Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

December 3, 2013

OLD UNCLE GIB: A land of abundant harvests

By Old Uncle Gib
Chronicle correspondent

CROSSVILLE — The Chronicle of November 18, 1903, had an interesting note that seemed appropriate for the Thanksgiving week. “Judge Hamby being an early riser found a pheasant in the courthouse Saturday morning. He chased it upstairs where he succeeded in capturing it alive. It was likely blown in there during the wind and rain storm of Friday night. The Judge gave the bird to County Clerk Rose who dined off it.”

This is one of those times when doing research reminds me that I'm old. The history of Thanksgiving used to be simple. Pilgrims came to North America on the Mayflower in 1620, were met by friendly natives who saved their bacon by teaching them how to cultivate the land, and in November, 1621, they shared a huge meal together. Now when you try to look up the history of Thanksgiving you are met with all kinds of versions and you get so confused you could cook your whole meal and eat it before you could figure out which story you want to adopt.

One Internet site gave some interesting statistics. The first Thanksgiving was attended by 53 English colonists and 90 Wampanoag Native Americans. The Native Americans brought five deer for the celebration. In addition they had swan, goose, lobster, turkey, corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes and pumpkin (not pie.) Reportedly there are now 46 million turkeys eaten at Thanksgiving, with nearly 88% of Americans eating turkey for this meal.

We live in a land of abundant harvests. We feed not only our nation, but other nations as well. Most of us can walk into a dark room and switch on the electricity. We can turn a faucet on in our homes and have clean running water. We have an oven to cook our turkey in, and a refrigerator to save the left-overs. If we forgot the cranberry sauce we can jump into our vehicle and run to town and pick some up.

Most homes will have their television going all day and into the night with the parades and then one football game after another. Some will be on their X-Box shooting at everything that moves across the screen. Some will be out hunting all day long trying to get that twelve-point buck they dreamed about. Some will just nap in their favorite chair. The ability to do what you choose is something that has been given us by those who have, and are serving in our military to protect our freedoms.

Two definitions of the word “Thanksgiving” are the expression of gratitude to God; and the act of giving thanks. There are certainly few nations around the world that have more reason to be thankful than America. Again, being an old person, I'm thankful to God. How many of us will join hands and take the time to say, “Thank You, God, for all you have provided for our family and our nation”?