Giving thanks and being thankful – memories of Thanksgivings past

Posted By | November 30, 2017 7:28 am

Playl’s Ponderings – By Steve Playl     

So, how was YOUR Thanksgiving Day? Did you eat too much turkey and fixins’? Did you have the wonderful privilege of spending time with family? Friends? Both? Maybe you had to work? Or perhaps you got a head start on “Black Friday?” Did you spend hours in front of the TV watching parades, football, and Charlie Brown?

My memory bank is rich with recollections of Thanksgivings past. Many of those memories involve things we don’t do much anymore.

For example, have you ever been to a high school football game on Thanksgiving Day? For many years, in many places, the Thanksgiving Day game was a huge tradition and rivalry. As a sixth-grader, I rode in the back seat of the Oldham’s sedan with my best friend, Johnny Oldham, to Hopkinsville, Kentucky, to watch our Madisonville Maroons take on the “Hoptown” Tigers in the final game of the season. There were no playoffs back then.

On the return trip, we celebrated the whole 30-something- mile drive up US 41. MHS had completed an undefeated season, making them the state champions. During the game, it had started snowing. By the time Mr. Oldham dropped me off at our little farm on Laffoon Trail, the fields were covered with the white stuff.

That afternoon I tromped through the fields, rabbit hunting, while Mother finished cooking turkey and dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, cranberry sauce out of a can, and I don’t know what all. Don’t worry; no rabbits were harmed in the production.

Next day was the traditional Christmas parade down Main Street of my hometown. Those days were, truly, “Pre-Black Friday.” People began their Christmas shopping after the parade, but there wasn’t a fancy name for the day, or stores open at midnight, or fights over a certain sale item. There was no such thing as “the big box stores.”

But the parade was always exciting. There were, literally, dozens of high school marching bands and hundreds of floats. A couple of years later, I rode a float our Boy Scout troop put together. Our Indian (Native American) dance team danced around on a flatbed trailer, and I froze my feathers off! I still have pictures to prove it, too. For years, my father rode his white, Tennessee Walking Horse at the front of the procession, carrying the American flag. His was the only equestrian entry that was not confined to the rear of the parade. In later years, I watched the parade from the rooftop of a Main Street business…with a bunch of other teenaged boys.

There are also a boat load of memories of giving thanks in church services, on Thanksgiving morning, with all the choirs at First Baptist Church, from Cherubs to the Sanctuary Choir, and years later in Bristol, of the Ministerial Association service, which was hosted by various churches each year – memories of delivering groceries to those who needed a little help, ringing a bell for the Salvation Army, and on and on we could continue down memory lane. Just being, and sharing, with those we love creates the greatest of memories.

All of these and many more memories accompany us “…into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise…” Although it is now 360-something days until the next official Thanksgiving Day holiday, we should “…be thankful unto Him, and bless His name!”… EVERY day… “For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting; and His truth endureth to all generations.”

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