Sunday, November 23, 2014


Good Morning, Class of '64
Home to Thanksgiving - George Dunne
So once in every year we throng
Upon a day apart,
To praise the Lord with feast and song
In thankfulness of heart.

Arthur Guiterman
The First Thanksgiving
The First Thanksgiving - Jennie Brownescomb

Sundays with Larry



I’ve always wondered – when an atheist sees a beautiful spring morning with green grass, birds singing, and flowers blooming, who does he thank? Or a beautiful sunset? Or a child at play? And how does an atheist celebrate Thanksgiving? Or does he celebrate Thanksgiving? Just wondering.

We have been told many lies about Thanksgiving. We are told, and we teach in schools, that the founding fathers of the United States were deists at best. But most were Christians. They did not talk about their faith as much as most people do today. They believed that their faith, and feelings, were private and not to be worn on their sleeves.

When the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth, they tried the one for all and all for one approach – from each according to his ability and to each according to his needs. That was in their original contract; they tried socialism. Fifty-one of 103 died that winter. Socialism did not work. It never has.

The next spring, Governor Bradford assigned parcels of land to each of them. They could keep what they raised, or they could trade it to others. The harvest was bountiful, more than enough for everyone. That is why they celebrated the first Thanksgiving. That first Thanksgiving is actually a monument to the power of capitalism and free enterprise.

They gathered to thank God. Here is the order from Governor Bradford:

“All ye Pilgrims with your wives and little ones, do gather at the Meeting House on the hill…there to listen to the pastor, and render thanksgiving to the Almighty God for all His blessings.”

I love the food at Thanksgiving. I enjoy the football. I love being with family. I also take some time to thank God for His many blessings just as the Pilgrims did that first Thanksgiving.

Here’s a poem by Jimmy Dean, the “Big John” man and the sausage man that pretty much says it all about being thankful. Dean said it better than I ever could.

I’m Drinking from My Saucer
Jimmy Dean

I’ve never made a fortune,
and it’s probably too late now,

But I don’t worry about that much; 
I’m happy anyhow.
As I go along life’s journey, 
I’m reaping better than I’ve sowed.
I’m drinking from my saucer 
‘cause my cup has overflowed.

I don’t have a lot of riches, 
and sometime’s the going’s tough.
But I’ve got three kids that love me; 
that makes me rich enough.
And I remember times when things went wrong, 
and my faith got a little bit thin,
But then all at once the dark clouds broke 
and the sun peeped through again.

So, Lord, help me not to gripe 
about the tough rows that I’ve hoed.
I’m drinking from my saucer 
‘cause my cup has overflowed.

And if God gives me strength and courage 
when the way grows steep and rough,
I’ll not ask for other blessings; 
I’m already blessed enough.
And may I never be too busy 
to help another bear his load.
Then I’ll keep drinking from my saucer 
‘cause my cup has overflowed.

May you and yours have 
a blessed Thanksgiving!
Thanksgiving - Jessica Stuntz
Give thanks for unknown blessings 
already on their way. 
Native American Saying

Nothing is more honorable 
than a grateful heart. 

All that we behold is 
full of blessings.
William Wordsworth

O Lord that lends me life,
Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.

William Shakespeare

If you count all your assets, 
you always show a profit. 
Robert Quillen
Catching the Thanksgiving Turkey - Anna Mary Robertson "Grandma Moses"
Around the Thanksgiving holiday, when we were in "Grade School", we would have been coloring mimeographed pictures of squirrels with acorns and maybe some pumpkins and turkeys. There would have been some Pilgrim pictures in the mix and probably an Indian or two. 
We'd have been learning about the Mayflower bringing the Pilgrims to Plymouth Rock, and the huge feast of thanksgiving they had with the Indians. They weren't called Native Americans, back then.
We learned that the Pilgrims had come to America for the freedom to practice their religion as they chose. We weren't taught that they were America's first terrorists as some schools are teaching these days. I know our customs and traditions are being upended for political purposes, but for the life of me I can't figure that one out.
Over the River and Through the Woods is the song we will all remember from those autumn days of long, long ago. Sitting at our desks with that year's songbook open to the page, we sang the best our small voices could sing. As we sang, we rode the sleigh through the snow covered wood and across the bridge to Grandma's house.
"The New-England Boy's Song about Thanksgiving Day", also known as "Over the River and Through the Wood".
It is a Thanksgiving poem by Lydia Maria Child.
Our modern Thanksgiving holiday is not always associated with snow, but New England in the early 19th century was enduring the Little Ice Age. It was very cold, and they had earlier winters.
Over the River and Through the Wood
Lydia Marie Child
Over the river, and through the wood,
To Grandmother's house we go;
the horse knows the way to carry the sleigh
through the white and drifted snow.
Over the river, and through the wood,
to Grandfather's house away!
We would not stop for doll or top,
for 'tis Thanksgiving Day.
Over the river, and through the wood—
oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes and bites the nose
as over the ground we go.
Over the river, and through the wood—
and straight through the barnyard gate,
We seem to go extremely slow,
it is so hard to wait!
Over the river, and through the wood—
When Grandmother sees us come,
She will say, "O, dear, the children are here,
bring a pie for everyone."
Over the river, and through the wood—
now Grandmother's cap I spy!
Hurrah for the fun! Is the pudding done?
Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!
The following verses appear in a "long version":
Over the river, and through the wood,
with a clear blue winter sky,
The dogs do bark, and children hark,
as we go jingling by.
Over the river, and through the wood,
to have a first-rate play.
Hear the bells ring, "Ting-a-ling-ding!",
Hurrah for Thanksgiving Day!
Over the river, and through the wood,
no matter for winds that blow;
Or if we get the sleigh upset
into a bank of snow
Over the river, and through the wood,
to see little John and Ann;
We will kiss them all, and play snow-ball
and stay as long as we can.
Over the river, and through the wood,
trot fast, my dapple-gray!
Spring over the ground like a hunting-hound!
For 'tis Thanksgiving Day.
Over the river, and through the wood,
Old Jowler hears our bells.
He shakes his pow, with a loud bow-wow,
and thus the news he tells.
Larry Groce 
and the
Disneyland Children's 
Sing-Along Chorus
Larry Groce lives in West Virginia and since 1983 has served as the host and artistic director of Mountain Stage, a two-hour live music program produced by West Virginia Public Radio and distributed by NPR. You might remember him for his 1976 novelty song "Junk Food Junkie". It became a Top Ten hit.
But see, in our open clearings, 
how golden the melons lie;
Enrich them with sweets and spices, 
and give us the pumpkin-pie!
Margaret Junkin Preston
I suppose I will die never knowing 
what pumpkin pie tastes like 
when you have room for it. 
Robert Brault
An optimist is a person who starts 
a new diet on Thanksgiving Day.
Irv Kupcinet
Over the River to Grandma's House - Anna Mary Robertson "Grandma Moses"
I awoke this morning with devout
thanksgiving for my friends,
the old and the new.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson
For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
For flowers that bloom about our feet;
For tender grass, so fresh, so sweet;
For song of bird, and hum of bee;
For all things fair we hear or see,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee!

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