Thanksgiving was always a special holiday growing up. When we were young we would go to Uncle Frank and Aunt Doris' house. They lived in a small Spanish bungalow in Orange County. The house was set on a large rectangular lot near Magnolia High School. May be an acre of very flat land. They had a chicken coupe, a couple goats and a horse. One year they had a Steer named Dusty. Uncle Frank would let us chase her, which I thought was fabulous and my Aunt and Mother threatened him if he encouraged "the girls" to do anything so dangerous again. After dinner "crazy" Uncle Frank would lift me way up high on the horse's bareback to watch the Disneyland fireworks.
I learned a lot at this Uncle's house. Mostly about how much fun it could be to break a few rules. When I was nine he let us skewer the wedges of pineapple which were neatly arranged back in to the halved pineapple. Only the wedges weren't yellow- he had done something to then to turn them leprechaun green. What he had done was marinated the fruit with a little creme de menthe liqueur. My parents were really upset with Uncle Frank for serving their very minor daughter alcohol. But I never loved him more.
Until dinner. Instead of the usual turkey-with-the-fixings- we had this really delicious prime rib dinner. Some time during the meal I realized I hadn't seen Dusty and I asked where he was. I wanted to play with him.
Only I couldn't, And I wouldn't be able to again. Dusty had been 4H'd.
Now if you ever get a chance to purchase a 4 H animal "after the fair", go for it. Dusty was "my first" taste of hand-raised meat. Made me understand how a farm family could stand to part with what I saw as "pets". They taste way to good only to play with.
The years have passed, traditions have changed, the world has changed. Tomorrow, unless I wake to better news than I have been following the last 2 days, I will be praying for the safe return of 3 little children whose mother decided it was better to go on the lamb with than obey a court order to give an extended visitation with their father's parents. I can't imagine the pain of not knowing where the grandchildren are.
And while I go to God to ask for the safe return of these children, I will be thanking him for this very good life that I live. I am still with the husband of my youth. Our sons are honest and productive members of society, They have chosen wisely women to share their journey in this life. I live in the greatest place in the greatest nation on earth. And I can speak and pray freely.
I wish you all many blessings throughout this holiday season.