View from Hickory Heights: Giving thanks
‘Tis the season for giving thanks. This holiday that we know as Thanksgiving was first designated by President George Washington as a day of national thanksgiving. Franklin Delano Roosevelt gave it the fourth Thursday in November date.
I think this goes back to our roots as a nation. We have always been a nation under God. President Dwight D. Eisenhower had that phrase added to our pledge during his administration. It was added during the Cold War as a reminder of our heritage. While I was researching this, I found out the original pledge of allegiance was written for the Columbian Exposition in October 1892. It marked the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the Americas.
I am truly thankful to live in this nation. To say that others crave the freedoms that we have is fundamental. Immigration has gone on for centuries. Although the current pattern is that of illegal immigration, it has always been in legal terms until now. Several people who immigrated to the U. S. the legal way have told me that they feel really bad about the border situation. They did things as they were supposed to do it and are now citizens of this great country of ours.
In church we sing a song “Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart”. The song says “Give thanks with a grateful heart, Give thanks to the Holy One. Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son. And now let the weak say ‘I am strong’, Let the poor say, ‘I am rich’ because of what the Lord has done for us.”
If you have a home to live in to keep warm and dry – give thanks. If you have enough to eat – give thanks. If you can worship God without fear of persecution – give thanks. If you can assemble – give thanks. If you can fly the
flag whenever you want to – give thanks. If you have served your country and returned home – give thanks. There are many who served who never returned home. I cannot begin to cover all of the things that I am thankful for.
I have never been rich, but I have never gone without either. My mother raised me on her own without any help from my father. He left us before I was two years old. Thankfully, my grandparents took us in. I grew up in a loving family. When I say I have never gone without, I mean without food. We never had steak at every meal but we always had enough to eat. I had clothes to wear although many of them were hand-me-downs. I was truly thankful when clothes arrived from a distant cousin. I was crushed when I grew taller than she was and could no longer use them.
I have lived under some bad conditions, but there was always an end in sight. When we moved to Hickory Heights we had a bed, a card table, and a couple chairs. One cousin who came with her children to visit noticed how sparse our furnishings were. We did have a television, but it was an old one that had belonged to my mother. If you really wanted to watch something you had to hold the rabbit ears. That is the way our children watched the Christmas specials.
I had no washer and dryer. It was trips to the laundromat to do the laundry. I did not want to spent the entire day there so most of the time I carried home wet clothes to dry on the line that was on the porch. Even when I got a second-hand washer, I still hung clothes outdoors.
Did I think I was deprived? No! I was so happy to have a house to live in that I just did whatever I had to do to make it work.
I cooked on a wood stove. That was something brand new to me. My refrigerator was my basement. It was cold down there. My husband brought milk home every night since that would not keep.
I survived. Those were some of the best days of my life. I was a mom with two small children. My husband worked hard so we had enough to eat. My in-laws shared their garden with us. I canned and froze what I could.
Even then, I gave thanks. Today, I am retired. I have traveled all over the world. Now, I am thankful to be at home. I read, play games on my computer, and do quite a lot of cooking that I gladly share with others. I will give thanks for all of the things the Lord has given me.
He has given me good health so I can continue to do for others. I have a home to live in and plenty of food. I have a family who loves me. I am truly blessed.
Ann R. Swanson Russell, Pa. Contact at firstname.lastname@example.org.