The Roots of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is one of the high holidays of the US, involving traditions of being with family, eating a bountiful meal of traditional foods, and hopefully taking time to give thanks for what we have been given. You know the traditional story of the first Thanksgiving involving Pilgrims, Native Americans, feasting and all that, but history is always good to review occasionally, as you often learn something new.

American Thanksgiving may have its roots in mother England, where harvest-home ceremonies were common. Here certain days in the autumn were reserved to thank God for blessing the people with good harvests. The first recorded observance of Thanksgiving in America was not done by the Pilgrims, and did not involve any feasting, but was entirely religious in nature. On December 4, 1619 a group of 38 English settlers landed at a spot on the James River near present day Charles City, Virginia. The charter of this group required that the day of their arrival be observed as a Day of Thanksgiving to God.

Our modern traditions of Thanksgiving do have roots with the Pilgrims, however. So who were these guys? A group of people set sail from Plymouth England in September of 1620 on the Mayflower. There were 102 passengers, of whom less than half were known as Separatists, or Saints, people who wanted complete separation from the Church of England. The rest were called the “Strangers”, hired men, servants, and others who wanted to start a new life in the New World. When land was sighted the two groups met and formulated the Mayflower Compact, an agreement that assured equality between them. The passengers as a group became known as the Pilgrims, but not until around 1840. Someone pointed out that William Bradford, leader of the Plymouth colony, had once noted that the Saints left England, which he said was a good and pleasant place, but “they (the Saints) knew they were pilgrims, and looked not much on those things, but lift up their eyes to ye heavens, their dearest country, and quieted their spirits”.

The Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock in December of 1620. The harsh Massachusetts winter killed around half of the original 102; the survivors included only four adult women and almost 40% children. In the Spring of 1621, the Pilgrims were taken under the wing of the nearby Wampanoag Tribe, and taught to plant corn, pumpkins, and beans, and how to hunt and fish local game. In early autumn of 1621, the Pilgrims arranged a harvest festival to recognize the help given by the natives, and to give thanks for having survived. The festival lasted three days. Wild game and fish of all sorts was served, no doubt including turkey, a plentiful game bird. The term “turkey” by the way was used by the Pilgrims to mean any type of wild fowl. Vegetables included berries, boiled pumpkin, watercress, leeks, dried fruit, wild plums, and cornbread. The celebration was a onetime event, and it was 55 years before another Thanksgiving Day was officially proclaimed.

Our modern Thanksgiving is chock full of enjoyable activities that include family, food, and football. But remember to take time to look up and reflect on where it all comes from throughout our lives. Remember to give thanks to the Giver.

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Winter recreational activities

When snow, ice and frigid weather blast into town, you should take precautions to prevent injury. Winter recreational activities can pose problems for the outdoor enthusiast whose body is not properly conditioned. Winter sports like skating, skiing and sledding can cause painful muscle spasms, strains or tears if you haven’t taken the time to warm up.

Author Russell Fine Releases Sixth Novel

Knoxville TN: Local, multi-published author Russell Fine, Author of the Frank Carver Mystery books, has released his sixth book, The California Experiment.
The California Experiment takes place in 2025, after the democrats lose their third presidential election in a row. A California billionaire, who has used his wealth to buy the California legislature decides that California must secede from the United States and become an independent country. He makes it happen, but quickly discovers that he is not going to be able to create the utopia he expected.

Local Author Nan Klee Releases Book Three in Series

Knoxville TN: Multi-published science fiction author Nan Klee has announced the release of DreaganDance, the conclusion of her DreaganStar Saga. Following DreaganStar and DreaganGrey, books one and two in this series, DreaganDance carries readers to the conclusion of the chaotic universe of Samantha Alexander due to her involvement with the first experimental faster-than-light (FTL) spaceship, the DreaganStar. Set in the five lunar colonies, DreaganDance tells of the espionage, intrigue, romance, and mad science surrounding the first FTL starship during its experimental stage.

