Friday, November 28, 2008

The Blessings of Family

103 years ago Max and Rose got married.

Rose was the daughter of German immigrants.

Max's ancestor had come to America and lived with and worked for Miles Standish in the 1630s.

He was not a passenger on the Mayflower and hence not a part of the "first Thanksgiving feast" in Plymouth, but his close association with Miles Standish leads me to believe that he must have heard first hand accounts of that meal with the thankful pilgrims and the native people who where their neighbors.

Yesterday, as we do every Thanksgiving, a bunch of the descendants of Rose and Max gathered at their grandson's house to enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving feast.

Like every year the day was filled with laughter and reminiscing and a little political discussion thrown in for good measure. And of course lots of good food.

When I was a child these gatherings often took place at my aunt and uncle's farm where in order to burn off energy us kids would go and run around in the hay - there was a rope you could swing from in the rafters of the barn too. Now the kids simply run back and forth in the house to burn off the energy (where's a good barn when you need it).

The most important time before any meal however is grace. And in our family we have a non-traditional tradition.

23 years ago my grandfather decided that he wanted to start a family tradition (now I know how that is done - someone with clout announces it will happen, and by golly it does).

Before the meal we gather and join hands and we sing:
Fill my house unto the fullest,
eat my bread and drink my wine
the love I bear I hold from no one,
All I have and all I do I give to you

Followed by the Great Amen.

This year we sang it twice (we had a rather fluid party - with people coming and going). The first time we sang along to my grandfather's accompaniment via recording. It was a blessing to hear his voice again - but I know I was not the only of there who got teary eyed at hearing his voice sing that familiar song again. The second time we sang it we left out the recording (it was easier on our emotions)

The one thing everyone could agree on yesterday - whether they were there for the champagne toast, the snacks, the dinner, the sandwiches later, or the whole thing - is that we are very very blessed to be a part of this family.

And I suppose we have Max and Rose to thank for it.

Note: the picture in the header is of Rose and three of her children, including my grandmother.


Barb, sfo said...

That is a very sweet tradition (with or without the recording). I don't think I could take the recording either!
Happy Thanksgiving!

Christine M said...

Thanks Barb! I hope you had a blessed Thanksgiving.