Tuesday, November 15, 2011

November - A Time To Remember

It's still officially fall I guess, but with the leaves quickly falling and Thanksgiving right around the corner (Yikes, that's next week!!) it's almost time to turn the calendar to that last page - and we all know how quickly December will fly by.

Growing up I remember being aware that Thanksgiving was a big darn deal, as important as Christmas if you must know. I'm not sure if this was true for other families, but I believe that it was. Maybe my parents, as part of the generation that grew up during the Depression and fought in World War II, were more sentimental about home and family. They married young and left home to start their own families. Many of them spent years separated from their families while serving in the armed forces far from home. Let's face it, today's young people are more likely to be living at home and delaying marriage.

From Norman Rockwell's iconic Saturday Evening Post cover pictures of families celebrating Thanksgiving, to the ubiquitous "made-for-TV-Coming-Home-For-Thanksgiving" movies, it appears that this uniquely American holiday has more meaning for us that we might like to admit.

It is a holiday that harkens back to our very beginnings as a settlement and later as a nation. It's a holiday that puts us in touch with the agrarian roots of our ancestors, though we've long since stopped growing our own food for the most part. And it is a holiday that is, at its very heart, an acknowledgement of God's grace. As Rebecca Harding Davis puts it, "For, after all, put it as we may to ourselves, we are all of us from birth to death guests at a table which we did not spread.  The sun, the earth, love, friends, our very breath are parts of the banquet.... Shall we think of the day as a chance to come nearer to our Host, and to find out something of Him who has fed us so long?"

I hope I have instilled in my children the importance of remembering, of family and home and of faith. Thanksgiving is not just a day on the calendar as we all know. It is, in fact, a state of mind that can and should be turned into an action word. One thing I do believe is that gratitude is an attitude that grows stronger as we grow older. So there is always hope for the next generation.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Autumn Leaves . . . or Does It?

Wow! Snow in October - from North Carolina to New Jersey and New England. That is what I love about the weather; unless you're a meteorologist by profession or read the Farmers' Almanac religiously, the cliche is true - there is no predicting the weather.

Each year we anticipate the seasons changing, but we can't pin the exact time to a date on the calendar. The early frost or snowfall, the spring ice storm, whether we'll have a white Christmas in the south, when the fall leaves will be at their peak - are all reminders that we don't control the weather.

When I was younger I "had to" watch the weather report on the late news before going to bed. In truth though, the only thing affected by the weather was my commute [which I still had to endure] or my wardrobe choice. But, of course, I grumbled and complained about bad weather like many people do.

These days I don't pay much attention to weather reports, well, unless there is a weather "event" like a hurricane or ice storm predicted.  But really, is there anything I can do to change the weather? Nope. I can find out how hot or cold it is by going out on the back porch to feed the dog. I don't go to many parades or picnics anymore, and I've lived through enough droughts to actually be thankful for rain.

I try to enjoy each day as it comes. I don't [or try not to] complain about the weather. I appreciate all of the seasons, but don't try to anticipate what each will be like or when they will arrive. Of course I have a favorite season; doesn't everyone? Mine is fall. I do love the colors, the cool crisp mornings but still warm afternoons.  The recent October snowfall may signal an early end to autumn in parts of the country, but not in Atlanta. With any luck, I will get to enjoy my favorite season a bit longer, but who knows how much longer? Not I. I can live with that!