It’s been a lovely, perfectly dreary rainy day today.
And I have loved it.
Days like this are perfect for reading, something I haven’t taken time out to do enough of lately.
So, after I hung the cheerful twinkly lights across my back porch, which is my roost and sanctuary, I sat down to read.
And I read three books. In a row.
I know, I couldn’t get over myself either. Here I’ve been unable to really focus and read much of anything, and I go and read three books in a row.
*insert selfie high-five and pat on the back for me here*
Yep. Yay me.
Oh, wait–did I mention they were children’s books?
Ah, well. Ahem.
Three wonderful books related to Thanksgiving. They were all great stories. Well written, beautifully illustrated. I loved each one, and if you can find them at your library or have time to go to the bookstore, you will want to read these too. I just know it.
One of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions is watching Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. I am sure I frustrated my Mama on more than one occasion because I was more worried about not missing my favorite performer than I was about helping her in the kitchen. It just wasn’t Thanksgiving if I didn’t get to wave to Santa on the small black and white TV we had all those many years ago.
Now it’s the same. I love watching it with my children. I’m a little busier these days than I was back then, but I do love that parade. The history, the wonderful floats and balloons. And then I found this book and read it today, and I do declare it just made it all the more special for me. This is the story of the puppeteer, Tony Sarg, who was asked by Macy’s to build puppets to be featured in the very first parade, alongside animals from the Central Park Zoo. And as the crowds got bigger, Mr. Sarg had to make his puppets bigger so they could be seen above the heads of others. A true story with great illustrations and facts galore. I can’t wait to sit and read this with the littles and then watch it all click on Thursday.
This book tells the related story of why the parade was first begun. It’s a fictionalized account, as the “real” Mr. Macy had died years before this story is set, but even with poetic license, this book does a beautiful job of talking about heritage and remembering who your people are and what their traditions were. I love the spirit and the joy in this book. And Milly let loose in Macy’s–how much fun would that be? I’ve often said I’d like to go to New York City for 24 hours. Only. (But I’d prefer to travel the ol’ wriggling of the nose method…..or floo powder, thank you very much.) Looking at the window displays in Macy’s and walking around inside would definitely make the “must do” list.
The last book I read today was the true story of how Thanksgiving almost wasn’t. Did you know about this? I am sure the turkeys, just like the one on the cover, are not happy one bit with Sarah Hale, the woman who wrote many, many letters over 38 years, asking that Thanksgiving become a nationally recognized day. It was actually President Lincoln, in the middle of the turmoil and chaos of the war, who finally said yes.
This true story is told with a clever sense of humor. I laughed out loud when I read this line.
“Never underestimate dainty little ladies.” –Laurie Halse Anderson
I think I want this quote framed and hung, because there is more truth than a little bit in it. Anyone who ever met my Mama knows that.
This book also had lots of interesting facts we shall feast on together tomorrow. One little tidbit, Sarah Hale is the author of the nursery rhyme, “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” Ms. Hale taught school and a student actually had a lamb follow her to school and wait for her all day. The book also touches on Ms. Hale’s advocacy for education for women–wonder if she ever visited Wesleyan?–and her stance on women’s rights in general. A great story that I didn’t know before.
Thanksgiving is one of my very favorite days of the year. I love pie. So there’s that–boy, do I love pie. My Granny’s sweet potato with coconut, my Great Great Aunt’s Buttermilk custard–I miss them all. And I miss my Mama’s dressing. She would bake cornbread and let Daddy eat a little bit–but there were no leftovers for him to have the next day. It went in the freezer for the dressing later on. I think she started saving it a couple of months out. That and breadcrumbs.
But I digress. What I love the most is the being together. The warmth, the stories, the memories being made. This year we will be back at Blackberry Flats for the first time in years, and it will be quite wonderful–I’ve already decided. The children will climb trees, and the grownups will talk, football will be on, and naps and third helpings are a given.
This year will be quite special as always, but thanks to the stories we are going to read and talk about this week, I think it will be even more so. I can’t wait to hear their laughter over the illustrations and lines about dainty women being a force to reckon with.
Mama always encouraged us to be thankful every moment, every day, but I am grateful that we have a day set aside where quiet reflection is a must, where people dance in the streets to celebrate a melding of their past and present, where a puppeteer can make big dreams come true, and where the whole country comes together, if only for a day, in one accord.
Love to all.
(and if you get a chance to read one of these books, I’d love to hear your thoughts)