Thursday, November 30, 2023

Thanksgiving Weekend Traditions 2023: Present Meets Past Meets Present

Home for the Holidays.
Happy Holidays.
Seasons Greetings.
Andy Williams sang  "It's the holiday season..."
What is the Holiday Season?
Some think of it as Christmas,  or maybe Christmas and New Years.
I open the door of perception
to the past
and the 
I think of it as Thanksgiving,  Christmas Eve,  Christmas Day,  New Years,  and even January 6  (Epiphany / Three Kings Day / Orthodox Christmas),  for all do tie in together,  even though each are separate holidays.  Christmas and New Years have been tied into a single greeting going back to  (as far as I have read)  the early 18th century.  And when the first Christmas Card was printed in 1843,  it said  "Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year To You."  And with Thanksgiving,  that harvest holiday,  used as a sort of gateway to the Christmas Season,  with Santa coming to town in parades all over the US on that 4th Thursday in November,  I suppose it can be considered as part of  "the holidays."
I have celebrated Thanksgiving in two time periods this year - - in 1773 and  in the present;  my 1773 experience you can read about HERE.  This is my living history home with my living history family.
Then there is my actual real-life home with my actual real life family,  all set in the modern day,  though with a period flair.  
Then there is the adventure of cutting down our Christmas Tree,  which is something we all look forward to.
Visiting historic Greenfield Village has been a Thanksgiving Weekend tradition for me since 2009,  and every time I am wearing my period clothing...oftentimes with like-minded friends.  I have included a few photos here,  but I am planning an entire post on it for next week. 
Passion for the Past for this week is a mixing bowl of past and present with a historically traditional flair to it.

--- ~   ~   ~ ----

In my mind,  atmosphere is nearly as important as the food.  My wife and I try to fill our house with a sort of sensurround by way of sight  (candle lit room),  smell,  touch,  and taste  (oh! the food we have!  The scent and taste of  turkey,  stuffing with raisins & nuts,  rutabaga,  green beans  (fresh from our garden!),  corn,  mashed potatoes,  squash,  sweet potatoes,  pumpkin pie,  apple pie,  cranberry sauce, wassail to drink!),  and sound  (the family voices,  from young to old,  all joyously partaking in this wonderful American holiday).
It is an old holiday,  this harvest known as Thanksgiving,  and is celebrated in as many differing ways as there are people in our great country.
My table is all set for our Thanksgiving meal.
Yes,  canned cranberries - we also have jellied as well.

One of my/our traditions is eating our Thanksgiving dinner by candle light -
all hand dipped either by me or my living history friends...and some by family!

Our  "harvest"  table we got last year is perfect.

The pumpkins are not just for decoration - my wife,  Patty,  actually
uses them to make pies and squash.
Though they do add a bit of a harvest flavor to the look...
Patty truly goes all out for our meal,  as I do in the atmosphere.  I like to keep our gatherings as such that they will always be remembered long after my wife and I are gone:
"I remember as a kid going to my Nonna and Papa's house for Thanksgiving - they always made it extra special!"
I suppose that would sort of be a legacy for Patty & I to leave...and I wouldn't do it any other way,  for this is our thing,  our way.  Let everyone else be normal.

As I mentioned,  the very next day - Black Friday - a few friends and I ventured off to historic Greenfield Village.  Here are a few photos from that excursion,  in keeping with the historical situation:
Being that we are representing the 1770s,  walking through the 1832 Ackley Covered Bridge just is not historically accurate.  It is to my understanding that erecting covered bridges in America didn't occur until early in the 19th century.  The first known covered bridge constructed in the United States was the Permanent Bridge, 
completed in 1805 to span the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia.
I didn't know this until recently.
Don't you just love research?
Photographer Kathy Brock took this wonderful picture.
However,  here is something that may  "override"  the research:
considering all of us in the above picture are aged 60 or above,  we older folks who lived during and remembered the era of the American Revolution could very possibly still be wearing our older-style fashions even as late as into the 19th century. 
An interesting fact not well-known about Paul Revere,  for example,  is that,  "As the  (19th)  century advance(d),  small boys begin to appear---all eyes,  all ears,  they watch  'old Mr. Revere'  in church,  on the street,  at his foundry.  Some sixty or seventy years later,  when asked,  they remember him well.  Rowland Ellis remembers  (Paul Revere)  as a  'thick-set,  round faced not very tall person who always wore small clothes.'  The Ellis family pew in the  'New Brick Church'  was directly behind that of Revere,  and there Mr.  Ellis says,  "I used to see him as regularly as the Sabbath came."
The oddity of  'small clothes'  alone would be remembered by a small boy.  The old elegance of knee-breeches,  ruffled shirts,  long stockings,  and cocked hats had passed out of fashion years before.  Others besides Paul Revere  (also)  clung to their picturesque costume of their youth.  There were a number of these  'last leaves'  about Boston.  It may have been a sin for small boys  'to sit and grin...but the old three-cornered hat,  and the breeches and all that,  are so queer.' "
So,  I suppose seeing us  "last leaves"  crossing the covered bridge may not seem so out of order after all!
Norm & Charlotte~
A few trees still holding onto their leaves,  even in late November.

