As yet another Thanksgiving dawns upon me I look both back and ahead. Memories flood my soul. I look back and I think of all the Thanksgivings past that have come and gone and I am beyond grateful for the people, the times, the experiences and the memories that flood my soul. I think of all the football games growing up when the Annual Turkey Bowl was the mainstay of the day and how I would come home battered, beaten, tired, physically exhausted but happier than I would ever feel in life.
I think of all the wonderful Thanksgiving meals at my home growing up with my dad and mom, brother and sisters, dogs and friends like Charley and others. I can see three of the most special Thanksgiving ever imaginable in the farm country of Bethel, Kentucky, where I had the opportunity to experience firsthand the joy of being on the farm, seeing the crops grow, being closer to the harvest and sitting with the men and women who made their livings on the farm. The meal had deeper meaning for the first time as I was now part of the land and the whole experience of farm to dinner.
I can see a couple of almost magical Thanksgivings where Mary and I and our little girls met friends in the mountains for a Thanksgiving in the woods. We camped in the National Forest and I can still hear the snow falling late into the night and wondering how we would get home in time for church on Sunday. I can still feel the pain of placing my hand on the top of a catalytic heater we had purchased to keep the camper warm as we had no furnace in the tiny little 10 foot camper.
I remember over forty-four joyful and blessed Thanksgivings right here in Aspen Hill with the greatest church and people any minister could ever ask for. I remember one of those football games (only now that I’m beyond the point of playing have I given it up as “Traditional Turkey Bowl”) when I came home, dejected, saying to Mary, “It probably isn’t a good thing when the minister gets into a fight with one of the Deacons at the football game”. The memories comprise a lifetime of being blessed with the greatest friends, family and experiences any man could ask for.
As to looking ahead I hope I have many more years or at least a few more years to be with my grandchildren, to watch them grow and maybe even live to see a great grandchild or two or even more. I hope to remain healthy, reasonably happy and able to keep coming to our wonderful Thanksgiving dinners on Thanksgiving Sunday. What changes will the future bring? I don’t know; no one does really. But I know this. Our lives will continue to be blessed, one way or the other. I know God will be with us, in all things, all the time, all the way. You see, Thanksgiving is as much an attitude as anything else. Share your memories, create new ones, we have much to be thankful for. But remember, the best Thanksgiving ever is this one!
Happy Thanksgiving, Dr Chance