Above / Appreciate the power of Thanksgiving with family, friends and neighbors. The descendants of the Gertrude and Paul Mitchell have been gathering together to count their blessings since the days the family all fit in the dining room of their farm in Battle Ground, Indiana. (Mitchell Family Photo 1950)
And with cherished memories for years and years of singing “Over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house we go” with my two younger brothers as we crossed the Wabash River on our approach to Battle Ground, I am forever grateful to count my blessings for my precious family every day and especially on Thanksgiving Day.
And may the grace of Thanksgiving continue throughout the holiday season.
A memory from Nov. 24, 2016 / Aunt Ruthie, who always has the last word, is pictured here with Uncle Phil, the youngest of nine Mitchell children, and Aunt Marjorie, the oldest.
For comparison, Aunt Ruthie is pictured at age 18 in the vintage photo above at the dining room table, just to the right of Grandma Mitchell and next to Uncle Phil, then 13. Aunt Marjorie, then 27, is holding her infant daughter, Phyllis.
The three children of Gertrude and Paul Mitchell continue to host Thanksgiving dinner for all the descendants of their parents. And we always are grateful for the memories of the Thanksgiving family reunions that bring us together to count our blessings for our grandparents and their children— Aunt Jessie, Aunt Jeanne, Aunt Frannie, Aunt Carol (my mother), Uncle Floyd, Uncle David—who always will be remembered for their fun-loving and prayerful spirit.
Aunt Ruthie always sets up a table for crafts where every year everyone in attendance has the opportunity to create the “Christmas ornament of the year.”
In more recent years, she’s also added readings with wit and wisdom from the newsletter put out by a senior organization to which she belongs.
Black November… A Turkey’s Horror Story
When I was a young turkey, new to the coop,
My big brother Mike took me out on the stoop,
Then he sat me down, and he spoke real slow,
And he told me there was something that I had to know;
His look and his tone I will always remember,
When he told me of the horrors of … Black November;
“Come about August, now listen to me,
Each day you’ll be thick, where once you were thin,
And you’ll grow a big rubbery thing under your chin.
“And then one morning, when you’re warm in your bed,
In’ll burst the farmer’s wife, and hack off your head;
“Then she’ll pluck out all your feathers so you’re bald and pink,
And scoop out all your insides and leave you laying in the sink,
“And then comes the worst part” he said not bluffing,
“She’ll spread your cheeks and pack your rear with stuffing.”
Well, the rest of his words were too grim to repeat,
I sat on the stoop like a winged piece of meat,
And decided on the spot that to avoid being cooked,
I’d have to lay low and remain overlooked;
I began a new diet of nuts and granola,
High-roughage salads, juice and diet cola,
And as they ate pastries, chocolates and crepes,
I stayed in my room doing Jane Fonda tapes,
I maintained my weight of two pounds and a half,
And tried not to notice when the bigger birds laughed;
But ’twas I who was laughing, under my breath,
As they chomped and they chewed, ever closer to death;
And sure enough when Black November rolled around,
I was the last turkey left in the entire compound;
So now I’m a pet in the farmer’s wife’s lap;
I haven’t a worry, so I eat and I nap,
She held me today, while sewing and humming,
And smiled at me and said, “Christmas is coming…”
—Recited by Ruth Weekley at Ross Camp, Mitchell Family Thanksgiving, November 26, 2015