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November 24, 2013
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Publisher's Notebook:Thankful for something greater, whatever it may be

This is generally the time we give thanks to God for providing our bountiful harvest.

I know…we’re not supposed to use God in a sentence because it may offend those who prefer a Tooth Fairy, or are perhaps easily offended.

Back then the Pilgrims and Protestants didn’t have a Walmart, so they had to go out and shoot and grow dinner and believed they were able to do that through the grace of God.

As president of the United States, George Washington proclaimed the first nationwide Thanksgiving celebration in America marking Nov. 26, 1789, “as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favours (sic) of Almighty God.”

The Tooth Fairy didn’t come along for a few years, when Hallmark needed a revenue boost.

There is plenty to be thankful for around The Ackerman Household this week. We really don’t harvest much of anything but eggs, so I’ll start there.

Thank you, God, for delivering our chickens. They have been producing more than we can eat, so we give some of the eggs to Casa de Belen each week. I’ve become sort of the Bubba Gump of eggs, always reminding the young people at that homeless center that there are a lot of ways to cook eggs.

“You can fry ’em.”

“You can scramble ’em.”

“You can make French toast.”

“You can make omelettes.”

“You can make a cake.”

“You can hard boil ’em.”

“You can even eat them raw.”

They are always grateful for the eggs and make sure to save the cartons for me.

I do wish the chickens didn’t eat so much and it would be really great if God made chickens so they didn’t poop all over their water dishes, but nobody said the egg business would be a piece of cake.

Most of the rest of what we eat at The Ackerman Compound comes from a store. I assume it was grown or harvested at some point and that whoever did that probably thanked God for helping.

I simply thank God that I have enough money in the bank to buy the food that feeds my family and my chickens, dogs, doves and cat. I’ve lived in places where they actually eat the pet dog for Thanksgiving, so my dogs ought to thank God that they stink too bad to eat and that I can still afford a turkey.

“Dear God, thanks for this dog we are about to eat. He was always good with the children and if we had a newspaper subscription I’m sure he would have fetched it. But he also ate the chickens we were supposed to have for dinner, so he’ll have to do.”

The Pilgrims didn’t have cable TV, so they weren’t really exposed to the diversity of religions around the world. God was all they knew, and they drew their strength from him.

It’s not a bad idea to believe in something greater, so whatever or whomever that is, Thanksgiving is a time to pause and thank that person, or deity.

When it comes to the actual Thanksgiving feast, well, it’s not a very good use of time, if you ask me. Six to eight hours of preparation just to watch a table full of people shred it to pieces in less than an hour.

And if you’re going to shred a once-beautiful meal, you may as well do it with people who love to argue. I used to invite my sisters to Thanksgiving until they started crying and punching each other. They’ve never forgotten all the stolen boyfriends, underpants, bras, makeup and nail polish they use to fight to the death to protect.

I learned to keep my mouth shut and stay out of the line of fire. I did remind them that they should plan Thanksgiving at their own homes next year, because if they come to my house, I’m not opening the door.

And even though New England was purported to be home for the first official Thanksgiving feast in the United States, Tom Brady wouldn’t be born for another 350 years, so there was no Thanksgiving football game.

Back then they actually had to have conversations. Imagine having to sit around a table with a bunch of friends and family with no cellphones. How did they ever cope?

I think my favorite part of Thanksgiving is carving the turkey. There really is a right and wrong way to carve a turkey. If you want a quick lesson, just check out YouTube. There is nothing worse than watching a drunken relative destroy a turkey you spent half a day cooking.

The second best part of Thanksgiving is the next day. Chinese food, spaghetti and turkey always taste better the second day. Same goes for meatloaf.

Thank God for turkey sandwiches.

As we give thanks for what we have — whether harvested or purchased — Thanksgiving is also a good time to lend a helping hand to those in need. You don’t need to look far to see the need that is all around us.

We are a community of givers, and I’m thankful to be part of it.

Jeff Ackerman is publisher of The News-Review. He can be reached at 541-957-4263 or jackerman@nrtoday.com

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The News-Review Updated Nov 25, 2013 03:04PM Published Nov 26, 2013 10:28AM Copyright 2013 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.