Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Good Day to Give Thanks

Up, down,up, down.

The corn beneath my hands seemed to sing as I worked the new wooden grinder my father had made last week. With each thrust of the heavy pole my excitement mounted.

Today was the special one. The last meal of thanksgiving. And the brown men and women were coming again.

Never in my ten years had I witnessed such a bounty of harvest.
Never had I joined with my friends and family in a whole week of feasting.
It was a day to remember, a day to celebrate the goodness of our God, Mother said.

Our God who preserved us through the long journey from England.
Our God who saved some from certain death in the winter months.
Our God who blessed us with wonderful provision.

"Mercy!! Be the samp done yet?"

The mention of my name pulled my mind back to its proper place, and I responded to Mother that no, it was not done yet, but soon. I knew of a truth that soon better not be far away. Mother was not of a mind to tolerate foolishness with so much to do. I was her only daughter, therefore she depended on me. I must finish this corn.

The smell of roast duck permeated our small thatched house, and out the window I saw my elder brother preparing the fish he caught that morning. My hunger grew stronger, and I worked quickly to complete my task.

I gathered the samp, the ground corn, into my apron and took it to Mother. Our bread was so different here in the New World. Unlike our bread of wheat, this bread of corn was thicker, and heavier. Sustaining for the days of hard work in the colony.

The villagers came forth from their houses, carrying food to make ready for our guests. Squash and corn lined the tables, next to the onions and beside the fish my brother and his friends had caught. From a distance our friends, the natives, came to enjoy this last meal of thanks with us. They carried with them deer, something I had never tasted before. It was a good day. A good day for giving thanks.

I carried the roast ducks out to the tables, first one duck, then the other. The bread was placed beside the fowl, and soon both native and colonist sat down to eat and rejoice in surviving a harsh winter, and receiving a successful harvest.

I glanced over at the head table,where the village leaders and the Indian chiefs sat. Such strange head coverings the chief wore. Strange, yet beautiful, with their many feathers. There was the one called Squanto sitting there too. Father said Squanto taught us to plant corn, so we could eat. I was glad, for I knew enough of dire hunger from the winter. I did not want to know it again.

Our heads were bowed as a prayer of thankfulness was offered to God. We ate and talked, and prayed, and ate. The deer meat was better than I supposed it could be. I hoped we would have it more often.

Later that day as my friends and I played games with the Indian children, my mind reflected on the hour upon hour of merriment and brotherhood of knowing dependence on each other and God. It was a day I would never forget.
I knew that. The last day of the feast.

A good day to give thanks.


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