I called my dear friend, Madge, last week. After catching up a bit, I mentioned that her sweet potato casserole recipe which she gave me several years ago continues to be a hit with our family and friends this time of year. Not a year goes by, I said, that someone doesn’t ask for “my” sweet potato casserole recipe. It’s not my recipe, I always say. And then I tell them about my friend, Madge.
“Well …” she replied in her Kentucky drawl, “I’m glad it brings pleasure to some people. That makes me happy.”
This year in particular, we would all do well to remember the sweet spots of life. And to acknowledge that we Americans have faced similar challenges Like the first Thanksgiving of 1621. The Pilgrims had endured a year of hardship and serious illness that had taken the lives of half the people who had come over on the Mayflower. Yet they took the time and the effort to thank God for the harvest that had sustained them.
I think also of the first official Thanksgiving in 1863, when — in the midst of a Civil War — President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of thanksgiving to “solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledge as with one heart and one voice … the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.”
In the midst of scarcity and unrest, the citizens of our new country took time to be thankful. I’d like to follow suit.
I’m thankful for friends and family who have delivered yummy hot meals to the house while I recover from foot surgery. No matter what is on the menu, food always tastes better when it comes from a loving heart.
I’m thankful for my strong cowboy husband who steadies me in so many ways. And he makes a great vegetable-stuffed meatloaf.
I’m thankful for Zoom meetings with old friends and coworkers that lift my spirits and remind me that life does indeed go on.
I’m thankful for the small hospital in our community where our CEO not only sends out weekly updates on our COVID situation but ends many of her announcements with a heartfelt prayer for guidance and direction.
I’m thankful for ready-to-make salad mixes. And for farmers and ranchers who continue to produce the healthful food that sustains us.
I’m thankful for the leaders who founded this country on godly principles and for those who have fought to guarantee our rights to not always agree.
This Thanksgiving, may we pay heed to the concluding words of President Lincoln’s Thanksgiving proclamation: “To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.”
And thank you, Madge, for your sweet potato casserole.
Barbara Quinn is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator affiliated with Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula in California. She is the author of “Quinn-Essential Nutrition” (Westbow Press, 2015). Email her at to email@example.com.