Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving and Apple Pie

Another glorious Thanksgiving. Mama read the 100th Psalm and led us in a prayer Then we sang the doxology and dug into a record breaking collection of wonderful recipes.
Turkey, cornbread-dressing, spiral-sliced ham, onion pie, yeast rolls, tomato pie, various cranberry sauces including a tart sauce for the meat that includes cranberries and horseradish and onion, a cranberry sauce hors d'oeuvre made of slices of jellied cranberry sauce with walnuts and a cream cheese concoction, regular pound cake, chocolate pound cake, pecan pie, ... I could go on.

My favorite dessert was Lillian's Skillet Apple Pie. The recipe comes from the Taste and See That the Lord is Good Cookbook published by the Tallahassee Heights United Methodist Church.
One stick butter
Two pie crusts
Half cup of granulated sugar
Two teaspoons cinnamon
One cup brown sugar
Four to sic Granny Smith apples

Preheat oven to 350°
Put butter in skillet and place in oven to melt. Stir brown sugar into butter till blended well. Place one pie crust on top of mixture in skillet. Place sliced apples on that. Mix cinnamon with granulated sugar and sprinkle onto apples. Top this with the second crust. Make small slits in crust. Brush crust with butter and sprinkle with a little sugar. Bake 45 minutes until lightly browned. Serve warm and top with a generous dollop of ice cream. Yum!

Thanksgiving doubles in our family as a celebration for our birthday buddies, Joan and Amanda.

And this year we had the added attraction of our little grand-niece fräulein, Emma, who is visiting with her Mom and Dad, Michi and Josh. What a little charmer!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am a blessed man in too many ways to enumerate.
A loving wife. Two great young women who call me "Dad". A brilliant and adoring and adorable mother. A generous and thoughtful extended family of five sisters, a brother, and a whole passel of neices and nephews and the resulting greats and in-laws.
I married into another whole wonderful family that treats me like blood kin.
I live in the greatest country on earth that allows me to think for myself.
I have a job that allows me to perform (one of my favorite activities) and fool around in nature (another favorite pasttime).
I live in a beautiful old house smack in the middle of a gorgeous town, with a riverside walking trail right out my back door, and two blocks from the church where I worship.
I have a heritage of smart, funny, boisterous, reverent, affectionate loved ones that I remember with true love and gratitude this Thanksgiving day.
Thank you Lord!

Continuing a tradition begun by Abraham Lincoln in 1863, President Obama made the following proclamation for Thanksgiving, 2009.


What began as a harvest celebration between European settlers and indigenous communities nearly four centuries ago has become our cherished tradition of Thanksgiving. This day's roots are intertwined with those of our Nation, and its history traces the American narrative.

Today, we recall President George Washington, who proclaimed our first national day of public thanksgiving to be observed "by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God," and President Abraham Lincoln, who established our annual Thanksgiving Day to help mend a fractured Nation in the midst of civil war. We also recognize the contributions of Native Americans, who helped the early colonists survive their first harsh winter and continue to strengthen our Nation. From our earliest days of independence, and in times of tragedy and triumph, Americans have come together to celebrate Thanksgiving.

As Americans, we hail from every part of the world. While we observe traditions from every culture, Thanksgiving Day is a unique national tradition we all share. Its spirit binds us together as one people, each of us thankful for our common blessings.

As we gather once again among loved ones, let us also reach out to our neighbors and fellow citizens in need of a helping hand. This is a time for us to renew our bonds with one another, and we can fulfill that commitment by serving our communities and our Nation throughout the year. In doing so, we pay tribute to our country's men and women in uniform who set an example of service that inspires us all. Let us be guided by the legacy of those who have fought for the freedoms for which we give thanks, and be worthy heirs to the noble tradition of goodwill shown on this day.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 26, 2009, as a National Day of Thanksgiving. I encourage all the people of the United States to come together, whether in our homes, places of worship, community centers, or any place where family, friends and neighbors may gather, with gratitude for all we have received in the past year; to express appreciation to those whose lives enrich our own; and to share our bounty with others.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twentieth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.


