52 Sundays; November 28, 2010

Collaboration by Phyllis Smith, Elaine Olund-Smith, Avery Smith
Welcome all, each in their place
This year, The Professor is not saying grace.
Tis Thanksgiving twenty-ten
October gone, November again.
Days are wet, gray and cold
Black Friday looms – exciting, bold.
But, first, join hands with loved ones near.
Share the traditions we all hold dear.
Give thanks, give thanks, to be here, at last.
Family, feasting, food and fun
Looking back on the year that’s passed
From the very first bites – til’ the turkey is done
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

We did something a bit different for Thanksgiving this year; my mother-in-law had written a short Thanksgiving poem and posted it on her Facebook page. The Professor thought it would be nice if everyone sitting at our table could read one line, the next person, the following line until everyone around the table had participated in a prayer of thanks.  There is something remarkable about hearing the voices of those you love, speak words which create a collective whole. Lydia hand-crafted placards for each person, then wrote the line they would read on the back of their card and placed them in order around the table.  I started, then Elaine, Jon, Cheryl, Martine, Jane, Dad, Mom, Randy, Avery, Lydia, Taylor with The Professor reading the final sentence – a wonderful shared experience and for me, quite moving. I think we have a new tradition!

Many years ago . . . in a land far away . . . in another lifetime in fact . . . I was the single mom of two sons.  So holidays were almost always spent at my parents’ home where we would gather for the meal: Christmas, Easter, Birthdays and Thanksgiving.  One year at Thanksgiving my mother asked my then 8-year-old son to read a prayer that was printed in a book that her church had published; there we were, standing in a circle – Mom, Dad, my younger sister, me and my two sons . . . heads bowed, eyes closed, arms still – a very quiet and somber moment.  I don’t remember the whole prayer but I do remember a particular line which was supposed to read, ‘Bless the bread winners of the family’ but my son read it as ‘Bless the bread whiners of the family’. . . only a nano-second passed before the snorting and full-on belly laughter erupted and it was all downhill.  I don’t think we ever got the entire prayer read.   And every single Thanksgiving since then, when I am preparing my spirit to say a prayer of gratitude, I am transported to that day – and the blond-haired, blue-eyed, 8-year-old little boy giving it his all to lead us in a moment of worship and thanksgiving.  And I laugh. And I am happy. And I am thankful for that moment. And I am very, very thankful for that boy and his brother.


  1. What a beautiful poem … and a wonderful new tradition!

    I truly enjoyed your story Debra… it truly is what Thanksgiving is all about.

  2. Love this post and the memories, Deb.

  3. What a lovely way to celebrate the holiday. I think it is so important that we take the time to read together, to share together, to meditate together. It seems like this poem put everyone’s spirits in the right place. And I loved hearing the precious anecdote about your son. Thank you so much for sharing. I hope you have a wonderful Monday!

  4. Okay, what a nice poem and a great new tradition for the family. I love the “whiner” memory. It had me chuckling out loud.

  5. Wonderful story, thank you for sharing. I just love the holidays and the memories they bring!

  6. Well, I guess it’s good to bless the whiners too! What a great story and thanks for sharing your happiness with us. I think it’s contagious!

  7. What great memories! I love to hear about other peoples traditions and this one sounds very special. Very nice poem too! I’m glad you had a wonderful family filled holiday and that gratitude attitude!

  8. I love to start new traditions, great idea about everyone reading a line! And there is just nothing better than laughter is there, especially at the holidays? Thanks for sharing Debra!

  9. Beautiful Deb, lovely memories and sounds like your still making great memories. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  10. What a wonderful story! It is memories like this one that really make the holidays special – laughter and time with family are what the holidays should be all about.

  11. Lovely story, Debra! I would have been rolling right along with you. I love the sharing of the poem line by line. What a fantastic family tradition to start.

  12. What a wonderful post to read. I love your the new tradition of each dinner guest saying a line of a beloved poem (especially when written by your mother-in-law) and I expecially love how you are transported back each and every year to another time with the memory of laughter. That’s what family is all about. Shared laughter, shared memories and shared whiners!!! Loved reading this post Debra!

  13. Sounds like a lovely day! What a great tradition too.

    By the way, I need some whiners blessed over here.

  14. So much to be thankful for, indeed, and I love your new tradition!

  15. Such sweet memories of your 8 year old. The holidays have been so special this year, my kids are finally “getting it.” Glad to read you had a nice time with loved ones 🙂

  16. LOL, we should all pray God Bless the Whiners!

    Happy Holidays Dear Smiths!

  17. Aww Debra, this post really touched my heart!!

  18. Such a lovely new tradition! 🙂

  19. That is a delightful tradition. I am glad that your Thanksgiving was a happy one.

  20. Love this story Deb. Takes me back many years to my single parent days with two young girls and those inadvertent but charming things that happen that become so memorable.

    We have always and still do go from person to person asking them to offer their personal thanks; for whatever it is. Family, friends, jobs all enter into those thanks but many of my memories are in thinking of some of the things my young daughters said before they grew up and you have again reminded me of those moments, so I’m thankful for YOU!

    • Barb ~ I think those kind of moments are something that only single parents can appreciate; not that ALL parents can’t appreciate the funny things kids do/say, but there’s something about experiencing parenthood alone during the holidays – it’s hard and there’s just no way of getting around that. But kids have a way of leveling the playing field – am so thankful for you as well my friend!

  21. A beautiful tradition… looks like you had a wonderful, festive day.

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