Growing up in a rural, poverty-stricken area of South Louisiana, my Aunt Eva, who adopted this orphan boy, had never driven a car. Therefore, my world was rather small, except for books that I collected, and antique (then!) black and white Zenith TV. From that box, that went out often, I saw the world through old movies, Huntley and Brinkley News and Gospel music on Sunday morning! Well, Thanksgiving meant a trip out of that small world. We would get to ride in a car to my Aunt Eva’s sister’s home. Her husband, my Uncle John, would drive out to the country and pick us up and bring us to their beautiful home. Of course, I recall the warm aroma of yeast rolls baking and a great turkey roasting. I remember an awkwardness of being around cousins that I didn’t really know and only saw once a year. They seemed a lot more city-folk than our kind, and I felt a little out-of-place. I remember seeing the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboy games on my Uncle John’s wonderful television, which got three channels instead of our one and a half (ours got one fairly consistently clear and the other fairly consistently static!). Yet nothing was as exciting as getting dressed up, sitting on a rocking chair on the grey-planked front porch of our antebellum home (not antebellum mansion, antebellum cypress shanty!) and waiting for Uncle John to come and get Aunt Eva and me to take us into Baton Rouge for Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving thus will always be, for me, a time of excitement, of wonder, and a joyfully expectant time of seeing a wider world than our little hard scrabble farm. Though my dear Aunt Eva and her sister and Uncle John are all with the Lord now, I will still wake up on Thanksgiving a little excited about the possibilities of a big world with so many people to meet and so many things to see. I might even dress up and sit in my rocking chair on the front porch and just…wait. And give thanks.
For these were the deeds, as small as they may seemed, which formed a faith that “God is great and God is good; let us thank Him…”
“Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for men,For He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things” (Psalm 107:8-9).