Monday, December 9, 2019

Thanksgiving Weekend: Into the Christmas Holiday 2019

Tradition.  That's what we're about.
Whether some like it or not,  we Americans are more traditional than most realize.  Oh, yes we are.  It's clearly seen just by the way we go about the calendar year,  and I have also seen on numerous YouTube videos from Europeans speaking on America and Americans and noting the differences between us and them.
A single lit candle can 
emanate so much atmosphere.
One of the things I've heard mentioned from more than one and  more than once was how we in the States have state pride,  American pride,  and enjoy our many various traditions,  of which we have plenty.  It's also been noted how much of our past we actually know and embrace,  for one particular Scottish gentleman commented on how little of the Scottish history is known by born and bred Scots in comparison to what we Americans know about our history.  We live our history in so many various ways and quote lines or passages from famous Americans of long ago.  We also have our past on our money,  continuously tout our Constitution  (written in 1787) ,  visit and support our many museums  (Colonial Williamsburg,  Greenfield Village,  Old Salem,  Conner Prairie,  Old Sturbridge Village,  Plimouth Plantation,  and countless others).  We also venture out to cider mills every fall,  celebrate Hallowe'en more traditionally than most realize,  seize the 4th of July and our declaration for independence in 1776,  remember our soldiers who have given their last full measure of devotion on Memorial Day,  enjoy old-time car cruises,  head to the small historic towns with 18th and/or 19th century buildings to walk around and shop in the quaint stores,  visit hundreds of reenactments of various battles in nearly every state in the union,  and watch history-oriented TV shows,  plays,  and movies,  keeping them at the top of the ratings and listings,  and praise & quote our founders  ("early to bed,  early to rise,"  "four score and seven years ago,"  "When in the course of human events,"  etc).
Plus,  we give thanks to God  (or to whoever,  for we do have freedom of religion here)  every 4th Thursday in November...honoring and remembering those early Americans who celebrated their first harvest in the New World back in 1621,  along with the Natives that helped them.
And then there's Christmas,  the most celebrated holiday of the calendar year,  where even the most non-celebrant will at least give some acknowledgement to December 25 and,  whether they like it or not,  will spend a bit of time during the season with family & friends and,  whether they admit it or not,  will actually have somewhat of a good time  (can you say Todd and Margo from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation?).
And we in my family are right there among the greater majority of Americans who do just the same in fervently celebrating the holiday season.
Oh,  we love it!
So,  for this week's post I would like to share with you how the Thanksgiving weekend traditions were celebrated in my home in this year of 2019.
~Welcome to my home~
Normally I would have to bring the leaf out to make the table 
larger,  but,  unfortunately,  six from my family were missing this 
year,  due to varying reasons including a pretty nasty illness that 
put a few out of commission.
Either way,  all were missed. 

*poof *!
And there we are!  The healthy ones!

Enjoying our traditional Thanksgiving meal.
Before we ate,  however,  I took a few pictures of the  "Greenfield Village room,"  as it's called by my friends.  Last spring I changed it up a bit and gave part of it a colonial feel  (read my post about that HERE - I added more photographs to the post as the year progressed,  by the way),  so this was a good opportunity to get a few cool night shots.
We must be rich,  for we had nine candles lit at the same time,
including one not in this shot~~~~~
Plus,  on the wall behind me,  the oil lamp was lit as well - - !

My camera is from 2009 and does not always have some of the stronger capabilities that the more up-to-date cameras have now.  In fact,  my son's phone actually took a few of the following pictures,  which turned out very well indeed!
I absolutely love the way the candle flames were
captured in the low light of this picture.

This captured the look nicely.
Of course,  the candles did not make it this bright.

From colonial to Victorian like * that!

My nod to the Victorians such as my own grandparents.
The Currier & Ives print is an original that came
with the frame that also included a lock of hair in 

a blue ribbon,  which I left as it was.

My grandson kept an eye on the pies!
Pumpkin and apple!

Now,  if you were to ask me what my favorite part of Thanksgiving 2019 was,  I would have to say having my grandson help me put out the candles.
He used the snuffer for the candles in the sconces.