Thanksgiving Week Flashback: Seven Blessings

Few have as much for which to be thankful on this American holiday. Here is a post I wrote about a few of my many blessings. It was written in February 2007.

Seven Blessings: First Edition

I am surely the most blessed human being in the world. I am so incredibly blessed that it is hard to know where to start. Since this is the first edition of what will, perhaps, be a series, I feel an obligation to be basic.
Two of my sisters (I have five) have already posted theirs. You can check them out at Sunday Seven.
Here we go --

1. I am constantly blessed by my family:

I live with someone who loves me and whom I love and trust and have fun with. I have two daughters who love me, tell me so, and despite their occasional aggravation with me, seem absolutely devoted to me. I admire each more than they can know. I am the son of an incredible woman who is a pastor, writer, poet, wonderful cook, and loving mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. I am a sibling to six other people and a brother-in-law to several more and the uncle or cousin of a bunch more, all of whom get along remarkably well, with only occasional growls - usually about political stuff - all of whom love each other, treat each other's children like their own, and seem to actually enjoy being together.

I had a father whose love for me was unconditional, thank goodness, since I was a petulant teen at times. I was spoiled rotten by my paternal grandparents and adored my maternal grandmother and even though my mother's father died when she was a child his tremendous influence on her and her siblings was a positive influence on me as well. I don't want to leave out my wonderful aunts and uncles: Aunt Mary kept my baby picture on her bedroom wall till the day she died. Uncle Tom, the State Patrolman, let me off the hook and didn't tell Mama and Daddy when he stopped teen Terrell that night ("Please, Lord," I prayed, "don't let that be Uncle Tom!" It was.) Daddy's brothers called me "Sampson", Uncle Grady still does, and teased me mercilessly, (and I loved it) and slipped me nickels for slushy Cokes out of the barber shop Cokebox and dimes for ice cream cones down the street at the drug store.

My wife's family adopted me as soon as Sheila did, as a full-fledged member of that family, and I love them just as much as my own.

2. I am blessed to be an American.

Other countries' skies are as blue; their mountains are sometimes even higher; their flora and fauna as fascinating; their people and customs as intriquing; or as Lloyd Stone wrote in the wonderful hymn:
This is my song, Oh God of all the nations,
A song of peace for lands afar and mine.
This is my home, the country where my heart is;
Here are my hopes, my dreams, my sacred shrine.
But other hearts in other lands are beating,
With hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.

My country's skies are bluer than the ocean,
And sunlight beams on cloverleaf and pine.
But other lands have sunlight too and clover,
And skies are everywhere as blue as mine.
Oh hear my song, oh God of all the nations,
A song of peace for their land and for mine.

I will not pretend that my country is perfect. It has often fallen short of its promise. But what a promise. What a dream. What a beacon of light it has been at its best!

3. I am blessed to have wonderful friends.

Friends like Mike Burton, Mike Bock, Steve and Laurie Craw, Mildred and Phillip Greear, and many more, have shared our joy in good times and helped us bear our grief or other troubles in hard times.

4. I am blessed to have a job that I enjoy.

They pay me a pretty good salary to corral a bunch of nine- and ten-year-olds every day and tell them the stories of our wonderful country and help them explore the wonders of our beautiful world. And I do it on a big campus that includes a beautiful brook, steep hills, mixed woods, some boggy bottomland, and grassy meadows and that borders a huge wildlife sanctuary.

5. I am blessed with pretty good health for a nearly sixty-year-old.

I take an aspirin a day, a small BP pill, and something for triglicerides. I have an achy foot and generally achy joints, but after I quit taking Crestor, the big hurts stopped (If you are taking that stuff and start to have major joint pain, talk to your doctor!) Trying to get the cholesterol down with oatmeal and walking is sometimes a pain, figuratively, but getting it down with Crestor was always a literal pain.

