over Thanksgiving and get wrapped up in the frenzy of the rush of Christmas buying. Don’t let the spirit override the meaning and spirit of Thanksgiving. Enjoy family and share thankfulness with them. Enjoy the calm and joy of time share with family members.

The bountiful table at Thanksgiving – Thanksgiving day at grandma’s house in Northampton County in eastern North Carolina, the large kitchen table was never empty and covered with plenty of food from dinnertime until bedtime. After Thanksgiving dinner, the food remained on the table and was covered with a huge linen tablecloth. Friends and family members feel free to visit the table all during the day to partake from its bountiful supply. We believe she knew the true meaning of Thanksgiving and being thankful for all the blessings from God and how to share the goodness of the Lord with others. The precious time spent with her family was more important than anything else on that special day and she used that time wisely to invest in her family and grandchildren.

Ray Baird