Encouragement (for Life as well as the Garden)

The Thanksgiving Most Remembered (And we ate on the floor!)

Do you remember the uncared-for old farm house I told you about in a previous post? No heat, no running water, no bathroom, no phone.

The one occupied by thousands of crickets, snakes, mice and the occasional raccoon and rat when we moved in.

Bill and I lived there 20 years and our most memorable Thanksgiving was there.

During those 20 years we had little funds to buy even necessities while we were trying to accomplish our goals as I explained in that post.

During those decades of doing without just about everything, we survived mostly on pasta and bread unless our fairly new garden was producing something. Holidays were no different in that regard.

Weather permitting (which it almost always did) we usually worked in the yard Thanksgiving and Christmas.

It didn’t take too many years before we stopped “celebrating” holidays in the conventional sense.

When gift giving holidays like birthdays and Christmas came, we never gave each other gifts. We’d give gifts at times when it fit the occasion and was much more meaningful to us than when a gift was considered necessary by convention.

We never paid any attention to Valentines day. Bill showed his love for me everyday of our 51 years together. There was absolutely no need to do whatever is expected by that holiday’s customs.

We gave thanks daily (not just on Thanksgiving) for our many blessings: being together, our health, a roof over our head, our abilities, etc. And although a traditional holiday meal is enjoyable — any meal would have been enjoyable to us back then.

By the time this most memorable Thanksgiving came along, Bill and I were in our early 40s.

Someone we knew was throwing away a used carpet that Bill thought would make the entrance hall (maybe 20 feet long x 3 feet wide) to the old house much more presentable. That’s what Bill was doing that Thanksgiving Day.  Putting the carpet in place.

He had just finished when we had unexpected company. A couple who were patrons of his work and their adult son.

They were carrying a big box.

Much to our delight the box contained Thanksgiving dinner.  Turkey, dressing, vegetable dishes, dessert, drinks, the works! Enough to eat our fill and more. It was the most delicious food we’d had in a long, long time. We couldn’t have been more excited!

When they left, we decided that since the hall was now the “prettiest” spot in that old ramshackled house we should eat on the floor.

I laid  a cloth over the carpet and put out the best dishes we had. We sat on the floor and ate that delicious meal and talked about being the luckiest people in the world on that Thanksgiving day.

I hope this Thanksgiving will be as wonderful for you as ours was to us those many years ago.

Happy Thanksgiving!



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  • Beautiful story, made me think back on some of my own Thanksgivings. It’s always been my favorite holiday because it’s about family, friends, and sharing food.

  • You have a way with words and sentiments and your Thanksgiving recollection is truly tender. I could see the scene in my mind. Have a good day on Thursday, Theresa (and everybody). Be warm and safe.

  • Such a beautiful story, Theresa. Some of my most cherished memories come from times of struggle. It puts so much of life into perspective, making it easier to be grateful for the most important things.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you! I’m grateful for your continued encouragement through your writing. You’re a blessing.

  • You touch my heart when you share your memories. I pray you will have a very happy Thanksgiving this year, and Bill will be close in thought. God Bless You.

  • Thank you Theresa! You are a cheerful soul, an encourager, a helper of joy, and a wonderful example of a true dirtgirl. I appreciate you. I hope you have a sweet Thanksgiving remembering the BEST!!

  • While your story made me sad for you that Bill is gone, I smiled , picturing that wonderful Thanksgiving moment! God Bless you Theresa.

  • I am thankful for Theresa Martz! Your conversational writings of tried and true gardening tips and life’s lessons are a joy to read. You are my hero!

  • I love your story! Thanks for sharing! I am so proud of the people who were thoughtful enough to gift you with the Thanksgiving meal! What a blessing!

  • For a brief time in my childhood (maybe 2 years) we lived in similar conditions, including the honey bucket in the corner. And I got hand me downs from my cousins in California. But one day I asked my Dad if we were rich. I simply couldn’t imagine having a better surroundings, woods & streams though we didn’t technically live “in the woods”. Your story was sooooo great. The appreciation you had was for real things, not just those foisted on us by society. Hope your Thanksgiving was truly every bit that you deserve. Hugs Mary

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