Saturday, November 17, 2018


             Each year, my mother pressured me—months in advance—to return home for Thanksgiving. She knew how to wage “guilt trip warfare” and that’s no understatement. My husband and I worked in the same high school, and the teachers’ union contract demanded that we work the half-day before Thanksgiving. That did not deter my mother at all. She was never deterred. I, on the other hand, was frantic at the thought of leaving after noontime on the day before Thanksgiving—the busiest travel day of the year, especially driving through the Boston to New York/New Jersey corridor. It was bad enough when we were young and childless. Now we had ourselves and our son to contend with. But she would not be moved. The only saving grace was that my brother was coming to dinner too, and I hadn’t seen him in a while.

            When school ended, my husband and I made a mad dash for home, picked up our son, and began the trek to New Jersey. Well before we reached the exit that would take us from the Massachusetts Turnpike into Connecticut, we found ourselves in a long line of traffic. It was to be expected but loathed none the same. My son was listening to music on his headphones, blissfully unaware of our fuming up front. As we inched along, I wanted nothing so much as to turn around and head back home, but we kept on creeping along until finally, many hours later, we pulled into the driveway of my parents’ New Jersey house.

            We were exhausted, mentally and physically. Getting up at 5:30 AM, working a half-day and then driving over seven hours in bumper-to-bumper traffic, the last thing we felt like doing was making small talk. We needed to eat dinner, then crash. Fortunately, my mother had cold cuts in the refrigerator, so we made ourselves sandwiches and tried to unwind. Did I mention that my parents were frugal? Perhaps not. Well, there was one television in their home and it was in their bedroom. So, watching any shows was out of the question. We listened to my mother criticize our school for making us work that morning and tried to explain that it was a union thing…not to be trifled with.

You might be wondering where my father was, since I haven’t once mentioned him. That’s because he always managed to hide himself away, usually upstairs watching television in the bedroom or, at other times of the day, reading the newspaper. He never tried to argue with mother. I guess he had figured long ago that it would be a losing proposition.

            Thanksgiving Day dawned. I could hear my mother busy in the kitchen. We had to take turns taking showers because there was one usable bathroom. There was a second half-bath, but no one was allowed to use it because my father had stamps from his collection drying in it. That’s another way my Dad managed to escape my mother’s demands: he would go down to the cellar and work on his stamp collection. He’d been collecting since he was a young boy, and his stamp albums took up an entire wall. Friends and acquaintances gave him envelopes with foreign stamps on them, and he would use the downstairs bathroom to soak the stamps off the envelopes. Just opening the door would cause dried-out stamps to flutter all around the tiny bathroom.

            My brother arrived around noon, bringing with him his latest girlfriend. She was, for lack of a better word, a bimbo—not too bright, dressed as if she were going clubbing, but drop-dead gorgeous. Introductions were made, and my husband and I sat down in the living room with my brother and his girlfriend. At some point my brother went into the kitchen to check on dinner. All of a sudden, I heard him exclaim, “What? Seven pounds? You bought a seven-pound turkey to feed all of us?”

            My father appeared on the scene at that point. “We don’t like leftovers,” he explained.”

I was aghast! “Dad, a seven-pound turkey can barely feed us, let alone the rest of you.”

            My brother came back into the living room. “Let’s go out somewhere,” he said. My husband and I were only too happy to comply.

            “We’re going to eat in another hour,” my mother yelled from the kitchen. “Where are you going? Nothing’s open.”

            “We’ll probably stop at a bar somewhere and get a drink.” I smirked as I said this, knowing, in advance, what her reaction would be.

            “A bar? Who goes to a bar on Thanksgiving? Don’t be late for dinner.”

            We piled into our car, me, my husband, my brother and his girlfriend (for the life of me, I can’t recall her name.) My brother remembered a bar near our old high school, so we headed in that direction. After we had finished our drinks, we headed back home. Did I mention my husband was driving? Well he was. Did I mention that he was the world’s worst driver? Well, he was. Anyway, he wasn’t paying attention (as usual) and came within a centimeter of rear-ending the car in front of us. He slammed on the brakes. I was seat belted in but was thrown forward and was very shocked. And from the back seat, I heard, “Oh no, I think I broke a nail!” (It doesn’t matter that I can’t remember her name because I never saw her after that day.)

