It is that time of year again when family and friends get together to share a meal and give thanks for our blessings, large and small. Some family may be chosen family, some blood relatives, and some a mixture of both, if we are lucky. It is a time of sharing memories and making memories around the table, giving thanks for the bounty we receive. And by that, I don’t just mean food, but the love, friendship, and relationships with which we have been blessed.
Though there are always those among us who are less fortunate, and we remember them on Thanksgiving and throughout the Holiday season. If we are able, we may spend some time at a soup kitchen, or make a donation to a Food Bank, or to those good organizations that look after our active duty service members unable to be with their families this day, or those who serve our veterans. May we be forever mindful of those less fortunate and in need, while being grateful for those gifts we have received.
One such gift is the following Shaker hymn, “Simple Gifts,” performed by Yo-Yo Ma and Alison Krauss:
So a beautiful hymn in its simplicity, or perhaps because of it. This rendition by Yo-Yo Ma and Alison Krauss was infused with depth and heart, moving it into a realm all its own. I am thankful for the gift of music, to be sure.
Speaking of gifts, let me once again tell you all how thankful I am for the gift of my loyal readers and commenters. It means a great deal to me that you care to read my musings, that some of you get them in your inbox, that you take the time to comment, share your thoughts, and inform us with news, or a laugh, or a song, or a story, especially when KenoshaMarge is willing to share her writings with us as well. I am grateful indeed for those of you who have been following me for years, and with whom I have developed a rich and rewarding friendship. Thank you from the bottom of my very full heart!
You likely noticed that this is not just the Thanksgiving thread, but for the weekend as well. I’ll tell you why that is. Suzy and I have the great pleasure of meeting up with my younger brother and his family in the Asheville, NC area for Thanksgiving, and to go to the Biltmore House and Gardens (more on that below).
What enables this meeting is our niece, my brother’s oldest daughter, having an interest in a university in the Upstate of South Carolina. Needless to say, we are delighted about this since they live in Mississippi (my brother and sister-in-law are both professors at Ole Miss). So this will have our niece much closer to us, and with the opportunity to see her more often. Their college visit will be done by the time we see them, and hopefully, the decision will be made.
One of the fun things my sister-in-law suggested was a visit to Biltmore House to see their Christmas decorations. I haven’t been to Biltmore in decades (I lived in Asheville for a short time in between colleges I attended), and am excited about seeing the decorations and all.
For those of you who are not familiar with Biltmore House and Gardens, it is an astonishing mansion built by George Vanderbilt back in the late 1890’s, and has expanded now to include a winery and guest facilities. Here is more about it fromt he Smithsonian Channel:
Isn’t it amazing? The size and scope of this place is just mind boggling. You get a better idea of just how large the rooms are, and the mansion itself, in the following video taken at Christmas time so you can see all of the beautiful decorations:
Having people walk around, like in the Banquet Hall, really highlights how massive the room is, how big are the fireplaces, not to mention the tree. Just amazing.
Most of all, I am delighted to be going there with my brother and his family, whom I enjoy a great deal. His two girls are 17 and 13, and just delightful. His wife is a wonderful, smart, funny woman, and spending time with them all is always a gift. So I am thankful indeed to be spending Thanksgiving with them, and just spending time with them in general.
How about you? How are you spending Thanksgiving? I hope that your Thanksgiving is a special one for you. And if you are traveling that you get to and from your destination safely.
I want to leave you with my favorite Thanksgiving hymn:
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! This is your holiday and Weekend Open Thread.