Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Give thanks

The children's story that was read in church on Sunday has given me some extra reasons to give thanks on the coming national holiday. The story was a reading of a children's book entitled The Story of Thanksgiving, and it included a description of Squanto showing the pilgrims how to plant corn.

It is easy to hear that story without noticing its significance. Corn seems so familiar to me. From my childhood, the family garden always included a section for a few short rows of corn. When I was in high school, picking fresh sweet corn from our field and selling it in front of our house was a regular summer activity. It is hard for me to imagine my life without corn.

And yet that short story on Sunday reminded me of a very important fact: that there was a time when my maternal ancestors who came over on the Mayflower did not know how to grow corn. There certainly is much more that could and should be told about the first colonial Thanksgivings, but the story I heard on Sunday reminded me about the whole history of corn, without which a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant such as myself would not have experienced corn.

I am thankful to God for many things this Thanksgiving: for my daily bread, and for people of other cultures who over thousands of years developed the foods that enrich my life.

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