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Thankful Thursday

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

The original Thankful Thursday happened this last week – Thanksgiving, which is the one day a year truly dedicated to folks around a table bowing their heads with thanks. 

We’ve had some raucous and rowdy Thanksgiving days and a few quiet ones. A memorable Thanksgiving is where the political discussion got out of control, and an elder family member – my mom – stomped out. Bob was sent to mollify his mother-in-law, and as I remember, the evening was fairly quiet.  

One year, I hosted my entire family with all the good silver and good china.  When we were cleaning up, my sister remarked, “This is a lot of damn work.”

 I believe that’s the last time the silver was out, and it’s wrapped up in the gun safe. What will be the future of it, I wonder? 

Another favorite memory is of my family Christmas tree hunting during Thanksgiving weekend on the mountain. There hadn’t been a lot of snow and we were able to drive up to one of our summer pastures.  

We were scattered out looking for the perfect, fine-needled pine tree and a light snow started to come straight down. My brother, who resides near Houston, Texas, had the biggest smile on his face. It made it all worthwhile.

Another Thanksgiving weekend, Bob put a captive audience to work finishing a mudroom attached to our house. We hammered a lot of nails, drank a lot of beer, and got ’er done. Now when I say I’d like to host Thanksgiving, my family will ask, “What project are you doing?” before they decide. 

When our son Jim was at college, we determined Thanksgiving break would be a good time for him to bring some buddies home and we would put metal roofing on our house. I knew the boys would be so appreciative of a few home-cooked meals. 

It was beautiful fall weather the week preceding, but as the time got closer, the weather report became more ominous. Of course, it was brutally cold for the duration, and I’m just glad everyone has short memories of how cold it was as they labored up above. I was mostly in the warm kitchen.

Growing up, my mom always cooked a pan of cornbread in her cast iron skillet the night before Thanksgiving for cornbread dressing. It seems like we mostly prepare our turkey dinner the same as what we grew up with.   

My mom would also simmer the turkey neck and giblets to make giblet gravy, but that’s one tradition I’ve bypassed. My hard-working dogs get those pieces now.

Pickled beets, black olives, pumpkin and pecan pie, as well as canned whole cranberry sauce would appear. My sister bakes a mean pumpkin roll, and my other sister makes a cranberry Jell-O salad that we’ll see when we’re together. My daughter-in-law prepares a tasty red cabbage dish imported from her home in Austria. Bob grew up with creamed baby onions and bread stuffing that I came to love at his mother’s table. 

This year we’ll break tradition: We won’t be traveling over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house. My kids’ grandmothers have both passed, and I’m the grandmother now to two boisterous grandkids. We decided to convene at my son’s home to have a gorgeous prime rib for Thanksgiving dinner. 

I’m so thankful for a lifetime of Thanksgiving memories – they fill my soul. One thing I’m grateful for this year is the fact that 2021 is almost over, with the eternal optimism of one in agriculture, next year will be better. 

I hope for timely rains and green grass, a longer spring, cooler summer and good market prices for our commodities. Here is my blessing to all of you. 

“It’s a troublesome world. All the people who’re in it are troubled with troubles almost every minute. You oughta be thankful a whole heaping lot, for the places and people you’re lucky you’re not.” – “Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?” By Dr. Seuss, 1973.

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