            We managed to arrive back in time so that we didn’t annoy my mother, and she served up a lovely seven-pound turkey dinner to seven people. No turkey sandwiches for us this year. That was when I decided: this is it. From now on, my parents can come up to my house for Thanksgiving. They’re retired. They don’t have to wait for the day before Thanksgiving to set out on the trip. I felt a great weight lift from my shoulders, and I gave thanks for my dysfunctional family.


©Alice Magrane - Sun City Writers Workshop - Las Vegas, NV.

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Friday, November 16, 2018


Giving thanks to gods or god for good harvest has been our way, always.  Rulers were blamed for crop failures, famine, government collapse, errant dynasties.  Good harvests were sources of pride, bragging rights by rulers taking considerable credit for good fortunes, the gods pleased with the rulers’ actions and deeds. 

A little history, Egypt was the “bread basket” of the fertile Nile Valley, a source of pride for ancient Egyptians. It was almost certainly the easy agricultural economy that allowed Egypt the sophistication of a ruling empire.  Harvest is late March, early April there but crops can be planted most any time, usually based on the Nile overflow for the nutritious silt.  Floods occurred in mid-August and dams allowed the enriched mud deposits to soak deep into the soil. October land would be solid enough to plant and rites of blessing occurred.  King Scorpion practiced a symbolic inauguration of breaking the earth and sowing grain. This ritual symbolized burial of Osiris who died by Seth but came to life to thank his wife, Isis. Grain was Osiris symbol.

The workers did all the harvest while the privileged ruling groups enjoyed the rewards.  However, the ruling parties allowed celebrations of good harvest with all peoples in the way of food, wine, beer, dancing, lights, singing, and other celebrations.

Though we today do not participate in crop planting, harvesting, storage and maintenance of any and all animal husbandry we in our taxes pay in some allowance to have these foods provided to us.  We are an extremely privileged people in most of the civilized world.  We put very little effort into the nourishment we are provided with. 

We are relieved from much work in preparing a meal for our loved ones. Still, it is an amount of effort in planning and preparation upon a cook’s part. The best part of such a gathering meal is when all invited cook together, contributing the efforts of a team ethic, the joy of being together to enjoy the final product.

Our family’s best memories of seasonal family gatherings are of all of us prepping, chopping, dicing, sifting, stirring, combining, cooking foods, talking, kibitzing, joking, laughing, hugging, holding…it is the being together that is the golden seasoning of all such occasions, the true spice of life, the gossamer threads of forever memories of all that is good, all that should be honored and revered.

In this season of gratitude, in every season of giving thanks, I wish peace to all everywhere.  My mind holds all of you in the lesser times of fallow spirits and camaraderie but to all everywhere, my mind sends love for I am thankful that our earth houses us, holds us in the very frail spin of our gravity in our universe.  Thank you one and all for your spirit and energy….you all contribute to a world without end.

 ©Geri Bedrosian - President of the Summerlin's Writers and Poets Workshop - Las Vegas, NV.


Thursday, November 15, 2018


When the second Pilgrim ship landed on “Dodge Rock” in the year 1622, they were   greeted by the American Indian tribe called Wampanoag. Their chief Massasoit and Zero Mendal who was leader of the second settlement became in time good friends.

The Indian harvest of 1622  was a yearly celebration for the Wampanoag.  Zero was happy to share in this celebration with Chief Massasoit and designated this celebration as “Thank Goodness”, since it arrived just in time before they all starved to death.

Zero: “Welcome your Highness King Massasoit” he said as he bows in respect. What brought you here today?  I am very upset as you can see, we traded you many of our fine goods for seeds that failed to grow. We are now starving and have nothing to contribute to this celebration.”

Chief: “Did you water and fertilize crops like we instructed?”

Zero: “What’s wrong, the river was too far away from our settlement. Everyone was too weak from starvation to carry buckets of water. What happened to the rain you promised us?
 And what kind of fertilizer did you suggest, buffalo chips, not on my crops.”

Chief:  “Those buffalo chips are imported from the western lands. We trade them for many wampom with the tribes who roam and live on the western plains. Your crops will thrive on them.”

As a standby to this conversation, Count Guniff interrupts, “Chief, my name is Count Horacio Guniff, I am very interested in this new fertilizer and maybe you and I can come to some kind of business arrangement.”

Zero: “Stay out of this Count, I’m in charge of this settlement.”

Chief: “We come with big harvest celebration. We come to share our bountiful harvest and hunt. We brought turkey, deer, and lobster, along with many kinds of vegetables, corn, and fruits.”

