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Wherein you will find posts with humor, photos, reviews, occasional rants and journalistic entries of interest to me alone but that I hope will touch you, the reader, in some way. I remain sincerely yours,
A Work in Progress

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Thanksgiving Retrospective

Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow.  ~Edward Sandford Martin
I can't believe the holidays are so rapidly approaching.  This time next week I will be among my family, enjoying being among them, eating together, laughing, playing, and chatting.  There will be other family and friends, farther away, doing the same thing and we will be missing them even as we enjoy our day.  Phone calls will be made and long distance love expressed early in the day and wonder of wonder the Patriots are playing this year!  Thanksgiving is my very favorite time of the year.  While I could very easily write another thankful post, I thought it would be fun to post a retrospective instead.  I hope you enjoy my trip down memory lane.

This is Thanksgiving 1965.  My Mom, at the head of the table, will be a mom to twins in 3 months.  Aunt Patsy, who passed away from breast cancer a couple of years back is in the peach top, Uncle Mike, the youngest next to her.  On the other side of the table, the skinny guy?  That's my Dad and my Nana next to him.  The house, also gone now,  was "Our House", my grandparents summer home in West Hyannisport.  There are few places in the world that I have loved more.
Jumping ahead a few years, here we all are at "Our House" again.  Circa 1978 I think.  You can tell by the outfits.  I think this is the year our dog at the chocolate turkey favors Mom bought.  All of them.  I am on the right in the fancy brown boots and groovy top.

In the days before digital we weren't able to share photos among each other like we do now.  Many Thanksgiving photos are lost or elsewhere but the memories of each I hold so very dear.   
Skipping ahead,  Here is my Mother reading one of my very favorite Thanksgiving books to Rowan, Mousekin's Thanksgiving, maybe 1997?

   Once married we spent alternating holidays with Mike's family.  There were wonderful Thanksgivings and and after an hour I was able to find this photo.  It is Rowan and her Grandparents at Great Grandma's house.  Maybe 1998?  Somewhere I have a wonderful group photo of all of us at another Thanksgiving there but I couldn't, for the life of me, find it!  It was on my refrigerator for years.

Here is Rowan at her pre-school Thanksgiving pageant in 1999.
 And again in 2000,  Jenna was 2 months old at the time.
Big jump in time now, I seem to be missing a box of photographs.  This is one of my favorite Thanksgiving photos of our girls.  2007 .  We were at Becky and Doug's that year.
Thanksgiving 2008 at my sister's home.  I love this photo because it reminds me of Jenna before she cut her hair, Elaine had french braided it for her.  Her hands were cold and she warmed them on my face.  An improvment from her usual shoving them up my back. 
The picture below encapsulates Thanksgiving at Becky and Doug's, elegant and overflowing with food and love.  My brother in law is a consummate grill king and he brings turkey to a whole new level.
Thanksgiving 2009
Since I was a little girl, no matter how broke we were, holiday tables were special.  There were always favors of some kind, a centerpiece, candles lovely napkins and a tablecloth.  Laid with the good silver and the turkey china that was her mothers, my Mom's holiday table evokes the best kind of memories.

So, Happy Almost Thanksgiving to my loved ones near and far.  I am so very grateful for each of you.
Thanksgiving is the holiday of peace, the celebration of work and the simple life... a true folk-festival that speaks the poetry of the turn of the seasons, the beauty of seedtime and harvest, the ripe product of the year - and the deep, deep connection of all these things with God.  ~Ray Stannard Baker


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

On Becoming a Reader

 Today's gratitude post: I am thankful for my love of reading.  Part of the Fall into Reading 2010 challenge are weekly questions on Callapidder days.   This week's question was, How did you get into reading?  When and how/why did you really become “a reader”?  Good question.

I honestly don't remember not being a reader. I am certain that there was a time before which I couldn't read, but I don't recall it. I only know that I have always been a reader. 

My Mom read to us a lot.  At Christmas, Cranberry Christmas, The Mole Family Christmas, Mousekin's Christmas Eve and others.   Easter meant The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes and Tippity Witchit at Halloween.   Always she would read to us from the magical, My Book House set.   They were filled with stories of brownies and fairies, poems and sonnets and folk tales from around the world.  Adventures and classics filled the pages of the "older" books in the set and these were the books I grew up devouring.    These were the books I first remember and they were magical. 
  Good children's literature appeals not only to the child in the adult, but to the adult in the child.