Miracle in the Ditch

When my Papaw E.O. was young, his father once told him that he would have to hire another farm hand just to keep an eye on him.
If you have read any of my articles or storytelling books, you know my Papaw E.O. was very accident-prone. Yes, I’ll admit it, I am that way too. But I think most of his came from the fact that he was easily distracted.

A Captive Audience

After a long day, with a few extra hours at work at the office, I drove home to eat a bowl of popcorn. It was lightly flurrying when I arrived home. After a pleasant hour and a half with my cat, wife, popcorn, and the local and national news, it suddenly occurred to me that I had forgotten to write and submit this article. Thanks to a phone conversation earlier this evening with a co-worker, I did have a topic for you, Faithful Reader. There are times that inspiration just doesn’t seem to find me, but luckily due to the lateness of the hour I don’t have writer’s block.

Turkey and noodles

This recipe is so simple. We know you have turkey leftover from the big day. Make it when some time has passed and the leftovers are lounging in your freezer. Of course, you could make it with the leftover pieces of rotisserie chicken you picked up at Food City. It is good either way. I first made this recipe the Thanksgiving I discovered Brined Turkey Breast. It is a staple in my menu box.

My unhappy poinsetta

How can a poinsettia be unhappy, you say? Let me tell you this sorry tale. It began Easter 2018 when I donated two Easter lilies for the altar at church. They were returned to me after the holiday. That is the usual procedure.
I sat the lilies, still with blooms, on a bookcase below a southern exposure window in my office at the back of my house. I watered them from time to time during that summer. By fall, the leaves had fallen and the stalk was dead. I stopped watering them, but they remained at the window. I cut off their stalks.

The Christmas Tradition of Advent

My church celebrated the beginning of Advent December 1st by carrying out the “hanging of the green” tradition of decorating the church sanctuary for the Christmas season. Our pastor explained the meaning of the Advent tradition, which was good because while I had heard of it, I didn’t really know what it about. I’m all about old traditions, and so it sparked my own research on the subject, which I thought I would share.

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Miracles of Christmas Past

Children's Nativity scene, Cleveland, TN LDS ward. Picture taken by the author.

Christmas can be such a magical time of the year, even under adversity….

There was a Christmas when I wondered if we’d be able to give our young children Christmas presents. I had begun working for the McMinn County School system a few months earlier and we were still recovering from six months of unemployment.

Hold On To Your Hat

How fast are you traveling right now?

Hopefully, your answer is something like “zero” or “I’m not moving at all” unless you are reading this as a passenger in a car, plane or bus. Whatever your answer is, I can say with a reasonable amount of assurance that you are wrong. Some of you may be way ahead of me here, but my guess is that most of you never give this subject much thought. I’m about to change all of that. I’m sorry–and you’re welcome.

Events

Union County Board Of Education

Thursday, December 12, 2019 - 18:00
UNION COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION

The next regular workshop and meeting of the Union County Board of Education will be held at Union County High School on Thursday, December 12, 2019. The workshop will begin at 6:00 p.m. with the meeting immediately to follow.

The Union County Board of Education will meet in Executive Session at Union County High School at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 12, 2019 in anticipation of litigation.

UCBPA Meeting

Tuesday, January 14, 2020 - 12:00

UCBPA meets the second Tuesday of each month for approximately one hour. Membership is $25 annually. The meeting begins at noon at Hardee's in Maynardville. Anyone interested in making Union County a better place to live, work, worship, or play may attend.

Obituary

Howard "Eddie" Wright

Howard “Eddie” Wright-age 60 of Maynardville passed away Saturday, December 7, 2019 at U. T. Medical Center. He was a member of Ailor Dale Baptist Church. Preceded in death by brother, Walley Wright; father and mother-in-law, Seb and Gloria Ailor; sisters-in-law, Karen F. Miller, Lila G. Tiller.

Brentley Justin Keelen

Brentley Justin Keelen-age 2 of Indian Ridge Road, Rutledge went to become an angel Saturday afternoon, December 7, 2019 near his home. Preceded in death by grandfather, Mitchell Burgess. Survivors: mother, Samantha Burgess; father, Dustin Keelen; half-brothers, Darius Gage Morgan and Xavier Blaze Morgan; grandparents, Bruce Keelen; Mavis and James Harrell; Trishia Burgess; great-grandmother, Lillie P.

