What a polarity of a week. A time in which to be thankful for what we have and startling reminders of what is still missing. Two different people posted quotes from two well recognized Americans that I would like to share here. (If you just desire to read about snow and what we ate for Thanksgiving, scroll to the bottom. Look for the line of asterisk.)

The first is the proclamation setting up Thanksgiving by Abraham Lincoln in 1863. (it is lengthy but I didn’t want to crop it for fear of losing the sentiment of the whole.) And the second is a quote by Martin Luther King, Jr.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.’S PERSPECTIVE on rioting and social unrest in the 60s:

“Now I wanted to say something about the fact that we have lived over these last two or three summers with agony and we have seen our cities going up in flames. And I would be the first to say that I am still committed to militant, powerful, massive, non-violence as the most potent weapon in grappling with the problem from a direct action point of view. I’m absolutely convinced that a riot merely intensifies the fears of the white community while relieving the guilt. And I feel that we must always work with an effective, powerful weapon and method that brings about tangible results. But it is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the negro poor has worsened over the last twelve or fifteen years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity.”

In the first quote we see that Thanksgiving isn’t about Pilgrims and Native Americans. It came about from a nation that had been and continued to suffer and mourn its losses. Growth does not occur effortlessly but comes under struggle and hard work.

In the second quote I don’t know how some attitudes are any different than from the 1950s. There are still great divides of understanding between aspect of our country. So Thanksgiving wasn’t necessarily about Pilgrims and Native Americans sitting down together, although maybe it should really be more about the radical concept that really is. Have two different cultures sit down and learn about the struggles of the other. Then maybe we can find joint solutions.

I have been disheartened by people who dismiss the rioting that is occurring. People who have been picking apart one man’s life and saying in absent of actually vocalizing the words that he deserved to die. Or by holding up examples of their “own” people suffering similar treatment to use that as a means of saying “why are we not more protected” or to diminish the experience of the other rather than to hold each other in sympathy.I have heard one friend threaten to “unfriend” people on FB who like or share ignorant opinions. But last I checked, the definition of ignorance dealt with a lack of knowledge to which the only cure it to confront and educate. Education is not always easy or accepted. There are some who believe in willful ignorance in order to remain comfortable in their status quo. But giving the opportunity like to think that people want to understand and their willfulness against it is because they do not have a bridge by which to cross over their ignorance.

A mob mentality or sheep heard mentality can certainly sweep up those individuals who revel in chaos but the original spark that enflames a simmering anguish should not be ignored. And to questions deeply, not superficially, why it simmers is a difficult discussion necessary to be held to create a lasting resolution.

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On a daily life line, we spent Thanksgiving with strangers and new friends. A co-worker of mine invited us to share the day with them and their friends and family. We had a wonderful day of eating too much, drinking a little bit, playing a wicked game of Cranium and being grateful for what we have and what we can share. Elsa’s sweet potato casserole made an appearance and was a hit. Someone even requested the recipe. So the modified Virginia-Elsa recipe was shared.
We Facetimed with family in Ohio and talked with family in Kentucky. My twin and I were finishing our versions of the SPC at the same time because we all know that it isn’t a holiday with any lineage of Simpson genetics if there is no SPC.
We also had a lot of snow that started mid-day Wednesday and continued into the night but was done by 3 am. Unfortunately this left quite a few people without electricity and quite a few people who plough for a living working extra. We meandered around the neighborhood the following day and because it is an early snow it was heavy and wet. A lot of trees lost branches, others were sagging dangerously across electrical lines and other cables. But it was beautiful.
Here is a view down the street. (the snow ploughs did a great job clearing the road!) Of wet snow stuck to our fence. And of where I would have liked to eat lunch if not for the inches of snow, the menacing tree and the cold.
Feeling in a giving mood here is my general recipe. Of course, I’m prone to interpretative cooking.
ingredients casserole:
3.5 lbs of sweet potato
1/2 c brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 large eggs (“lightly whisked”
1/2 c milk
topping:
1/2 c butter melted
1 c coconut (sweet or unsweet)
1 c brown sugar
1 c chopped pecans
directions:
1. boil potatoes till mashable
2. add remainder of ingredients and mix till a consistency you like
3. add to buttered casserole dish
4. mix topping ingredients together. put on top of potatoes in dish.
5. bake uncovered at 350 deg F for 30-35 mins until golden brown
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