And blew out the more accessible ones on his own.

The following day - Black Friday - is a day I normally spend at Greenfield Village.  This year it didn't work out for me to do so,  so it was decided that Black Friday was going to be blue-ish green with some white thrown in.
Christmas Tree Cutting day!
There was no snow on the ground in my Detroit suburb,  But the 
farther north we traveled,  the whiter the ground and trees became.

Living in the Great Midwest gives me the opportunity to see 
beautiful country views that many only see in photographs.
This lone barn really stood out to me.

The rolled hay was not too far away.

The rolling countryside.

There it is:  Western's Tree Farm!
We have been coming to this place to get our Christmas Tree 

for 32 years - since 1987!
The owners,  Scott & Jill Western,  know us well,  for we just may very well be their most dedicated and oldest continuing customers.  They serve hot chocolate,  hot dogs,  and chocolate chip cookies inside,  and they also sell neat little country Christmas decorations not found at other places.
But perhaps my favorite part of all is the horse and wagon ride out to the trees.
Here comes the horse-drawn wagon...

They do have tractors as well,  but we prefer the horses.
Do you see the treeline wa-ayyy back there?  The next picture 

shows us going through to the far reaches of the tree farm:
And this is where we get off the cart and walk a bit.
Simply beautiful.

I'm not sure which type of tree these are,  but we strolled past 
them.  We prefer the spruces,  which are our favorite.  We've tried 
others but nothing compares to the spruce,  in our opinion.

And there it is - - our tree for 2019:
a blue spruce!
And it is lightly covered in snow!
We cut it down with the saw provided by Western's and waited for the tractor to pick us up.  The horses don't go in the way back but the tractors do,  and we were brought back to the cabin where our tree was shaken  (not stirred)  to get rid of any loose needles,  then wrapped,  and then taken to the van.
From inside the cabin looking out the window.

The group photo was taken in front of the hearth.  Jill Western,  
on the left,  joined us for our picture,  though I have no idea who 
the photo-bomb lady in the background is  (lol).
After warming up a bit with hot chocolate,  we were off once again.  this time to another tradition:
a visit to the Village of Lexington  (Michigan):
There's the sign for the General Store as well as the
one for Wimpy's - two must-stops for us.
Lexington,  originally known as Greenbush until 1846  (the first settlers here were in 1837),  was the first settlement on the shore of Lake Huron north of Port Huron.  According to the Post Office archives,  the name Lexington was chosen in 1846 for the first battle of the Revolutionary War.   A trail was the only passage through the timberlands of pine and hardwoods that covered the land between the two places.  It was the center for lumberjacks,  fur traders,  and sailors who moved up and down the wood-plank sidewalks.
The General Store is right out of the
late 19th and early 20th century.
And,  as mentioned,  we made a stop at Wimpy's burger place.  In my opinion,  they serve the best burgers in the business.  They are a bar burger without the bar:
Good greasy burgers with grilled onions,  fries,  and a Coke  
(well,  a Dr. Pepper this time).
And now just a bit more on Lexington's history.  Here are a few of the shops and businesses that were in this Village in the 19th century,  beginning with the 11 years from 1839 though 1850:  a foundry,  a flour mill,  shoe making,  boat building,  the Bell & Son Drug Store  (which sold paint,  oil,  and groceries as well),  a cabinet and furniture store - perhaps he was also a coffin builder,  for there was an undertaker's parlor connected to it,  a planing mill,  and three more stores that carried dry goods,  groceries,  crockery,  hardware,  and school books.
The next decade saw a law office,  a tailoring business,  a doctor's office,  and a shop that sold saddles,  harnesses,  and horse hardware,  a general store  (not the one there now),  and a barbershop.
The restored Cadillac Hotel from 1860.
And the 1860s saw even more stores open up,  including a bakery,  a brewery,  a jewelry & bookstore combination,  a hardware store,  and two blacksmith shops  with one having a wagon and carriage shop connected to it.
Of course,  as the decades rolled on,  new and different businesses came and went.  Fortunately,  as you can see with the Cadillac House,  a number of the 19th century buildings are still standing and being utilized.
Beautiful small town Americana.
The first hotel,  built of logs in 1840,  was located where the 
Cadillac Hotel now stands.
The present Cadillac House,   (on the left here and in the photo below),  opened with a ball in 1860 and originally had a livery 
stable connected to it.
The top picture was taken in the late 19th century or very early 
20th while the bottom was taken by me in November 2019.

