The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
Greetings to everyone in western Illinois. I'm a hope'n everyone is well prepared for Thanksgiving. It is a wonderful time of year.
What was it like sixty years ago or more on the farm this time of year when men folk would cock their heads, squint at the sky, sniff the rising wind and look for "fall'in" weather?
Barn lofts were full and heavy with hay. Corn cribs strained at their foundations full of shucked corn and oats in the overhead bins. Silos "stomped" full to their peak had the pleasant aroma of fermentation.
Our root cellars that breathed musty through the long summer now gave off the sweet smells of hard-ripe apples, winter pears, pumpkins, newly dug potatoes, onions, squash, cider and other garden produce.
Ma's pantry was a personal warehouse of kitchen canned beans, corn and tomatoes, fruits from the orchard and vine. Jams and jellies were ready for yeast bread, biscuit, and hot cakes.
Today were are blessed with life lines of surfaced roads, telephone, (cell and landline) computers, internet, electricity, cars, rural free delivery and regular trips to town etc, etc. Much different than years ago when winter bore the onus of loneliness and solitude.
As temperatures dropped and the thermometer lowered with glowering skies, our activities shrank from "total" use of all outdoors to a restricted and unending circle: house to shed to barn to hen house, the snow told the paths day after day that the same big, medium, and little overshoes the family followed to go about their appointed tasks.
Dure'n this season, years ago, life began and ended at home. Fond memories were established. No longer restricted by the urgent pressure of field work the farmer now had time to recondition his machinery, clean up his shop, inventory the tool house, and help the missus around the house by repaper'n the parlor, work'n over some woodwork, and a gett'n around to this and that a "holler'in fix'in".
Back then winter was feed'n time for the farmer's wife. She fed the family, fed the stoves, and fed her flock of chickens. This was "a short horse soon curried" however after summer's gardening, canning, raise'n young stock, and help'n pa in the field.
Older children are now in school with pure respite for ma. As babies twitter over their toys on the sunny side of the kitchen Ma plied her needle through quilt patches, clothes, and fresh linens. She would crochet yards of cotton into bedspreads, and knit up balls of wool into socks and mittens.
Unbelievable as it may seem today she yet had time to visit through many an hour with her neighbor over the ridge and her friend down the road.
When the children walked home from school, the neighbor or relative stops by for a visit, or pa comes in to warm up from winter chores, she always has something good to eat for them. Fresh pie, cookies of all sorts, some fruit-she would never allow a visitor to leave without a snack!
After the children warm up from hikes home from school she sends them out to do their even'n chores. The boys work the livestock, feed'n the cows, hogs, help'n with milk'n, fill the kindl'n box, and bring'n in a load of firewood. The girls help with milk'n, tease the boy's, set the supper table, and lay out the dishes. Mother is a good teacher for many of the future responsibilities the girls must learn. Likewise father is as well for the boys.
Both ma and pa set a good example for a strong work ethic, their faith, morality, church responsibilities, and family togetherness.
Thankfulness is not clothing just for a season. Something to wear awhile and then pack it away. It's not meant just to decorate our holiday but it is a garment we should wear daily.
It's color becomes brighter as we use it more and will not fade. The fabric of thankfulness will not weaken with wear.
Thankfulness can not be purchased for a price, is patterned by one's circumstances, and is fashioned to the style of life's design.
"If one should give me a dish of sand and tell me there are particles of iron it, I might look for them with my eyes, and search for them with my clumsy fingers, and be unable to detect them; but let me take a magnet and sweep through it, and how would it draw to itself the almost invisible particles by the mere power of attraction. The unthankful heart, like my fingers in the sand, discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day, and as the magnet finds iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessing, only the iron in God's sand is gold". (Henry Ward Beecher)
Let us be thankful that there is still sunshine, that we can still glimpse the blue of the sky, and in our onward way, continue to look up. Let us be thankful for kin and friends with kindly smile and cheerful words. This is a time for grateful Thanksgiving!
Keep on Smile'n
Catch ya Later