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Sunday, November 2, 2008

Songs The Wizard of Oz and Thanksgiving Memories

Almost immediately after the Halloween, we turn our thoughts to Thanksgiving. The chill is even in the air here in So. CA with a little rain. Boy did we need that. One of my earliest recollections of childhood Thanksgivings comes from watching the Wizard of Oz on an old TV, black and white, in the parlor area of my favorite Aunt's house. My mom and dad and Aunt Mary and Uncle Harry would be in the kitchen laughing and yelling playing cards. It was a Sat night ritual for them and for me it was watching the the WOZ. In grade school we were making pilgrim hats and learning holiday songs to sing at one of our usual assemblys we had for the holidays.
A couple songs I remember - occasionally fragments will pop into my head - are Over the River and Through the Woods, which always reminds me of feasting, and We Gather Together, the quintessential “pilgrim” hymn.

Over the River is the newer of the two, written by Lydia Maria Child, remember her? She was kind of the Martha Stewart in her day. It originally appeared in a book of poetry, Flowers for Children, Vol. 2, in 1844.

Over the river and through the woods,
to Grandfather’s house we go;
the horse knows the way to carry the sleigh,
through the white and drifted snow.
Over the river, and through the woods,
to Grandfather’s house away!
We would not stop for doll or top,
for ’tis Thanksgiving Day.
Over the river, and through the woods-
oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes and bites the nose,
as over the ground we go.
Over the river, and through the woods
and straight through the barnyard gate.
We seem to go extremely slow-
it is so hard to wait!
Over the river, and through the woods-
when Grandmother sees us come,
She will say, “O, dear, the children are here,
bring a pie for every one.”
Over the river, and through the woods-
now Grandmothers cap I spy!
Hurrah for the fun!
Is the pudding done?
Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!

How many of you remember that one?

How about We Gather Together it is considerably older, written in the 17th century, but translated into English only in 1894.

We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing;
he chastens and hastens his will to make known;
the wicked oppressing now cease from distressing:
sing praise to his Name, he forgets not his own.
Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
ordaining, maintaining his kingdom divine;
so from the beginning the fight we were winning:
thou, Lord, wast at our side:
all glory be thine!
We all do extol thee, thou leader triumphant,
and pray that thou still our defender wilt be.
Let thy congregation escape tribulation:
thy Name be ever praised!
O Lord, make us free!

Some Book Reviews:

I searched over at Goodreads and found a critque on this book "Thanksgiving" book by Janet Evanovich

October 31st 2006 (first published 1988) by HarperTorch
256 pages
isbn 0060598808 (isbn13: 9780060598808)

What is it about:
When Megan Murphy discovered a floppy-eared rabbit gnawing on the hem of her skirt, she meant to give its careless owner a piece of her mind, but Dr. Patrick Hunter was too attractive to stay mad at for long. Soon the two are making Thanksgiving dinner for their families.
Since I love Thanksgiving and I like Evanowich's book I may get this one.
This next one is a real interesting one. I have not read anything by this author before either.

published 2006 by HarperCollins
416 pages
isbn 0060094435 (isbn13: 9780060094430)

What is it about:

Richard Bausch calls this, his tenth novel, "a love comedy with sorrows." The story is set in the small Virginia valley town of Point Royal, where several of Bausch's other novels and many of his stories take place. It is 1999; predictions of catastrophe blare on the radio, and religious fanaticism is everywhere on the rise. The millennium is approaching.
Oliver Ward and his divorced daughter, a young policewoman named Alison, and Oliver's two grandchildren become involved with Holly Grey and Holly's aunt Fiona, elderly ladies with a marked propensity for outlandish behavior. Holly's son, Will Butterfield, and Elizabeth, Will's second wife by that name, have been happily married for ten years but are about to discover how fragile happiness is.
And in the middle of all of them is an old priest, Father John Fire, who is a good man, thinking of leaving the priesthood. He is called "Brother Fire" by everyone who knows him, after the famous words of Saint Francis when confronted with the burning brand with which he would be martyred. Close to both Holly and Fiona, Brother Fire also has a part to play in the rapidly unfolding family drama.
Thanksgiving Night is a touching and empathetic portrayal of family$#8212;the one we have, and the ones we make. The people who populate these pages are flawed, wounded, stubborn, willful, scarred, often wildly eccentric, and all searching, in one way or another, for love. 1006

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