Guest Blog by Margaret McSweeney
Each Thanksgiving, my father would leave five kernels of corn by our plates. The backdrop for this family gathering was always a formal, Southern celebration held in the dining room with the Royal Copenhagen china and silver. The week before the festivities, I would sit in the kitchen and help my parents polish each silver fork, knife and spoon until they sparkled. My dad would whistle as he prepared the homemade cornbread in my grandmother’s cast iron griddle for the dressing while my mother baked the pecan pie and basted the turkey.
After each Thanksgiving dinner, my dad would tell us the story of the Pilgrims and how they faced starvation during that first winter. Each Pilgrim was allotted only five kernels of corn for a daily sustenance. As a very young girl, I confess that I enjoyed flicking these kernels of corn towards my brothers’ plates. But as I got older, I better understood the solemnity of this tradition. Each of us would take turns lifting the kernels by our plate and counting aloud five blessings – somehow these five kernels became three kernels as the years passed. Perhaps with two sons and a squirming daughter, my parents decided to shorten this tradition to keep our attention. However, this tangible act of giving thanks and counting our blessings was a lesson from childhood that I still remember.
Even today, this is special family tradition that I keep in an effort to remind my daughters to count their blessings, too. For simplicity sake, I use three “unpopped” popcorn kernels or frozen corn. I don’t always get around to polishing the silver, but I do try to make Thanksgiving dinner a time of remembrance and gratitude to God for all that He has done. Perhaps you can add this special touch of thanks at your table, too. Let me know how it goes.