6. Speaking of walking, I am blessed to live where a wonderful walking path goes right past my backyard.

I walk at least 3 to 5 times a week usually 2 or 3 miles at a time, along our scenic Riverwalk or through our quaint downtown. My companion is a wonderful conversationalist, who laughs at my wit, and who loves me - my wife.

7. What a blessing singing has been to me.

It has made me a bunch of friends. It helped me win Sheila. It has allowed me to show out on stage in a bunch of musicals. It provided me some of my favorite experiences with my daughters. It gives me some of my favorite teaching moments. It has given me some of the most intensely joyful moments of my life.

Oh, my! I've just gotten started! But Sundays roll around every seven days.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Week Flashback: Sweet Potato Souffle

Another in my lazy man's posts for Thanksgiving Week. This was an thinly disguised effort to rev up my readership during the Hallothanksmas Season by posting a recipe for a dish much loved by many but not by me.
From November 2007:

I am not fond of Sweet Potato Soufflé. Georgia Warner was a great friend of my late mother-in-law, Mavis Matthews. I am posting Georgia's recipe -- which I am assured by connoisseurs of
Sweet Potato Soufflé is an excellent one -- for purely ulterior motives.

Georgia's Sweet Potato Soufflé
3 cups of mashed sweet potatoes
1 cup of oleo, melted and cooled
2/3 cup of canned milk
1 cup of sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla

Mix the above ingredients and pour into a casserole dish.

1 packed cup of brown sugar
1/3 cup of flour
1 cup of chopped Georgia pecans
1/3 cup of softened oleo

Mix these ingredients and spread over the potatoes.
Bake at 350° for one hour.
- Georgia Warner
From Taste and See That the Lord is Good (Psalm 34:8)
A cookbook from Tallahassee Heights United Methodist Church

Sweet Potato Souffle
Sweet Potato Soufflay
Sweet Potato Suoffle
Sweet Potato Sooflay
Sweet Potato Souflae
Sweet Potato Soofflé
Turkey & Dressing
Thanksgiving Dinner
Christmas Dinner
Side Dishes

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving Week Flashback: XIII Thanks

Another Post from the Past for Thanksgiving Week. This one from November of 2006:

Of course my Thankfulness is boundless this fourth Thursday of November, and my list of official Thanks is very similar to a thousand others posted today:

The Official List

  1. For Sheila
  2. For Brannon
  3. For Lillian
  4. For Mama
  5. For Daddy and the others who have gone before us.
  6. For my brother and my five sisters
  7. For a job I love and that pays the bills
  8. For a warm bed and a comfortable home
  9. For my country and its Bill of Rights
  10. For a warm, affirming, church family
  11. For the fourth chapter of First John
  12. For loyal friends
  13. For song
But a more interesting list might be:

