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There are so many blessings that I will begin with my early childhood. It seemed like magic and certainly a miracle.
Thanksgiving is a very special time for the coming together of family and friends, sharing memories and love, remembering the people whom are less fortunate. We should not forget our service men and women, our family who had to leave this mountain on the Trail of Tears. They were hungry, tired, cold and weary, seeing a loved one not strong enough to make the journey.
The Pilgrims gave thanks and told the story of the crops and ways of survival. Think of the heartaches the Indians had when they were driven from the land they loved so much. Their lives based on the Grace of God for food, clothing, and a good cave to live in.
Traditions have been approximately the same depending on the economy and health. Early days a fat hen was cooked with dumplings, instead of a turkey. The green beans had lots of shelly beans mixed with the green ones.
The cabbage was from the second crop. Straw was used to protect them from freezing. Sweet potatoes were taken from the bin built to protect them.
We picked the turnip greens and turnips were attached. One tasted sweet and another bitter.
The black walnuts had been dried then cracked with the hammer on the fireplace hearth. Then they would be placed on the chocolate cake after holes were punched into it to allow the homemade chocolate to go through the cake. The hammer needed a nail to puncture the coconut we called “Bear Egg.” I drank the sweet milk from the Bear Egg. It was then shredded for the cake with thick white icing that you beat by a hand mixer. Bananas were mashed and used on one cake; then a rich chocolate pie. The icing was so good that the bowl was licked and some may have been pinched from the cake.
All day or two the wood cook stove kept going. There was no running water, unless mama said run to the spring and bring a bucket of water, and no electricity. About 1939 people signed up and made deposits for electricity to come and people couldn’t wait until “the juice would be turned on.” The monthly bills were $4.25 for many years. Our representatives made town visits and kept in touch. Estes Kefauver wore a coonskin cap and passed out paper dolls in Laager, Tennessee to my little sisters.
Our coalmines sent the best coal to TVA for our electricity to be made.
I really never thought we would have to pay for water or air.
This is the 50th anniversary for the Food Stamp Program and 50th anniversary for the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. It also reminds me of the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt on April 12, 1945.
I was in the eighth grade in Laager Elementary School. Gladys Brown Craig from Palmer, Tennessee was the principal at the beautiful hand laid mountain stone school that the Palmer Big Miners donated toward. Edwin Ross, Harvey Brown and many others helped with this new school. Some of the WPA workers helped to lay the stone.
April 12. 1945 the news came that President Franklin D. Roosevelt had died. I was cleaning the library. In a few minutes, I went home for lunch crying all the way thinking we would now starve to our deaths, as the 1929 Depression stories told and some that I had lived with.
Today it would take me too long to see if I could remember all the changes with modern technology. Children have cell phones and can use devices that I can’t turn on, but most people use a calculator because they do not know their multiplications. You see, I am young but old fashioned.
After working hard it was so good to hold your paycheck for a little while; no longer is that true. The plastic has to be sent or it goes to the local bank.
About the late 1960’s our Lockhart family gathered once again on Thanksgiving with about the usual; however, this new fancy stove came out called the microwave oven. The first ones came much earlier. Like everything else the price dropped with demand and supply. This one was a Tappan, I believe. The turkey was supposed to cook very fast, so dinner comes and the turkey was still raw! Dinner was served but the turkey was later after the football game and parades were over.
Again it is this special time of year, but we know that we receive blessings each day and that we should sing praises. Today is a GIFT, so enjoy it with great care, treasuring every moment. Thanks to the people who asked me to write a story and to GCH, Happy Thanksgiving.