2017-11-08 Pilgrim Fathers
ACH Study Groups
Ben & Fran Gilmore – Cofounders
7659 Gingerblossom Drive
Citrus Heights, CA 95621
November 8, 2017
This is a letter to our friends –
Thanksgiving is a time for reflecting and “Being still and knowing that God is God.” It is the only American Christian holiday. It is a time for family traditions. I’ll share ours.
Fran and I have three kids, each with families of their own. In the growing up years our tradition was Thanksgiving with my parents (their anniversary) and Christmas with Fran’s family. As our parents passed on and we had grandkids, we became the traditional hosts.
Our kids built family traditions of their own. Guy and Linda (our son and the world’s greatest daughter-in-law) have become Thanksgiving hosts for the family. They have expanded to in-laws and friends. Last year 50 friends and family squeezed into a number of tables for a giant meal with endless pie for desert.
During the meal we went around the tables as each person shared what they were most thankful for. There was often emotion. A tradition was born – “Who wants to reserve a place at the ‘crying table’?”
This year it appears the numbers will be smaller. Linda’s dad passed on. The California fires have stranded our daughter. They sold their lovely home to downsize – a few days before fires wiped out a large part of their town. They were planning to buy a new home there! Now half the population is doing the same! Our youngest and her family just moved from California to Montana. We are blessed to have a family that loves one another – together or apart.
For the years we hosted, part of the event agenda included reading the late Lawrence Wagner’s poem, “Pilgrim Fathers”. It is traditional for this column to post it in November. (below) . . .
By Larry Wagner November 1984
The second harvest gathered since they crossed Atlantic waters,
A feast of thankfulness was set by grateful Pilgrim Fathers:
So great the providence of God, so blest with fruit their labors,
So sweet the bond among their band, such peace with Indian neighbors.
But most among the feasting crowd could count harsh years of toil.
Of wand’ring for their faith in God, of want on alien soil,
Of flagging hopes and faith, bad health, of chills that hell could send.
Of half their number that had died before first winter’s end.
Of hunger pangs that second year in their New Plymouth home,
Of weeks when all they ate a day was five small grains of corn.
A few remembered treasures lost, titles cast aside,
But all could measure conscience cost in tears and trampled pride.
Oh, at this feast could they foresee their blessed future years?
That nevermore would they know want, nor run from any fears!
Then after prayers of gratitude, before the feast was set,
Each plate was served five grains of corn, lest anyone forget!
A noble band in hardship born, rejected by their own,
A rock flung o’re the ocean, they were laid a corner stone.
By them God stamped His pattern for a nation on the land,
And seeds for freedom under God were planted by their hand.
Oh, pray their heirs would ever know how dear was freedom’s cost,
And know to hold their faith and freedom dear, or see them lost,
And praise the Providence that brought those Pilgrims to this shore,
And eat the grains of memory, or pay the price once more.
These columns are archived since 12/10/09