Monday, August 23, 2010

A Farm Country Thanksgiving

Last Wednesday I tore myself away from the Dakota County Fair and rushed up to the warehouse to pick up copies of my newest book, A Farm Country Thanksgiving, which tells a story of the Carlson family rushing to get morning chores done before the arrival of lots of company for Thanksgiving dinner at noon.

Like all my stories, this Thanksgiving tale is based on actual events and my memories of how things were when I was a boy on the farm.  I try to recapture the hard work doing chores and the excitement brought by the preparation for holiday company as well as the joy of spending the day with people I care about.

 Since the story takes place in the days when there was no television, nobody's focus was on football or parades. People talked and also played cards and talked. Kids weren't exactly kicked out of the house, but if we hung around too long, an adult would suggest, "Don't you kids want to go outside and play?"
It was not a question. The house was small.

But we seldom had to be reminded of the fun that awaited us outdoors. We might swing on a rope in he hay barn, go sledding on the pasture hill, build snow people, play fox and goose, or if the weather was too nasty, play card games or board games on a bale of straw in the barn where the heat from the cattle kept us warm.

Memory also brings to mind many less idealistic details: There were no electric appliances in the kitchen; cooking was done on a stove fueled by wood; chores were done manually, including milking cows by hand; and  since water had to be carried to the house and then heated, trying to clean oneself up was not an easy task.The joys of a hot shower came nearly a decade later.

To be fair, the book doesn't include details on everything I've mentioned. The scope of the story is much smaller than that, but since the contrast of struggles and joys bring to mind words in my Prologue to the Farm Country Tales, please forgive me for quoting from my own work:

Imagine an era that's diff'rent from now,
When times were not better, but pleasing, somehow.

Yes, there was something particularly pleasing about sitting down to Thanksgiving Dinner at noon with lots of company, lots of food, and a whole afternoon free before we had to start evening chores. 

The entire Prologue plus a recipe for pumpkin pie from scratch can be found in my newest book,  A Farm Country Thanksgiving.  For sample pages and more information, visit my website at 

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