Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Tuesday Nooks and Crannies

"Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." Luke 6:38 niv

Yesterday I had a lively discussion with my blogmates about the conspicuous consumption that is a hallmark of the Thanksgiving feast. Back in the early years of Thanksgiving, the feast was a true gathering of the best things from the harvest. The women of the house prepared all sorts of specialty dishes that were only prepared for very special occasions. The main meat course was whatever was locally available and usually something that wasn't normally served except for holidays.

And leftovers were carefully planned for several days' meals. Nothing went to waste.

But in the current era, leftovers are frequently tossed out. Far more food than is necessary or desirable is prepared. And all this while our neighbors go hungry. I have two adult children with families that would go hungry if I didn't feed them this holiday. I suspect that there are other baby boomers in the same situation. Resources are slim to none. One of them has no food pantry within miles. The other is limited to one grocery bag per month.

I stopped at a Salvation Army bucket yesterday morning and dumped out my change. At the moment it was all I had. The woman was shocked. She said I was the first person who had donated anything in the four hours she'd been standing there. Everywhere, need for supplemental help is up and supply is down.

There are homeless people all over this country--and yes, across the globe--due to famine, war, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, and fires. Not a single one of them asked for their lot in life. All were helpless to prevent the disasters visited up them. For every one of those families, there are countless others who have suddenly found themselves unemployed because their companies/employers have been wiped out.

If every family that has the wherewithal invited another family that's in distress to have Thanksgiving dinner with them--and then sent all the leftovers home with them...if we all did that, there would be no hungry people on Thanksgiving Day...something to truly be thankful for.

There are generous people everywhere. We just need to get the rest of our neighbors motivated. Maybe they are embarrassed to open their eyes and look at the poverty of their neighbors lest they end up in that position themselves.

Quite a while ago one of my neighbors opened her home to us every single holiday. "Just bring whatever you have in the pantry," she said. Some times it was more. Many times it was less. But whatever it was, we contributed what we could and all was well.

One particular Thanksgiving, that generosity was extraordinary. Two weeks before Thanksgiving, my husband called my parents and informed them that I would be visiting them for the entire week all by myself. Then he went to my neighbor and friend, Joyce and handed her some money. "Go get whatever Anny needs, help her pack, and have her ready to go." So that's what Joyce did, even going so far as to take me to the airport and wave me off.

My husband had no particular plans for Thanksgiving. He knew how to cook and was well able to feed our four children. But it never occured to Joyce that the family wouldn't be having dinner with her family. Of course they would!

So while I pulled my fragile life back together with my parent's help, my neighbors generously opened their home to my family. I don't remember much of that week. I know I slept the first two days around the clock. I know that my mom showed me the bedroom and said, "When you want to come out, feel free. But as long as the door is shut, we won't bother you." I know that I went with my parents to my Aunt's house for the family Thanksgiving. A couple of aunts thought it was mighty strange that I would go off and leave my family alone.

My dad told the aunts that my family wasn't "alone". They were with good friends. And that's the best blessing of all.


When you're out tootling around don't forget to stop by Amarinda's Blog at http://www.amarindajones.blogspot.com/ where she has the Saga and other assorted observations. And then hop over to Kelly's Place at http://www.kkirch.blogspot.com/ where she has more info on Resplendance Publishing. Blessings on your day!


  1. You are spot on as always Anny. It sickens me that people gorge themselves on food they do not need to survive just because it's a holiday and 'everyone else is doing it.' We have become very selfish and insulated and I cannot see that changing. No, your blog is not preachy - it is the truth

  2. I was horrified several years ago, when hubby's family hosted Thanksgiving. Afterwards, all leftovers where shoved down the garbage disposal. We decided that was the last time we'd spend T-day with them!

    I am opening up my home to my 'strays'...the kids who won't have a traditional meal at their house, and a lovable little old lady whose family has to work that day. My own MIL won't come, but we'll take her a plate later on in the day:)

    Great post today, Anny!

  3. And whatever happed to saving the turkey bones and veggie peelings to make a broth that could be used for the base of several meals?

    I'm one of those who doesn't like the Turkey spread. I'd rather have some dressing and cranberry jelly (the kind shaped like a can--yes, expensive tastes) and a roll.

    Maybe a new tradition needs to be started. Celebrate Thanksgiving with your family/friends/strangers and the barest of ingredients like regular sandwich bread but not enough for everyone and a small bowl of gravy but nothing else all day, so that all must share and recognize what a taste of true want can be. The next day real thankfulness for family and for our surplus will be realized.

  4. Anny, Your blog today was a bit painful to read and left me with the shakes. I remember being the kid that had nothing. Thank you for your reminder to others and once again for giving me inspiration for my own blogging.


  5. Yep, I was the kid doing without. And then as an adult I had to deal with my kids doing without. Circumstances beyond our control sometimes place us in that position. I always remember that when I see someone else that in a tough spot. It's painful so see my kids struggling now.

  6. I have never heard of people throwing away leftovers, but I have to tell you, I'm horrified. We always had a nice dinner with the whole family and the leftovers always went home with whoever needed them the most at the time.

    I have come across people throwing away perfectly good clothing and household items, and it gives me the rage. Just because something might not be the height of fashion doesn't mean it's worthless. Granted, I was a also kid who grew up with next to nothing.

    There are so many places people can take the items they no longer need. The act of throwing it away not only deprives others of inexpensive (or even free) things they might need, it also takes up space in landfills - space we don't have. My Mom always said, there's no such place as "away."

    Thanks for a great blog, Anny.

  7. Anny,

    My mother's family gathered for every holiday when I was growing up. We never threw away a thing. If there was anyone who we wanted to invite, they were more than welcome. Family or not! Many times friends from school or work were there.

    When my Grandmother passed, those who gathered grew fewer. Eventually my immediate family just gathered. Then my Dad disability retired. We started inviting any & all of our friends, co-workers, church members, cousins, whoever we knew who weren't going to be with family.

    This year we were worried. My Dad's cousin has a wife with Alzhiemers. She has regressed massively this year. We called my younger (older than me, but younger than my oldest brother)brother who has the youngest children. Will it be okay around her?

    Thankfully we are all gathering for thanksgiving. There are so many of us that we have to use our church hall, but we don't care. We will clean up after ourselves. My oldest brother is going through a divorce and is in financial difficulty...he will be taking home the majority of the left overs. He has five kids. We don't believe in disposals or throwing away anything without mold. I believe Bronwin's Mom is right, there is no such place as "away".