A Lamb, a Turkey, and Dressing
The Thanksgiving season is filled with traditions that celebrate family, food and a grateful heart. If you close your eyes and imagine the perfect Thanksgiving gathering, chances are you will see family and friends gathered around the table with a grand meal featuring a beautifully prepared turkey. There will be a wide variety of side dishes with a generous offering of dressings and gravy.
Everyone has their favorite side dish. I posted the question to our Facebook followers. What is your favorite side dish for the Thanksgiving meal? Variations of dressing or stuffing with gravy or cranberry sauce were by far at the top of the list.
Here are a few other favorite sides, Lynn Akers likes corn casserole, Robin Brueckmann has Mennonite heritage and enjoys corn pudding and shoofly pie. Karen Goodsell enjoys her grandmother’s recipe for Squash Casserole. Laura Crews is crazy about roasted Brussel sprouts with lemon pepper seasoning. Ann Graves is wild about Minnesota wild rise. Terri Reid enjoys a good Waldorf salad with her turkey. Micheal Nelson likes Strawberry salad. Bill Evans loves fresh turnip greens, and Vivian Hopkins likes Cranberry Salad. Dena Burton-Claus loves her dad’s creamy, flavorful mashed potatoes.
The last Thursday in November is our National Day to gather, be grateful, eat, play and for many get ready for the excitement Back Friday. We do this every year, and in great part we have the author of Mary Had a Little Lamb to thank for the holiday tradition that brings so much joy. The story goes like this. Sarah Josepha Hale was a widowed mother of five children; she was a poet, writer, and editor.
Sarah became the literary editor of Godey’s Ladies Book, which became the most read magazine of the 19th century and it would be this platform that would give great momentum to her big project, which was to establish an annual day of Thanksgiving nationwide. On October 3, 1789, President George Washington proclaimed November 26th 1789 as a day of Thanksgiving for that year.
Sarah believed that America would be well served to have a set day every year to celebrate our great American Festival of Thanksgiving and for many years she would write letters to political leaders including five US Presidents for this cause. It would be her letter written to President Abraham Lincoln on September 28, 1863, that yield the favorable response she was seeking. On October 3, 1863, President Lincolns Thanksgiving Proclamation was signed. There would be other Presidential Proclamations signed. However, it was this one that set the stage for many of the Thanksgiving traditions and foods we celebrate with today.
It is not in doubt that there was an event at Plymouth in 1621 where various people gathered for a meal and prayerful Thanksgiving. There are other recorded dates on which various forms of Thanksgiving was celebrated.
The story of Sarah Josepha Hale is one for which we can be thankful. Sarah married David Hale, and for nine years they dedicated two hours, a day to study, and it was during this time that Sarah would gain confidence in the power of her mind. David died of a stroke, and Sarah became a widowed mother of five. Little did Sarah know that she would make a difference in the lives of three hundred million Americans. Mary’s Little Lamb would bring joy to countless children around the world and the turkey, dressing and all the other delightful sides and other traditions would give us all something to celebrate.
In our collage, President Lincoln is portrayed by our friend Arthur Lightbody from Waxhaw NC. Photo credit: Titus Lightbody.