“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” G.K. Chesterton
Is there anyone besides me who thinks that our traditional Thanksgiving holiday has gone missing?
No one on the planet loves Christmas more than me. The holy majestic miraculous celebration! The food, the gatherings, the music, the people!
What I don’t love is feeling smothered by a heavy blanket of marketing that demands, “more More MORE and rush Rush RUSH!” In social media, print ads and big box stores (ugh), every imaginable trinket, doodad, tchotchke, article of clothing, kitchen item, decoration, game, plastic toy, seems heaped on burgeoning shelves. (As I often remind my organizing clients, “The goal of manufacturers is to create profit, not to improve your life.”) I don’t mean to be a grouch, but honestly is that what Christmas is really all about?
Thanksgiving is only a few days away. I’m laying out the fall decorations I’ve had for so many years. Not fancy, but important because the simple traditions tie us together and remind us that in ongoing change some things are the same. We are always family. Yesterday I made my easy chocolate clusters just so I could fill the glass pumpkin-shaped jar that probably came from a discount store thirty plus years ago.
Think of me as the self-designated Keeper of the Thanksgiving Light. The flame is waning—it’s brightness dimmed by blinding lights clamoring for compulsive shopping and excess. The lighthouse calls gently and rhythmically to those who’d listen. “Remember to pause, be thankful, breathe. Remember who you are, what’s most important and how to really love your people.”
Let’s call to mind all the real gifts we’ve undeservingly received. Sometimes we are moving too fast to notice. Thanksgiving beckons us to pause, open our eyes to the present moment and to wait a few more days before the foray into frenzy.
My Thanksgiving gift to you is a recipe for the simplest and best pumpkin bread ever, especially when you spiff it up with my favorite addition!
JULIE’S PUMPKIN BREAD
3 Cups Sugar
1 Cup Oil
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2/3 Cup water
2 Cups Pumpkin (one 15 oz. can)
3 1/3 Cups Flour
1 Cup Raisins (optional) OR my personal favorite: 1 Cup Chocolate Chips!
Mix ingredients together in a large bowl and pour into 3 greased and floured loaf pans (8 inch or 9 inch). Bake 1 hour @ 350 degrees. Cool briefly before turning out.