By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate
For many of us, the meaning of Thanksgiving usually includes feasting, four-day weekends, football games, floats, family reunions, or a forerunner to Christmas festivities. The “first Thanksgiving,” however, was neither a feast nor a holiday, but a simple gathering. Following the Mayflower’s arrival at Plymouth Rock on December 11, 1620, the Pilgrims suffered the lost of 46 of their original 102 colonists. With the help of 91 Indians, the remaining Pilgrims survived the bitter winter and yielded a bountiful harvest in 1621. In celebration, a traditional English harvest festival, lasting three days brought the Pilgrims and natives to unite in a “thanksgiving” observance.
This “thanksgiving” meal would not be celebrated again until June of 1676. On June 29 the community of Charlestown, Massachusetts proclaimed a day of thanksgiving for their good fortune. Ironically, this celebration excluded the Indians, as the colonists’ recognized their recent victory over the “heathen natives.” One hundred years later, in October of 1777, all 13 colonies participated in a one-time “thanksgiving” celebration which commemorated the patriotic victory over the British at Saratoga. It would take a span of over 150 more years to establish Thanksgiving as we celebrate it — George Washington proclaimed it a National holiday in 1789, Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in November in 1863, and Congress sanctioned it as a legal holiday in 1941.
The Parsons Advocate set out to determine what Thanksgiving means to those in our community. A variety of people from all walks of life were asked the same question: what does Thanksgiving mean to you? Here are their responses.
- Alaina Owens, age 8: Going hunting and eating with family.
- Natalie Owens, age 4: An Indian celebration.
- Braxton Smith, age 8: Giving thanks.
- Gunner Smith, age 7: Turkey!
- Sherry Wright: Giving thanks for all of the blessings in our lives and our family, friends, and making memories.
- Heather Booth: Thanksgiving means getting together with family and remembering the good times of the ones that have left us too soon. Getting to spend it with my 93 year old Grandma and have her tell us stories from when she was younger and counting all our blessings. I know this year we will be adding to the blessings of knowing that I will finally be getting to adopt my foster kids after almost three years!
- Rebecca Pase, age 7: Seeing family and eating turkey.
- Joey Pase, age 5: Thanksgiving means love.
- Quintessia Vest: Time for spending time with family and getting your bellies full!
- Angie Simmons: Family, Family, Family!
- Tiffany Godwin: It’s a very happy time of year. The kids are off school the entire week so more time is spent with them. Family usually is always together.
- Cathy Nestor: It means retreating to the picturesque mountains of Tucker County and spending quality time with loving family. It means just pausing and truly appreciating all we truly have to be thankful for each and every day.
- Tammy Moore: Thanksgiving is a time to thank God for all He has given us, family, friends, health, and home; so many things. We must always be thankful for our blessings all year but I love that Thanksgiving is a time where it is about being together without any expectations on gifts or decorations. As I have told my Sunday school class this quote, “What if we woke up today with only what we thanked God for yesterday?” Words to think about especially at Thanksgiving.
- Daniele Wilfong: Thanksgiving is about tradition, new and old. Hunting all week in hopes of killing a big buck, a delicious home cooked meal, family gathered around the table giving thanks, and enjoying fellowship, sharing hunting stories and memories after dinner and so much more. Thanksgiving – almost like a pause in real life time where you can sit and cherish all the good Lord has blessed you with.
- Quinton Teter, age 7: It means people love me and I love all of them. We are blessed by everyone in heaven and we should care about everyone.
- Sheila Marsh: A time to thank God for all the blessings He has bestowed upon you and thankful that he has gave you each and every day to be with your loved ones.
- Ann Filler: A time for thanksgiving and thanking God for family and all that He has provided us with and in the future.
- Lyla White, age 7: Thanksgiving is about being with our family, yummy food, and being thankful for what we have. Maybe that’s why God made Thanksgiving before Christmas so we can remember what we have is already good enough.
- Easton Wolford, age 5: You eat turkey and pumpkin pie with Pappy.
- Alexander Leary, age 7: Being home with my Mommy, Daddy, Nanna, and my puppy Biscuit and hunting.
- Joanna Leary, age 10: Giving thanks to the people who came to America and made our country.
- Isaiah Leary, age 9: Spending time with family and enjoying being together.
- Donald Vest: Being thankful for everything we have and family.
- Wyatt Clower, age 4: Family!
- Paityn Clower, age 7: Spending time with friends and family and God.
Obviously there are differences amongst us as to what Thanksgiving mean to us, but majority agrees it is a time to be surrounded by the ones we care about and being grateful for all we have. From all of us at The Parsons Advocate, we wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!