Friday, November 7, 2014

Horn of Plenty for All

One of the small bread cornucopia
I make filled with snacks to nibble on.
Thanksgiving has come in many forms at our house through the years. When I was a child, it was always a time of gathering folks together.  If we were living in the States, then we had our extended family join us or we joined them. If we were living overseas, it usually meant that my parents opened our house to those who were also serving the USA far from home.  Although the table was always filled with scrumptious foods on beautiful silver serving platters and fine china dishes, I was led to believe that the holiday had more to do with the camaraderie than actually "stuffing" ourselves.

I love the wheat motif as well as the cornucopia.  In analyzing this love, I have determined that it has to do with harvest and abundance.  Neither of which is pleasant to do alone.  So, the "horn of plenty" to me means, "plenty for all". So, SHARE!

Cornucopia nylon flag I sewed.
When you're younger, you're "encouraged" to eat whatever a grown-up has bestowed upon your plate. The worst Thanksgiving memory I have is of a vegetable side dish that was a navel orange hollowed out, filled with mashed sweet potatoes and brown sugar, and then topped with a few melted mini-marshmallows. (or something like that!) I think I was supposed to like it, but the smell made it difficult to even get to my mouth. I had a whole one just for me! Yay! I still remember the glare that was cast my way.

Later, as an adult living overseas, and before I had children, I opened my house to many friends who were also spending the holiday without family. That group of friends made the day special as we ate both American food and local cuisine favorites.

Bread Cornucopia I made then
packaged to give as a gift to friends.
Years later, when living back in the States with children of my own, we always saw extended family at Christmas time, but Thanksgiving plans were different year by year.  Even when we were in the States, we rarely lived near family, so it was always a road trip for someone in order for us to be together.

So, for Thanksgiving we started a new family tradition (this was so that holiday expectations wouldn't be a disappointment). We began camping! For many of those years, we'd lived in Florida, and November in Florida is wonderful for outdoor anything! We visited almost every state park throughout the year and at Thanksgiving would choose the one we liked best that year. With every manatee, wetland, wild horse, sea turtle, and starry sky we saw, we shared experiences and built memories to last a lifetime.

On Thanksgiving day, I still created a table of great food that had required some extra advanced planning by me, but brought joy to the family.

My oldest daughter who was away
from home one Thanksgiving, made
this Cornucopia to share with her friends

I hope as the years pass for you, that you change your traditions to suit your family's changing lives.  Sometimes when we hold fast to rituals that we can no longer do with ease, the holiday holds disappointment and that's not the intent.


 My wish for you as this holiday season begins, is-
Please take time to count your blessings, and let the family and friends you love and people who make a difference in your life know that you Give Thanks for them.

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