Zero: “What kind of Turkey?”

Chief: “There is only one kind of turkey on tribal land.”

Zero: “What I mean, is it a Butterball or Kosher, I heard a Kosher turkey is really the best?  Did your medicine man make a blessing over the Turkey?”

Chief: “Me no understand.”

Zero: “What about stuffing, you can’t have a “Thank Goodness” turkey without stuffing.”

Chief: “Stuffing, what does stuffing mean? Is this an insult? This is one hell of a prized turkey? Insults about our turkey, we now go home!”

Zero: “No, don’t go, it’s only a Puritan joke.”

Chief: “What is a joke?”

Count: “Come over here Chief, how many of those Turkey can you supply me and what about something they call Tobacco. We both can become very rich shipping them back to Europe. You get what I mean?”

Chief: “What does white man mean by the word rich?” I have plenty of food and many wives. I don’t need to get rich.”

Zero: “You, Count leave the Chief alone and get the Pilgrims to start the fires and prepare the table for our guests. If you mention one more time about special deal with the Chief, you will be removed and locked in the stockade post for the duration of the celebration.”

Chief: “Our tribe has plenty of these buffalo chips to trade, not only a good fertilizer, good to make camp fires and good in winter to warm your feet under blankets. I know Europeans will be very happy to receive such a good trade. We heard from other settlement traders what they call whiskey. We want to learn how to make this whiskey, we trade you for whiskey.”

Zero: “Chief we are Puritans we do not indulge in strong drink. Now, we do like wine for our religious ceremony and maybe a gourmet dinner once in a blue moon. We make wine from grapes and crush them with our feet in a large vat.”

Chief: “Smelly feet, me no like already. You take buffalo chips as trade and I give you plenty of grapes and tobacco.”

The second Thanksgiving (really Thanks Goodness) was a success, it saved the Pilgrim starvation in the winter months with all the turkey leftovers. They were the first to invent the Doggie Bag, as they visited each Indian camp and shared their celebration and this helped stave off their starvation diet.”

Count Guniff struck the first commerce deal with the Indians to ship products from “Dodge Rock” to Europe. Everything they sent was welcomed with open arms except the buffalo chips. In recent times archaeologist were excavating the original settlement came upon several buildings with large quantities of petrified Buffalo Chips. This was a complete mystery to the scientific community, since herds of Buffalo were not common in this area of the country. 

However, among the official documents discovered in a metal lock box during their excavation, were authorizations return papers issued by Horacio Guniff Enterprises for the return of ten tons of Buffalo Chips from several British firms.

“We now wish you a very Happy Thank Goodness!"


Copyright 2018 Summerlin’s Writers and Poets Workshop, Las 
Vegas, NV. Founder of the Summerlin's Writers Workshop and past president of Sun City Writers Workshop.

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(Five-year-old Caleb is a temporary ward of Father Alexis Busch, a parish priest, and Stella, his housekeeper, until they find a family to adopt him. The local convent wants Caleb as their token New York orphan who arrived on the notorious orphan train.)

Chapters posted on
Thanksgiving, November 30, 1899
On a chair propped with a pillow between Stella and Emma, Caleb faces three sisters-in-brown like Mother Superior. She sits across a long table from Father. She says, “Father Busch, it is indeed an honor to share our Thanksgiving meal with you and friends. Too bad Mrs. Sturgis and more of our sisters couldn’t join us, but our patients require twenty-four-hour care. If you would be so kind to give thanks to God for our food.”

…Father reads without a book. Caleb sits in a tug boat on the way to New York, the Hudson River, and across the ocean to Nana’s real home.

“I hope I didn’t violate some time-honored tradition by having our cook carve the turkey in the kitchen.” She turns to a closed door and talks loud. “Now, if our resident volunteers would be so kind as to serve our food.”

… Big-people orphans? Ask Stella later.

“I’m disappointed Mrs. Sturgis was unable to come.” Mother Superior’s eyes find Emma. “It’s nice that you could get away from family to join us.”
Emma says, “I take every opportunity that comes along.”

“Of course.” Mother Superior lowers her eyes to her plate. “God works in mysterious ways.”

“Mystery solved.” Emma sips coffee from the cup. “Betty Sturgis and I are both against putting Caleb in your new orphanage. Her mind might be easier to manipulate than mine.”

Father says, “I apologize for dragging our local politics into your presence. I hope after dinner you will show us the facility in progress.”