Merry Christmas from Lexington,  Michigan!

Now we head into Saturday and Sunday,  to the Holly Dickens Festival over in Holly,  Michigan  (another wonderful Victorian Village),  the oldest,  longest running Dickens Festival in the United States - 46 years as of 2019.
The old world Christmas music group I head up,  Simply 
Dickens,  was back,  once again,  at the Dickens Festival.
Here they are inside one of the many antique shops that Holly is 
so well known for.
This is where Simply Dickens got its start back in 2001 when the original members included my son,  Tommy  (who is still in the group),  and a couple other young teens.  My thought behind forming this group was to perform carols that the other singers were not doing.  Old world carols such as All You That Are Good Fellows,  The Boar's Head Carol,  The Gloucestershire Wassail,  Past 3:00,  Masters In This Hall,  Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day,  The Wexford Carol,  and many others.
We also perform on the streets in front of businesses as well,  and 
we always seem to draw a pretty good and festive crowd.
Now,  I said Simply Dickens was formed in 2001.  What I didn't say was that Tommy has been singing these old world carols here for a number of years before that as a soloist.
Inside a candy and cake shop.

One of the fun things we like to do is to take some out-of-the-ordinary photos,  such as this with what could be three undertakers.
I heard Scrooge died last night.

I like mirror pictures,  and Diana was
perfectly framed in this mirror.
Or maybe she was actually in the mirror!

Another Diana picture:
she became a grandma this year for the first time.
And her last name actually is Moses.
And...she also is an art teacher.
It was meant to be.

Methinks Tom C.  is taking this Dickens thing a little too seriously.
I wonder if he,  too,  is dreaming of Dickens characters?

Posing with the horse and carriage.
Michelle,  the carriage driver I am sitting next to,  has been a part 

of the Holly Dickens Festival longer than I have,  and I began in 1997.

Aside from the illnesses that plagued so many this first week,  we made it through and continued on to make the season merry and bright.  In fact,  one more unfortunate incident occurred before week's end:  our Christmas tree toppled over,  smashing numerous bulbs,  a couple of which we've had since our first Christmas together.  The tree was just too big for the stand we had - I should have known better.  We tried tying it to the window latch,  but I could see the string growing tighter and tighter and probably would have ended up snapping and another tree catastrophe.  So I ended up cutting over a foot off the bottom.  It is now much smaller but we won't have to worry about it toppling over again.  This was a first-time-ever happening for me.
One is never too old to learn from mistakes.
So here is our new modified tree for 2019,  which we decorated a few days after the falling:
At least we were all able to help decorate this time!
Yes,  this is my family,  and I love  'em every one!

Not only do we Americans treasure the past more than many realize,  but we will have history from other countries sort of become our own past as well.  A good example of this is a quote I have from Gerald Charles Dickens,  the great great grandson of THE  Charles Dickens  (who wrote the great  "A Christmas Carol"):
"The  'Carol'  is 10 times more popular in America than it is in England.  In England,  the  'Carol'  is just a story.  In America the  'Carol'  is  Christmas."
Why do you think this is?
I believe it's because of,  well,  our traditions.
And,  yes,  a love of  the past.
So what better time to have traditions,  past and present,  than during the Thanksgiving and Christmas season?

Until next time,  see you in time.

For more information on the Holly Dickens festival,  click HERE

~   ~   ~   ~

1 comment:

An Historical Lady said...

Awww Ken your home is just beautiful! Love you blog---always have for years. I fondly remember writing my own blog for 5 years...Merry Christmas to you and your lovely family.