The stores have put away their summer stock and are now decorated in fall's traditional orange and brown. We see paper turkeys and wicker table centers representing the horn of plenty. Greeting cards offer best wishes mixed with thoughts of gratefulness for the season. Soon church altars will be laden with fruit, vegetables and other produce that represent completion of the growing season.
Often I think about stories of the original Pilgrims, dressed in their modest habits. They immigrated to this country and had to make a new start without all the modern conveniences we enjoy.
Our elementary school history books recount tales of bravery and tenacity. With limited tools, lack of social support and little chance of escape, the pioneers cleared land and prepared it for a crop. There weren't any houses to purchase, so they had to build their own, with materials found in the environment.
There was no Welcome Wagon, electricity or plumbing to make things easy. Car dealerships were unheard of - vehicles consisted of a cart pulled by an animal.
The pilgrims couldn't go to the mall to shop when they were bored or needed goods. They made their own clothing - and their own fun. It's probably just as well because there wasn't much money. In fact, commerce usually involved trade. A beaver pelt might be exchanged for groceries or chickens for bullets.
No spa! A bath might be in the cold water at the river. No ordering in for supper - unless you count occurrences when children brought home a bucket of berries which they had picked. No health care! Babies were delivered at home - by whoever was present! No divorce! There was no place to go and no way to survive on your own. No funeral packages! When someone died, - you dug a grave.
If the weather didn't cooperate - there was no recourse. No crop insurance program or home protection packages.
It must have been scary - and lonely - and exhausting.
No wonder they were ready to celebrate when the work was done and there was a harvest to treasure.
Often I hear individuals who complain that they are tired, hungry or sick. How different our lives are from the pioneers. We merely take a sick day, stop at a walk-in Clinic to see the doctor and pick up food at a drive-through on our way home to bed.
Seems to me that we have plenty to be thankful for but need to remember to think about what we have rather than what we don't have.
I hope that this Thanksgiving Day is more than merely a break from your regular activities. It should be a time to develop and enjoy an attitude of gratitude.