Mother Superior’s face pops back up. “We received some exciting news from the bishop just yesterday.” She looks from Father to everyone at the table, her eyes stopping at Caleb.

Busts the dam that Stella made in his mashed potatoes. Gravy spills all over his red berries. Takes bite of turkey.
Nana says, “Turkey is special for Thanksgiving. Maybe a sip of Jesus’ wine.”

…Tongue doesn’t like turkey. Not any wine that tastes like Jesus. In church, only Father drinks Jesus’ wine. People eat bread without apple butter and strawberry jelly.

Emma asks, “Does the exciting news have anything to do with your orphanage?”

“As a matter of fact, yes.” Mother Superior’s eyes stay on Emma. 

“The official opening date is still scheduled for the Feast of Christ’s Circumcision, but the bishop will allow us to accept a few orphans on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.”
“And, according to the calendar ordinary people use?”
…Emma doesn’t like Mother Superior.

Mother Superior smiles. “Emma, ordinary Catholics would understand that we can accept orphans on December eighth, and the dedication of the orphanage will occur January first of the new year.”

…Mother Superior doesn’t like Emma.

“Will your facilities be completed that soon?” Father pushes his empty plate away.

“We’ll use the new wing added to the sisters’ dormitory. Perhaps God will deliver both populations, orphans and novitiates, with increased numbers.” Her eyes find Stella. “More vocations to meet the need of increasing numbers of orphans.”

Emma says, “God sends orphans by the train load, much faster than girls with vocations.”

“Couples like Hank and Besty Sturgis could serve as volunteer grandparents, something we could discuss if she were with us.”

“Instead of the thorn in your side?” Emma smiles. “I believe the image is Biblical.”

“One thorn does not a crown make.” Looks back at Stella. “We may reconsider your vocation, especially since you will have experience working with an orphan.”

Father says, “Take away Stella, my housekeeper?”
“Let God do the calling. We can only facilitate.”
“God will tell Stella what is in her heart.”
“God talks to Nana?”

“I believe Nana…” Mother Superior’s eyes find Caleb, “The boy’s real grandmother, cooperated with God’s plan when she saved Caleb’s life. Through her, we will have our first God-sent orphan.” 

She faces Father. “You’ll still have a full week to have the child adopted. Be advised, Harrington has ten times the potential for enlightened parents than Bovine will ever have.” Her eyes find Caleb. “If you could have one wish, what would it be?”
“To drive the horse on the way home.”

Mother Superior makes Nana’s sour lemons face.
Father whispers to the ceiling, “Oh, that my wish were that easy to achieve.”
Whispers to Stella. “Will Papa let me drive?”

Papa says, “Yes, we can manage with the boy until the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.”
…Caleb is happy.

Emma glances at Sister-in-Brown. “Just one of God’s many feasts.”
…Emma is funny.

©Roger Storkamp - Summerlin's Writers and Poets Workshop - Las Vegas, NV,

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Wednesday, November 14, 2018


I remember a special Thanksgiving about 50+ years ago. My husband, Dennis and I decided to host the family get-together for the first time. We lived in a small apartment with our four children in the back of our building. It's funny, it never occurred to me then - that the apartment was small' it was our home, and I was happy. I was also proud of the big turkey that we had wrestled out of the plastic wrapper at 5:30 that morning. Dennis and I stuffed it with plenty of chopped fried chicken livers, and onions and celery and spices and bread-cubes-why the bird overflowed by the time we struggled to put int the oven!

By then, all four of our offspring has woken up and we had a quick breakfast of dry cereal before the TV Thanksgiving parades came on; that kept the children busy. Then, Dennis peeled lots of potatoes, I made cranberry sauce, we worked to lengthen the table, gathered every chair including the piano bench, and set the table for 17, that was all we could fit in! I had baked several pies; apple, pumpkin, and mince-meat (my favorite) the day before and I whipped a pint of cream and added powdered sugar and put it in the refrigerator for later. 

By now, the house smelled wonderfully! We hurriedly got ourselves and the children ready for the company, which would arrive momentarily. At 1:00 O'clock the car loads of family arrived. My uncle Elko brought two 6-packs of exotic beers which he placed in a snow bank by the our back door. "That should keep them cold!" he said, happy to add to the party atmosphere. My grandma, parents, my brother and sister, my aunt and uncle and my cousins had arrived on time. Now, our task was to serve the meal we had prepared! As I went into the kitchen to get the food, I noticed a man in the deep snow outside. By the time I realized hat he was stealing the beer which my uncle had so lovingly hidden, it was too late.