James A. "Jim" Clay, Jr.

James Anderson “Jim” Clay, Jr.-age 63 of Washburn went home to be with his Heavenly Father Friday morning, December 6, 2019 while surrounded by his family at his home. He was a long-time member of Mt. Eager Baptist Church. Jim was a former employee of Plasti-Line Inc. and was a retired Barber. Everyone who knew him loved him. Preceded in death by his parents, Jim and Ruth Clay; sisters, Lois Dalton and Rhonda Clay; brother, Rev. Johnny Clay.

Barbara Beeler McGinnis

Barbara Beeler McGinnis-age 84 of Washburn went to be with the Lord Thursday, December 5, 2019 at her home. Preceded in death by brothers and sisters-in-law, J. R. (Grace) Beeler; Don (Wanda) Beeler; Bill (Lillian) Beeler, all of Washburn; Hazel Lester of Tazewell.

She is survived by her children, Rick (Alice) McGinnis of Knoxville; Rita (Jim) Teffteller of Rutledge; Debbie (Gary) Wood and Jeff McGinnis, all of Washburn. She had eight grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren. Several nieces, nephews and a host of friends.

Wayne Clifton Smith

Wayne Clifton Smith-age 86 of Heiskell passed away peacefully Tuesday, December 3, 2019 at his home with is family by his side. He was of the Baptist faith and a member of Macedonia Baptist Church. He was a U. S. Army Veteran and a member of the Tri-County Veterans Honor Guard. He was a member of J. C. Baker Lodge #720 F. & A.M.

He leaves behind his wife of 61 years, Shirley Smith; children, Charlotte Diane, Wayne, Tim, Rick and wife, Dolly; Darrell and Beverly. He was also blessed with 19 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.

E. J. Ray

E. J. Ray-age 73 of Maynardville went home peacefully Monday evening, December 2, 2019 at his home. He was a member of Fairview Baptist Church. Preceded in death by parents, Andy and Maggie Ray; sisters, Dorthy, Gladys and Mary Patricia Ray; brother, Jr Ray.

Cynthia Dawn Hensley

Cynthia Dawn (Cooper) Hensley-age 53 of Luttrell, born January 18, 1966 passed away Monday morning, December 2, 2019 at her home. Cynthia was a member of Jim Town Baptist Church and an employee of the Horace Maynard Middle School. Preceded in death by father, Rev. E. R. Cooper; mother, Opal Raley Cooper; brothers, Mark and Tony Cooper.

David Ray Richards, Jr.

David Ray Richards, Jr. age 43 of Knoxville passed away Thursday, November 28, 2019 on Thanksgiving Day. David worked at Legend Fitness in Knoxville. He was born and raised on the south side of Knoxville and blessed to have touched so many lives with his charm and outgoing personality.

John Bolt Tatum, Jr.

John B. Tatum, Jr.-age 70 of Sharps Chapel, Tennessee, formerly of Piqua, Ohio passed away suddenly Saturday, November 30, 2019 at his home. He was a member of St. Mary Catholic Church in Piqua, Ohio; U. S. Air Force Veteran of the Viet Nam War; retired employee of Dinner Bell Meat Processing and also worked at Simpson Industries and Clopay Building Products. John loved living on Norris Lake where he enjoyed boating, fishing and hunting. John, along with his wife fostered several children for 13 years.

Lt. Kenneth Thomas Bowman

Lt. Kenneth Thomas Bowman – K. T.’s family are sad and heartbroken to announce his passing November 27, 2019 peacefully at his home after a lengthy illness. Much appreciation to all his doctors, nurses, DCI Dialysis Clinic on Martin Mill Pike and Amedisys Home Health. He was born January 18, 1939 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the son of the late Ralph and Francis Bowman. U. S. Army Veteran of the Viet Nam War and served 1956 – 1966 obtaining many awards to include the Bronze Star Medal. K. T.

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