Holling C. Holling books Mom loved and read to us, the illustrations kept us engaged through some of the more lengthy passages.    We had books coming from our Weekly Reader book club to read and love.  Miss Suzy, Miss Twiggly's Tree, and Jerome I remember and still have.  The memory blurs whether I read these or Mom read them to me or both. It matters not.
Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.  ~ Emilie Buchwald 
 I  recall being a reader in the first grade.   I brought my Grandmother's childhood edition of Robin Hood to school with me and that mean old Mrs. Norris took it away and sentenced me to that reading purgatory, the Dick and Jane books.  I had nothing against Dick and Jane, or Baby or Spot but as my reading skills were, shall we say, quite a bit past them, I began my school career bored silly.
I read everywhere.  I still do.  I read in the bathtub,  I read on the bus,  I read at the table when I could get away with it and I am still looking for a way to read in the shower.  I used to put my books, my cat and some snacks in a basket, climb my tree, haul them up to me and camp out there for the day.
 The library at my elementary school was one of my favorite places.  It was here I discovered the Childhood of Famous Americans series.  I credit these books for my passion for history and I read every single one at least twice.  Here also lived the Twins books by Lucy Fitch Perkins, Nancy Drew and Laura Ingalls Wilder.
When I became proficient at riding my bike, I would ride to the local libraries and stock up for the week.  I had cards to at least 5 libraries.  At these places, I discovered authors.  I found Louisa May Alcott and began my lifelong habit of reading everything an author wrote when I found one I liked.  Indian Captive was riveting.  I never did like Alice in Wonderland but I adored Oz.  Unlike now, I didn't actually own very many books.  But on my shelf and beloved were ones my parents bought me, Little Women, The Secret Garden, The Chronicles of Narnia and The Little House boxed set.  
I still have them all.  I remember vividly on one of our only family vacations we went to Mystic Seaport.  The souvenir I brought home was a beautiful copy of Ozma of Oz

Older and working my first job,  I had income and that meant I could buy my own books.  I joined my very first book club.  The Science Fiction book club.  My first box of free ones came and I was off and running in whole new directions.  The Dragonriders of Pern, Amber, The Adept series, the Spellsinger, The Dragon and the George, Darkover, Robert Heinlein literally gave me new worlds to play in.  
Classes in high school and friends who shared common interests nurtured my passion for the genre.  High school also brought me William Shakespeare and the incomparable Alice Williams, who inspired a life long passion for the Bard and his works.  A passion for which I will be forever thankful. 
I have good reason to be content, for thank God I can read and perhaps understand Shakespeare to his depths. ~ John Keats ~
 Show me the books he loves and I shall know the man far better than through mortal friends.
~ Dawn Adams ~ 
Fantasy was the genre I camped out it for the longest time and remains my favorite, the closest to my heart.  This was the genre that brought me the worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S.Lewis and J.K. Rowling and David Eddings.  It has taken me there and back again with friends that are indelibly stamped in my imagination.  These are the books that make me laugh and cry, wonder and ponder, books that are written with archetypes so common to our condition and themes so central to our lives that they became a part of who I am.
No ending can be right, because it shouldn't be over at all. The magic is not supposed to go away. ~Stephen King on Deathly Hallows

I am also a reader to educate myself, to become a better person, to help educate my children and because I have a passion for learning. I love history books, biographies that help me understand history better and commentaries. I love books about art, literature and music. I love poetry and essays. I always have a stack of this sort of book both by my chair and next to my bed.
I am a reader to further my relationship with God and by doing so live better and more fully.  My Bible, various devotionals and studies are the first part, the middle part and the last part of my days.
To get the full flavor of an herb, it must be pressed between the fingers, so it is the same with the Scriptures; the more familiar they become, the more they reveal their hidden treasures and yield their indescribable riches.  ~ John Chrysostom

As to particular hows and whens I am at a loss.
But I do know that I am, a Reader.

All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you; the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse, and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was.
~ Ernest Hemingway ~


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