Our guests sat down and Dennis and I led the group in prayer, "Oche Nash", Our Father, in Ukrainian. We suddenly realized that all the places were filled at the table AND there was no room for us, the hosts! I stood at one end of the table, Dennis stood at the other end and we smiled, realizing that nobody had noticed. So, we helped pass the dishes from one person to another. It wasn't too long before the littlest children had finished eating so we cleared their plates, rinsed them off and sat down to our first Thanksgiving at our home. It was delicious, and a secret we kept for many years. 
My uncle was very concerned about the stolen beer and he talked about it for many Thanksgivings to come! 

So, goes life!!

Memories of Thanksgiving past have faded from our thoughts, except for November 25, 1965: our only son was born on that day. That's one special day I won't forget. He was taken from us by cancer in 2014, too young, too full of life, too special. My Dennis will not be here for the first Thanksgiving in 60 years. It will not be the same, the turkey won't smell as glorious, the cranberry sauce won't be as sweet. And I will not be the young mother with four children and a handsome husband- except for in my dreams.

Thanksgiving is a special day of thanking God for the harvest, we had and have a bountiful harvest of love and treasured memories to ponder.

God bless us, everyone.

© October 27, 2018 Ann Kmit - Waverly Writers Workshop

Former Vice President of the Sun City Writers Workshop - Las Vegas, NV.

Your comments and recommendations are appreciated. Scan down to read several new postings on Thanksgiving. 

'THANKSGIVING DAY' Poem by Adrienne Crawford

The reason for living.
To give thanks for all you have.

Be grateful that you can laugh.
Be at peace with all you know.
Recognize where you must go
To help your fellow man.

Show that you truly can
Be a light in this earth.
Know your life should have worth.
And having a right attitude
Takes you up to a altitude.

Where your blessings can be counted.
On the wings you have mounted.

To seek the heaven above.
Where God dwells in love.
So be thankful for the life you live.

To you He gave so you can give
To others that you know.

So they will be all aglow.

© Adrienne Crawford - Summerlin's Writers and Poets Workshop - Las Vegas, NV.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

'THANKSGIVING DAY' Submission by Ann Kmit



Once upon a time, there was a little boy named Sam. Sam had a big problem. Thanksgiving was coming, and his mother and father had arranged to go to grandmas’ house for dinner but . . . Sam said crossly, “I’m not going!”

“Why not?” his father asked.

“I want to play with my new Wii game, that’s why!” Sam whined.

“You’ll see all your cousins,” his mother said hopefully.

“Cousins, smudgeons, I’m not going.” he was becoming surly.

Father said, “Sam, I’ve had enough of your selfish attitude. You are going and that’s final.” 

The next day, they went to the dinner. Sam was a sourpuss, sitting by himself with his arms folded across his chest -- while his cousins played games happily.

Grandpa sat in the living room, tapping his pipe and observing the children. He asked. “Do you know why we celebrate Thanksgiving, Sam?”

“No, I don’t,” said a bored voice.

“Well now, in 1620 a small group of people, the Pilgrims left Europe because they wanted to be free.”

Sam’s ears perked up because he wanted to be free too.

“They crossed the mighty Atlantic ocean on a rickety wooden ship named the ‘Mayflower.’”

“Were pirates after them?” Sam asked as his cousins gathered round to listen to grandpa.

“No, but when they settled in this new land, they nearly died of starvation. You see, they didn’t know how to live off the land.” Grandpa lit his pipe; little swirls of smoke rose to the ceiling.

“Then what happened?” Sam wondered.

“It was the native Indians who helped the Pilgrims. They taught them how to plant seeds so children like you could harvest big orange pumpkins in the fall. They showed the settlers how to set traps so they could catch wild turkeys. Food was plentiful if you knew what to do.”

Puff, puff went grandpa’s pipe. “Why, this dinner we’re going to have today is to remind us of all the good things that happen when people are unselfish and help each other.”

Just then grandma announced, “Dinner’s ready!”

And a fine dinner it was, with turkey, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie for desert.

Sam helped to clear the table afterward, without being asked.

 It was a good day for everyone, especially Sam.


© Ann Kmit - Waverly Writers Workshop - North Oaks, MN.
July 24, 2008
Past Vice President of the Sun City Writers Workshop. 
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