Always have to hit the Daggett House.
I am proud of my pretty well-known association with this house.

I have no story to go with this photo other than I gave my camera to Kathy Brock
and asked her to snap away.  I very much appreciate the shots she was able to get - she certainly took some good ones!
Perhaps I am Samuel Daggett incarnate greeting a visitor?  lol
Again...the door of perception...past meets the present...or does it?

One of my own  "artsy"  set ups - 
Lynn,  Jackie,  Charlotte,  Norm.
The weekend directly following Thanksgiving is the last weekend that Greenfield Village is open during daytime hours until springtime  (mid-April).  For December,  the ticketed Christmas event,  Holiday Nights,  is all that's left.  Come January,  February,  and March it is closed.  So we try to take advantage of it being open on that last weekend in November.
Until springtime...
As mentioned,  stay tuned to Passion for the Past,  for next week I plan another post,  which will be dedicated to our Black Friday Greenfield Village visit.  A whole lotta photos to see noting our adventure.

But Christmas is coming...the goose is getting fat - - - heading up north is where it's at~
Another tradition we have in my family is our annual Christmas Tree Cutting Day.
Just three days following Thanksgiving,  we traveled north to Applegate  (in Michigan's  "Thumb")  to find and cut down our Christmas Tree.  Per our norm we went to Western's Tree Farm.  We've been going to this same place for close to 40 years now.  We like---no,  love---it,  so why change,  right?  With tractor rides and horse rides taking us out to the acres and acres of trees,  a log cabin filled with country Christmas décor,  and the friendship we've built with the owners,  it's been the perfect place for us.
The Western Tree Farm cabin.
This was not here when we first started coming here all those years ago.  There was only a small white shack where you paid for your tree.  I remember the owner at that time telling me about the plans to build the cabin from the logs of the trees growing on their property.
And here it is!

A nice warm fire going in the fireplace inside the cabin.

And they have the inside decorated very festive.
They sell all kinds of Christmas decorations - very  "country."

Here is most of my family - my daughter was not able to come this year.
She was home with a sick pup.
We grabbed the tractor ride this year.  My grandsons loved it!

Off to find the perfect tree.

The horse and cart was ready to take others out to the Christmas Tree forest.

Through the cabin window...

My wife and I had our picture taken together in front of the
festive Western Tree Farm cabin tree..
It's not very often we do so in modern clothing.
I think we look like midwesterners,  don't you?
You betcha!  We live in Michigan!

Here is our tree all decorated!
As you can probably see,  we have such a variety of different ornaments.
And we have quite a lot we've collected over the years - our trees
are getting smaller each year so we cannot put them all on.

A few of our Greenfield Village ornaments:
Independence Hall  (the front of The Henry Ford Museum),
the Martha-Mary Chapel,  a redware sheep made in the pottery 
building,  and a bulb depicting the Sir John Bennett Sweet Shop.

We have a squirrel ornament!

Gotta have  "A Christmas Carol"  representation~
We include a variety of ornaments to make our tree that much more interesting to look at  (and not give it the mall tree  look).
Still...I love the uniqueness of it.
All lit up like a Christmas Tree!
"Being now at home again,  and alone,  the only person in the house awake,  my thoughts are drawn back,  by a fascination which I do not care to resist,  to my own childhood.  I begin to consider,  what do we all remember best upon the branches of the Christmas Tree of our own young Christmas days,  by which we climbed to real life.
Straight,  in the middle of the room,  cramped in the freedom of its growth by no encircling walls or soon-reached ceiling,  a shadowy tree arises;  and,  looking up into the dreamy brightness of its top-- for I observe in this tree the singular property that it appears to grow downward towards the earth--I look into my youngest Christmas recollections!"
Charles Dickens - 'A Christmas Tree'

I pray your Thanksgiving was special,  and may this Christmas Season be merry & bright for all of my readers.
God Bless.

Until next time,  see you in time.

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