Sunday, November 20, 2011

52 Blessings – Thanksgiving

Some of the things that I love about Thanksgiving are:

The colors – red, orange, green, gold

The smell – woodstoves, cinnamon, sage, nutmeg, roasting turkey, baking bread

The taste – pumpkin pie, potatoes (sweet and brown) and stuffing

The feel – like love floats through the air at Christmas, gratitude floats through the air at Thanksgiving

The pilgrims – a little set of pilgrims and a stone from Plymouth Rock sits on our shelf all year long. A copy of the Mayflower compact hangs in one of our bedrooms. I leave them up year round because they’re not decoration, those pilgrims are part of us. Several years ago I learned that we are descendants of John Howland who came on the Mayflower as a servant. One night as the Mayflower sailed, the “winds were so fierce and the seas so high . . . a lusty young man called John Howland was . . . thrown into the sea; but it pleased God that he caught hold of the topsail halyards . . . .” John Howland precariously hung on until the crew could rescue him with a boat hook. Once the pilgrims landed and settled many died. Someone said they made seven times more graves than huts that first year. John Howland’s master, as well as his master’s wife, died. Since they had no children, it’s believed that John Howland inherited their estate. A little later John Howland married Elizabeth Tilley and they were the parents of ten children.

Why Abraham Lincoln instituted it. – In1863 we were in the middle of a bloody war and though there was much to be discouraged about, Abraham Lincoln said that America needed to be grateful. She needed to be grateful that no other nations took advantage of her weakened state while she was fighting internally. He said America’s prosperity was a “gracious gift of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.” He said it was fitting and proper for the American people to solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledge that.

What do you love about Thanksgiving?


Barb said...

Well, I think we're related! I'm going to have to double check with my MIL, but those sound like the names of Ken's Mayflower ancestors!

michelle said...

I love all of those things, too! The smells, the tastes, and especially the gratitude floating in the air. Also the official start of the Christmas season, which for me is the day after Thanksgiving. Time for getting out my Christmas CDs and putting up the decorations!

Cool story of your ancestor!

Barb said...

Ken is descended from: John Howland, William and Mary Brewster, Richard Warren, John, Bridget and Elizabeth Tillie, and Francis Cooke. My Mother-in-law says she's heard that story about John Howland, but I hadn't. Where did you find this history?

adamrmurphy said...

I am also a decedent of John and Elizabeth Howland. My great grandmother always said that she was a decedent, and it took my grandfather close to 4 decades of researching graveyards and town halls seeking out old marriage licenses and birth certificates to prove it to the Mayflower Society and eventually gain membership.