Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Call for Thanksgiving Sharing

Place setting at Buckhorn
Isaac B. Werner was a bachelor homesteader, and unlike other neighbors, he had no family living in the community.  He never mentions being invited to share Thanksgiving with a neighbor, and his journal makes it clear that he spent his Thanksgivings alone.  During the hard years of the last half of the 1880s and the 1890s when Isaac was writing in his journal, settlers had little to share, and many of them made no special Thanksgiving dinner for themselves.  It was Abraham Lincoln who designated Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863, so by the 1880s and 1890s it was an established tradition, but homesteaders with barely enought to eat certainly lacked the resources to prepare a holiday feast.
Because Thanksgiving is a time to pause and be thankful, I have an idea for my Thanksgiving Day post that I know will be great fun for me, and I hope it will be fun for all of you.  Foremost, I want to say thank you to all of my supporters who have followed this blog week by week, getting to know Isaac.  For me, you have become an online community, and my idea for Thanksgiving day will provide a venue for you to get to know each other.  I'll explain how I hope all of us can share Thanksgiving later, but for now, I'll go first!
Thanksgivings of my childhood were family occasions.  My parents put all the leaves in the dining room table, and even then there was barely room for everyone.  Mother's menu was always the same, and turkey was the centerpiece of the meal.  After I married, my husband and I were occasionally able to join our families for big holiday celebrations, but often we were invited to share dinners with friends in the different places that we lived over the years.  In New England, we learned to enjoy mashed rutabaga as a traditional vegetable; in the South we learned to appreciate dressing made with corn bread; and in Texas one Thanksgiving we discovered how delicious brussel sprouts could be, although the dish was prepared by our hostess's visiting mother from out-of-state and may not be traditional for Texas. 
Guest holiday display at Buckhorn RV Resort
Recently we have occasionally enjoyed a different tradition.  With our parents no longer living and most of our friends now celebrating with their children and grandchildren, we have discovered a wonderful tradition at the Buckhorn RV Resort in Kerrville, Texas.  RVers staying there are invited to a dinner of turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy prepared by the RV hosts.  Guests may participate the evening before in the preparation of pies by bringing their favorite fillings for pie shells provided by the park hosts.  For the dinner, guests are asked to bring a dish--vegetables, salads, and deserts to add to what the park provides.  Guests may also supply their own place settings for the tables, although the park has centerpieces.  The opening photograph shows our rather humble decorations from last year.  Some of the tables are quite elaborate!  Because many RVers make Buckhorn their traditional Thanksgiving destination, it is a chance to see old friends.
The park also welcomes the coming Christmas season that weekend with seasonal decorations, and there are prizes for the guests who display their own decorations.  The photograph of part of one guest's impressive display shows a prize winner transported in a trailer behind the guest's motor coach for the annual Thanksgiving weekend display.  It is always the stopping place for strollers.
Enjoying the holiday decorations with an after-dinner stroll
Now that I have shared some of my Thanksgiving traditions with you, here is your invitation to share yours in return.  I hope most of you will share a sentence or two about your Thanksgiving traditions--food, guests, games, places, childhood memories or other special traditions.  They do not have to be lengthy, as I hope many of you accept the invitation.  On Thanksgiving Day I will post the things you share.  Many of you who follow my blog are international visitors, and you may not celebrate Thanksgiving; however, other cultures have Harvest Festivals and other Autumn Celebrations whose traditions you  might share.
Send your e-mails to me at and please get them to me as soon as possible, as I hope I will receive e-mails from many of you that I will need to organize and prepare to post.  Please indicate if you wish to include your initials, first name, full name, or pen name with what you send, and also whether you wish to include the name of your state or country.  I am so excited looking forward to see what everyone will send, but I obviously need followers willing to take a moment to participate.  Thank you again for all of your support during the past year, and I hope this little idea of mine proves to be fun for everyone!

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