Thanksgiving makes one reflective on a life of blessings.
It goes without saying that some things have been such a simple little part of our life that each is not even recognized as the gifts that they are. My eyes were opened to this one recent work day.
We are lucky enough to have three neighborhood Amish brothers, Willie, Mosey and Jakey, help us out with the farm work from time to time. All were busy cleaning and winterizing the big old bank barn.
Doug mentioned that I would be making them sandwiches for lunch.
We take our blessings for granted”Sand? witches?” Mosey, the youngest, asked. “What is that?”
Doug explained that I was making ham and cheese sandwiches.
Still, they all looked at him with blank, curious stares.
“What is this?” the oldest boy, Jakey, asked.
Doug explained and they looked at each other with the excitement of anticipation.
“So, you are saying there is bread, then meat, then cheese too?! And then bread AGAIN?” one of them asked.
Another said, “You cut this meat off of a hog just for us?”
So, not knowing any of this conversation had transpired, I walked out to the barn to ask what they might like on their sandwiches. Mustard? Mayonnaise? Pickles?
They looked as though an enormous gift was about to come their way. Jakey spoke up and said, “We don’t know nothing but pickles that you are talking about. But we sure do like tomato ketchup!”
If they can’t make it themselves, they don’t eat it, and mayonnaise wouldn’t “keep” so they don’t make it. They likely have had mustard, but it isn’t a bright yellow staple in the kitchen as it is for nearly everyone I’ve ever known.
I just know I made up those sandwiches with a kind of awakened realization of what we take for granted, each and every day. A simple “sand-witch” brought about sparkling eyes and appreciation. I also packed a bag filled with apples, chips and chocolates.
They did not want to come in the house because of being dirty from the barn work. So, I made up a large bowl filled with warm, soapy water and took it to the porch of our shop building, and Doug set up a place inside to enjoy lunch with them. He has grown to enjoy their company so much, and I love to hear the stories at the end of the day.
When I took the lunch out to them as they washed up, each of them said, “Thank you for your dinner.” It was said, genuinely, with realization and appreciation for all that goes in to it. They grasp the fact that the ham started with a piglet born awhile back, the meat was cured and cut from a hambone, that the cheese was made after a lengthy process that started with milking the cows, and that even the bread began in the field.
This is what our parents and grandparents experienced, and why they held a deeper appreciation for good food. They grew up in much this same way in this country — they grew, butchered, harvested, milked, salt-cured almost all of their own food.
What a difference all of that awareness made! I will appreciate every bit of my Thanksgiving dinner, including the leftover turkey sandwiches in the days to come.
From my home to yours, I wish all a blessed Thanksgiving.