The Other List

  1. For toilet paper (What percentage of humans in history have had such a luxury?)
  2. And while we're at it, for indoor flush toilets. (I have walked a path at night, indoor flush is preferable.)
  3. For opposable thumbs (Without them, no Lord of the Rings or 23rd Psalm... or Sweet Potato Soufflé, for that matter.)
  4. For persistence of vision (OK, this theory has been debunked, but I'm thankful for persistence of conciousness or whatever it is about us that allows us to perceive the present and connect it to the past and even envision a future.)
  5. For iPod (All my music in a package smaller than a cigarette pack, for heavens sake!)
  6. For ice cream (Only we twentieth and twenty-first century folks get to eat this delicacy regularly, though Dolley Madison served it at James' inauguration. I'll bet James never had a dish of Jamocha Almond Fudge or Moose Tracks.)
  7. For the world's most elegant computer, the iMac.
  8. For all of the events major and minor, incidental and purposeful, of history from the beginning of time that resulted in the coincidence of sperm and egg that produced me. (Selfish, I know, but basic.)
  9. For sex. (Where did the Lord come up with that idea?!)
  10. For Thomas Edison (and Henry Ford, Steve Wozniak, and all those other guys) who came up with ways to make me more enlightened (after a fashion) than the great Kings, Philosophers, Heroes, and Conquerors of the past.
  11. For the wonderful interaction of a mixture of gases with the flora and fauna and soil and copious amounts of liquid water and sunlight on our beautiful blue marble that allows this grand but isolated oasis to support me and mine.
  12. For family days and dinners with Mama's Yeast Rolls, spiral-sliced ham and a huge turkey, mashed potatoes and Mama's Wonderful Dressing, Carol's Famous Apple Pie, Mama's Marinated Carrots, and, yes my friends, Sweet Potato Soufflé. Yes, I said, Sweet Potato Soufflé. That's Sweet Potato Soufflé. And Southern Pecan Pie. And delicious Banana Pudding. (Do think Mary Winkler would like Sweet Potato Souffle? Or Crawford Loritts? Do Sunnis, Shites, and Kurds eat Sweet Potato Souffle? Is this dish the attraction to all those illegal Mexican immigrants? Will a huge fence from the mouth of the Rio Grande to the Pacific keep out those determined to have Sweet Potato Souffle? Can I sink any lower in my quest for Sitemeter hits? As I've said, I don't even like Sweet Potato Souffle, and I'm tired of reading about Mary Winkler, bless her heart! And what, after all, does the best Scrabble play ever recorded add up to? Scrabble's "Don Larsen" is Michael Cresta, a carpenter.)
  13. For the wonderful laughter that follows lines like these:
"...cows have many."
"...there goes a chicken!'
"...boom, boom!"

Thanksgiving Edition

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving Week Flashback: Acrostic

I have been so neglectful of the Limb of late! Here is the first of a few oldie goldies(?) for you for this week of Thanksgiving.

From November 19, 2007:

Acrostic poems are great for special occasions at school. Kids like structure. They want to know how to DO it. The acrostic gives them a beginning point for each line, but a lot of leeway for what follows. Aileen Fisher's little acrostic of thanksgiving is a great model.

All in a Word

T for time to be together, turkey, talk, and tangy weather.
H for harvest stored away, home, and hearth, and holiday.
A for autumn's frosty art, and abundance in the heart.
N for neighbors, and November, nice things, new things to remember.
K for kitchen, kettles' croon, kith and kin expected soon.
S for sizzles, sights, and sounds, and something special that abounds.
That spells ~~~THANKS---for joy in living and a jolly good Thanksgiving.

- Aileen Fisher


The series of posts, A Poem to Start the Week, is my little anthology of poetry, many of which I have used with my students in elementary schools during 27 years of teaching.

Previous Poems to Start the Week:
All In a Word • The SpiderThe Eagle

Some PeopleCustard the Dragon
Statistics 101The Spider and the Fly
Back to SchoolThe Inchcape RockOgden NashTrash
Hearts, Like DoorsCasey at the BatAlways a RoseHome at Last
Bag of ToolsCarpe DiemPoems About PoetryMan's Best Friend
Spelling is Tough Stough!Blue MarbleTacks, Splinters, Apples and Stars
Oh, Captain, My Captain!MetaphorIntroducion to Poetry
Loveliest of TreesFlax-Golden TalesThe Dinosaurs Are Not All Dead
Owl PelletsMummy Slept LateJust My Size
The Kindest Things I KnowMiles to GoLove that Brother
Oh, Frabjous Day!

Other Posts about Children's Literature:

The Lion's Paw top kid's OOP book!
Aslan is Dead!
Multiplying People, Rice, and Readers
A Teacher's Life

You can read some of my own efforts at poetry here.
And then there's Alien Invasion.

A weblog dedicated to Poetry for Children.
Watch Sonja Cole's reviews of children's books at
The PBS series Favorite Poem Project