Monday, November 24, 2008

Thank you for what you grow

In my grandparents' generation, many Americans had to grow much of their own food in order to eat. All four of my grandparents were born before and lived through the Great Depression. They came from farm families and worked on farms part or most of their lives.

My mother's mother also maintained a large garden, which provided fresh vegetables for the summer with plenty left over to can for winter meals too. There was not money for luxuries — things my generation and my daughter's generation now take for granted — but there was always plenty to eat. And the dinner table was the centerpiece of family gatherings.

A lot of families will be gathering this weekend for feasts of Thanksgiving. Perhaps the economic hardships so many are experiencing will make us remember the more basic things of life for which we should be thankful — things like having food to eat and family and friends with which we can share our meal and our fellowship.

I feel fortunate that members of my family, to present day, still make it possible for so many people to put food on their holiday table by working in agriculture. Most Americans are far removed from the farm and have little idea where their food comes from or what it takes to grow it. I've got to see those things first hand and am proud of my family members who help grow food, not only for their neighbors, but the nation and the world.

My grandparents are all gone now. My mom's mom was the last to go shortly after Thanksgiving last year. My grandparents, and several aunts and uncles, won't be around to share in the feasts of Thanksgiving. But I can't help but think of all of the family gatherings, holidays and special occasions that revolved around a family dinner table and featured food our family has grown with their own hands or had a hand in growing.

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for my family and friends, near and far, and all the people who help feed us all. Their work, a labor of love and great sacrifice, is worth far more than they will ever receive in financial compensation. They deserve to be remembered and thanked this holiday as we remember the many blessings we are fortunate to enjoy.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

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