Thanksgiving Eve

The majestic Brooks Christmas Tree has taken it’s place at the ranch! MJ and Jonathon and I have been working on the project all day. We think that it looks especially good this year with Aaron’s Little Town Christmas Village underneath its boughs! As I was retrieving the decorations from the Christmas Closet…I felt like that I had just placed them in there small confines…for their 2020 Nap. Little Town makes use of LED lighting that illuminates each building. It is a marked change from our little Dickens Christmas Village that I purchased from the Home Shopping television channel in the 1980.s. During the 80’s we had an 8 foot Christmas Tree adorned with Victorian ornaments from the DuQuoin Walmart. We would customarily turn all of the lights off and marvel in the Christmas miracle of holiday illumination…

One of my first Thanksgiving Eves working at Southern Illinois University I was working in the Allyn building and I entered my custodian office to find a couple of crafts people sitting inside. They were in high spirits as the holiday was upon us and once we retuned to work on the following Monday…Christmas was coming up quickly. As I visited with them I relished the fact that I was a member of the Physical Plant and still had to pinch myself when I considered what an opportunity that I had been given by SIUC! One of the gentlemen asked the other if he was going to enjoy some turkey on Thanksgiving? The other replied, ‘Wild Turkey!’ I knew then…that I was not in Kansas anymore.

As a youngster I was aware that many of my classmates and friends enjoyed a Thanksgiving Horn of Plenty Feast! When I inquired of my mother why we did not she proclaimed that she did not have the time or the energy to produce two holiday meals and the Christmas was more important! Now do not misunderstand…we were thankful on the American Holiday. I watched every minute of the Macy’ Thanksgiving Day Parade! But…we were likely to have cheeseburgers for our holiday feast… Thanksgiving was the door to the Christmas holiday. Even up onto and including today…we enjoy erecting our Christmas Tree prior to Thanksgiving…

MJ and I married in 1978. In March of 2021 we will celebrate our 43rd anniversary! MJ love Thanksgiving…it is her favorite holiday! We have been hosting the joyous event for well over 30 years. We will not be doing so this year due to the virulent virus that we are hiding ourselves from…in order that we can all get together…in 2021…

Adaline Moore was a joy and an exciting tradition for us…when she blessed us by attending our Thanksgiving feast for many years! Each year I enjoyed seeing her sparkling eyes and her beautiful smile around our family table. The joy of our niece, Tara, and her wonderful husband, Mike, with their two wonderful children, Paige and Tyler, literally bring the light of the holiday into our hearts! My buddies Ron and Ira Kaye have been our traveling partners on many occasions and they are always a good time!

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on

Thanksgiving is a heart thing…. It is not based on the exchange of gifts or commercial endeavors. It is a holiday that is captured in the twinkle of our loved ones or friends or the stranger among us…eyes! It is the look of happiness and comfort and love that is in the smile and look of peace and contentment of our fellow human family that was caught unawares by the generosity that they have encountered… I remember Building Services Annual Thanksgiving Dinner that we conducted for many years. The dinner grew out of one of our foreman, Gerald Davis, having a Thanksgiving Dinner for his crews. Before we knew it the feast was for the entire department which had two hundred student staff and one hundred and forty full time employees. The full time staff made delicious delectable holiday dishes and also purchased turkeys and hams and fried chicken for the group. Just to see the looks of joy on the faces of our student workers….told me what the meaning of Thanksgiving was…love… University Presidents and Chancellors and Vice Chancellors came to the annual Horn of Plenty…and it was not for the food….it was for the camaraderie and unity felt among people from all over the world…in a spirit of thankfulness…


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