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The Village Smith 11/27

by Pat Smith on November 27, 2020


A number of years ago, Laura, her brothers and their cousins formed an LLC after they inherited the family farm outside Chester, Illinois in the southern part of the state just off the Mississippi River. The land came to them after the last of their bachelor uncles passed away. He was part of a continuous line of Knapps who worked the land since it was first acquired back in the mid-1800s.  

For many years before Uncle Bob’s death, extended family in different configurations gathered at Thanksgiving. (Sadly, not this year, of course.) Eventually that turned into the big annual event, a gathering of family, significant others and friends and children of all ages. We’ve often had 20-40 people there in these latter years. Most, if not all, of us stay at the motel in town. We gather during the day at a c.1898 farmhouse on the property in which no one lives year-round. (This house is fondly known as “The Shambles.”)

The amount of food preparation and the enjoyment of the main Thanksgiving meal takes a lot of planning and effort. Cooks use kettle grills (the turkeys primarily), the stove, the oven, slow cookers, and even an open fire outdoors. People pitch in to set up tables and chairs in three rooms. When all is ready, we stand crammed into the kitchen, one of the old folks (our generation!) reads the President’s Thanksgiving Proclamation or some other pertinent historic document, we express our thanks to God, get our food, sit down and share the fruit of our labor.

Then comes Friday. Food wise, lunch at the farm the Friday after Thanksgiving is about leftovers. I’ve learned there are people who like leftovers and those who don’t. The former like to use up food rather than throw it out or think the food tastes even better the second time around or both. The latter don’t like leftovers because they think food is only good as originally prepared. I fully appreciate this view, but have found leftovers to be pretty delectable. Besides, with leftovers there’s no need to cook another meal. How great is that!

Whatever you eat today (including ordering out because you simply can’t take any more of what you had yesterday), may you still remember to eat with a thankful heart. This would actually be the way to eat—and live—every day. May thankfulness be our constant companion on leftover day and all the days to come.

It’s good to be in touch in these remote days.


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