It is a time to return to the familiar surroundings of home, or to welcome back with open arms and hugs those who have left one home to build another.
It is a long weekend of indulgence, if you will, when it seems as though the mere act of sniffing a piece of fudge or a chocolate chip cookie will add a pound of insulation around your middle – permanently.
On Thanksgiving Day, dining room tables groan under the weight of turkey, ham, dressing, cranberries, sweet potato pies, giblet gravy, mashed potatoes, rice, hot rolls and iced tea.
Much too soon after we start that scrumptious meal, we are sopping up a last bit of gravy with a last bite of roll, topping it all off with a slice of pecan or apple pie and heading to the recliner for a short afternoon snooze.
But wait! We should also give thanks to the after feast, those wonderful leftovers, lovingly gathered from covered bowls in the refrigerator and microwaved to a steamy perfection. No hurries, no worries. Only one question burns, “who’s got the best football team in the state?” We’ll find out today.
As winter’s chill puts a final stamp on harvest season and summer leaves burst into a final, fiery blaze of glory, we give thanks – to the farmers and ranchers, farm workers, haulers, processors and distributors who put food on our tables. We toast, as well, our Extension service, USDA, universities and agricultural industries whose research, advice and products keep U.S. farmers ahead of the curve.
It’s a time to remember farmers past, for wrestling the plow handle with steely determination, steady through the field, confident in the sweet promise of turned soil.
Theirs is a resolve that still burns today, inside the cab of those GPS-guided combines I saw in mid-November, toiling late in the Mississippi darkness, night lights cutting through the dust of soybean harvest, racing against the coming winds to bring in the crop.
Hope you heard me honking as I drove by.
Thank you, farmers, for all you do. For the sacrifices you make, for the huge risks you take, both physical and financial, for enduring to be the best, even in the face of searing, insensitive criticism from people who just don’t get it – and probably never will.
Thanks for the meal, guys and gals, not just the one on Thanksgiving, but the ones we eat every day. Thanks for stocking our grocery store shelves and making our food production system the envy of the modern world.
As we sit down to our meals this holiday season, thank you for giving America one of its greatest freedoms – the freedom from want. Happy Thanksgiving!