Editorial: The table of tradition
Feasting, family and friends, no work — Thanksgiving is a wonderfully simple holiday, heavy on the holiday basics. It is a gathering to be embraced, enjoyed.
Late in autumn, with the leaves nearly all gone and the winds starting to blow chill, Thanksgiving is a celebration — and partaking — of all that the growers of grain and the keepers of beasts have worked for through the long hot months of summer.
It is a harvest feast.
And if some of us who enjoy the plenty are not food producers but desk-bound paper pushers, workers in wood or plastics, cultivators of the realms of substitute electronic realities, caregivers who keep the young in line and old attended to — well, the farmers are productive and generous enough to let us sit down to eat, too.
For Thanksgiving is the time when food and family and plenty are appreciated, honored. And a time of traditions — each family table has its own. The tasty dishes served and shared are, at most tables, an expression of broad national traditions with unique family innovations. Turkey is the traditional centerpiece, of course, but with stuffing from a recipe great-grandma perfected, and passed down — and that the cooks further perfect, and again pass down, as they gather in the kitchen and clang the pots and tend the oven. And if the younger generations have made a few little changes that can be tasted, there may be complements but no one will complain — it’s Thanksgiving.
And with the roasted bird: potatoes, beans, carrots, corn, all of it steaming hot, and bread and butter, and gravy — gravy, oh emperor of pan drippings and corn starch, let there be gravy.
Yes, there are problems in the world, wrongs and darkness.
So gathered families pray, and good people make donations to causes that benefit those who are hungry and cold. Pick your charity, but do not pass over the chance to enrich your day of thankfulness by remembering, and doing something for, those with less.
Giving and sharing are the best ways to set the table for, and enjoy, a wondrous feast. That is a truth as old as the sunrise, and it still dawns true.
And for all life’s difficulties, there are good people who gather around tables and share the love and laughter of families and friends.
For this, let all be thankful.
May the appetite be indulged, the belt loosened a notch, and the good things produced by our rich and generous earth shared, not spared: Fill the bowls! Heap high the plates! Raise a glass, make a toast.
World hunger is a problem. But it can be good to be hungry when it’s time to sit down at the family feast.