Friday, November 27, 2015

Thanksgiving in the 21st century

In Whispers from the Past, there is a scene where (late in the book) Susanna is thinking about Thanksgiving. In the 19th century, it would've been just another day. In the 21st century, she knew that Mark would be celebrating a national day of thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday in November.

A holiday of thanksgiving has had an interesting history in North America.  Canada began to celebrate it first, as early as the late sixteenth century. Today, their official Thanksgiving occurs in October.

In the United States, we often commemorate Thanksgiving in recognition of a feast between Native Americans and Pilgrims from the early seventeenth century. But the first national celebration didn't come until George Washington proclaimed it in 1789. Even then, the holiday didn't really stick.  There were three more national proclamations in the 1790s, but no more until the 1810s.

After a great deal of lobbying by Sarah Josepha Hale (author of "Mary Had A Little Lamb"), Abraham Lincoln created a national holiday on the final Thursday of November. It wasn't until Franklin Roosevelt that the US started to celebrate Thanksgiving as we do today--on the fourth Thursday in November.
Waiting our turn

For many families, Thanksgiving means hours of cooking, lots of football games, and a week of leftovers. But not for mine. 

While I was pregnant with my first daughter, my husband and I decided to eat our Thanksgiving dinner at a restaurant. We absolutely loved it. No angst about getting things ready in time. No over-eating. No dishes to wash. No refrigerator full of stuff to throw out soon.

We loved this simple meal so much that we've kept that tradition nearly every year since. 

Turkey, dressing, yams, and sweet tea!
For us, Thanksgiving dinner involves standing in line (with hundreds of other new friends) while waiting to eat at our favorite restaurant. And we've acquired an entourage. Now that both of our daughters are in their 20s, we include many of their friends in our feast. (And we always leave a big tip for the wait staff and cooks who have made our day!)

I hope your holiday has been as much fun as ours--and that you have many blessings in the coming year.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

camera shy

I love to travel, and I love to take photos of the beautiful places I've visited. For a while, I used a real, honest-to-goodness camera to take the shots. But having a real camera didn't make much difference in the quality. About 1% of the shots are decent-to-good, and the rest are shrug-worthy. So now I mostly use the camera on my phone, and the 1-in-100 ratio still seems to hold.

Here are a few of my favorite shots from the past year.


James River, Virginia

Isle of Palms, South Carolina

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Thank you for your service

To the military veterans--wherever you are and whenever you served--I say Thank you on this Veterans Day.

Photo by TSG C. Watson
I know many veterans... From my brief time in service. Through friendships new and old. Within my own family. Some fought with weapons. Others battled paperwork, politics, hardships, and attitudes. Like the Air Force pilot here (LTC Wilcox after a tour in Afghanistan), we were separated from our families, followed orders (good and bad), and tried our best to serve our country. Yet we were so happy to return to the people we loved--the reason we did it.

Today, I would like to send a special thanks to my sister Rebecca, father Charles, and brother James!