I love the cooler days and the changing colors as nature now prepares for winter. As I look out over the fields still being harvested, I remember the fall harvest rituals on the Trutwin family farm in central Minnesota, years ago. All these preparations were done in anticipation of the long, cold winter ahead.
I can still see & smell the freshly dug rows of potatoes, dug up by my Dad with a potato digger. There were always about two acres of them to harvest, so I can still feel the hard work of picking potatoes by hand and storing them in bins in our farm home’s basement. Then there were the bushels of apples, yummy apples, picked from the trees of our orchard, needing to be stored away in that same basement. I can picture Mom’s large vegetable garden and the heads of cabbage planted in neat rows, now ready to be made into sauerkraut and stored in large crock jars in that basement. Our garden always produced an abundance for the fall harvest: carrots, red beets, parsnips, rutabagas, melons, squash, pumpkins, gourds, etc. Fall was our time to also butcher a good supply of meat before winter set in, but that’s another story for another time.
Sometimes as I walk down the many, long aisles of today’s large grocery stores, I remember Mr. Pascik’s little grocery store in Bowlus, MN. It had no long aisles; only a small room, not much bigger than our living room. But it seemed to be filled with everything needed to supplement what God had already provided. My parents did not need to tarry long there.
When I share such memories of a simpler time from my past, especially with someone much younger, I often get this “look”, like I’m talking about ancient history. But it wasn’t that long ago! In 1621, the Pilgrims celebrated at Plymouth for three days after their first harvest. But it wasn’t until President Abraham Lincoln in 1863 set aside the last Thursday of November as a national Day of Thanksgiving, that we have had a national day of Thanksgiving each year. I pray that this year’s Thanksgiving Day will be special for each of you. We live in a much changed world, but we can still appreciate the bounty and beauty of God’s creation and take time each day to give thanks to God.
I now realize that growing up when and where I did, gave me a sense of awe and dependence on a Creator God. Every Sunday our family would make the time to go to our little church in North Prairie, MN. There we worshipped shoulder to shoulder with neighbors, friends and other family. It was a good life. It still is a good life, as long as we are thankful and open to God’s Grace and Peace shown us through Jesus Christ.
May God bless you and your loved ones. Pr. Jim Trutwin