This famous painting by Norman Rockwell I think, says it all.
I have fond memories of those Thanksgiving celebrations of my youth. My Grandparents' farm was located in the rolling hills of Roane County in Appalachia. There, they had raised sixteen children during the depression, that farm providing most of the essentials they needed to survive. Years later those children would return annually to the old homestead with children of their own.
....Not that I really need my memory of those simpler times to be jogged, but there are several songs that transport me back to there and then. Originally a Thanksgiving song, but now heard more during Christmas time, Over The Hills and Through The Woods is sure to put me in a reminiscent mood. Anyone who has spent more than a passing visit to the hills of West Virginia, knows of what I speak. John Denver was quoted as saying he'd never set foot in West Virginia, but you'd never know it when you listen to the lyrics of his Country Roads. The one song that really tugs at my heart strings however, is a little known number by Joe South, Don't It Make You Want To Go Home.
....Once the meal was ready and the tables had been set, there was an almost ritualistic parade of adults and children to the tables. The large dining room table was reserved for the grownups only. While they were taking their places and nestling to the hypnotic aromas of an enormous turkey and all the fixings, we the children were herded into the kitchen, pantry, and even a hallway depending on how many had made the trek for the holiday.
....In those days, children weren't permitted to sit in on or to listen to adult conversations, especially at family gatherings such as Thanksgiving. There was even a pecking order when it came to the kids' tables. We were always seated with our cousins of the same age group. So it was, and through the years there was an almost Darwinian process of evolution as we each aged, moved to the next table, and eagerly dreamt of that special day - the day we moved to the adult table.
....To say that it was a rite of passage to be promoted from one table to the next would be an accurate enough statement. Much was made of these transitions. My Grandmother actually announced the event after everyone had been seated. There was no red carpet, but it didn't matter for the honored one walked on air as he or she arose from their old station to take on the new one.
....It so happened that my elevation to "adult status" occurred during one of those Thanksgiving reunions. No one knew it at the time, but it was the last and only time that I would ever sit at the adult table. Before the next Thanksgiving, I would be serving Uncle Sam somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean in his Navy, both my Grandfather and Grandmother would pass away, and the family homestead would be siezed by Imminent Domain to make way for Interstate 77. If you are familiar with that Joe South song, you will realize how uncanny that song is to me.
The Adult Table
It was a special time of the year
When we migrated to that place.
Families from both far and near
Reuniting at that old rustic farm.
As we prepared to bow in grace,
Wishing all in the world no harm,
Midst the aromas of the hot meal
Wafting thru the house as if proof
'Twas no dream, no it was so real.
"Son, come join us at the big table,
'Cause today and under this roof
You are grown and you are able
To dine as a proud young man."
To be among the first to be served
Was always a part of a kid's plan.
But I thought of those left behind,
Although my move was deserved
I couldn't help think it so unkind,
To be so labeled and thus classed
And it weighed heavy on my heart.
I'd awaited this day and I'd passed;
But now with a family of my own,
We all sit together and never apart,
We have rituals in our own home.
To all who happen to drop by, have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and friends. Drive carefully and stay safe. May God bless and watch over you and yours.