Every year as the Thanksgiving season approaches, I remain thankful for my childhood memories of Thanksgiving as a young boy growing up in rural south Alabama. Thanksgiving was an important family time and it created many lasting memories for me. Unfortunately for many folks today, it has become just another day. Some people have politicized the day and want it eliminated. 


Many retail stores are now open on Thanksgiving Day to give Christmas shoppers additional time to shop for presents. My goodness, why can’t folks wait another day and just enjoy the great American tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving with their families? Maybe for some folks going to the local retail stores and shopping on Thanksgiving creates lasting family memories. 


My Thanksgiving memories were all about family. As a young boy, my daddy and some of my six brothers and I enjoyed a Thanksgiving morning squirrel hunt on Corner Creek in south Alabama after which the family would gather in the afternoon for the family meal prepared by my mother and my sisters.  


Those are the types of memories I wish for my children and grandchildren. I hope their memories of Thanksgiving are not of fighting the crowds over some discount gift on Thanksgiving. I dislike shopping at just about any time and certainly Thanksgiving shopping would never be an option for me. 


Going to church, thanking God for all His blessings and having a meal with family, has been a large part of my adult life and doing those activities goes all the way back to the first Thanksgiving proclamation made by President George Washington.


Washington proclaimed the first nationwide celebration of Thanksgiving to be on Nov. 26, 1789. In that proclamation, Washington stated he was requested by both houses of Congress to “recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God.”


Many of my Thanksgiving memories are still fresh in my mind today and some of those memories occurred more than 65 years ago. Many of those memories are about family with whom I can no longer share the joy of hunting. But thankfully I still have those wonderful memories.


Fishing and hunting have always been a large part of my life and it all began with those Thanksgiving hunts with my daddy. He started his sons out at a young age learning the correct principles of hunting. He began by teaching us to respect the property of others; to only kill what the family could and would eat and to properly handle a firearm. My daddy was not a trained outdoorsman. That is just the way hunting happened in those days. Daddy taught us to be respectful of the outdoors and the wildlife we hunted. 


Respect was a key word back then, whether it applied to hunting or to other events in daily living. You would never consider trespassing on another person’s land. You asked for permission to hunt and, nine times out of ten, the answer that always came back was a resounding ‘“yes.” However, a kind reminder often followed that approval from the landowner. He would most times say, “Please remember and close the gates.” 


I have so many good memories of hunting throughout my lifetime, but those memories of the Thanksgiving Day hunts on Corner Creek are the ones that occupy my mind when I think about hunting and Thanksgiving. We were a poor family as far as possessions and money go, but we were rich in other ways. I would never trade in those memories for a memory of a shopping trip to the mall.


My Thanksgiving memories are also of my mother and the delicious meal she always prepared. My mother always made sure we thanked our Creator for the food she had prepared and for the many blessings He had sent to her family. 


I hope you have good memories of Thanksgiving and I encourage you to share those memories with your children and grandchildren. I thank my God for my memories and I thank Him for the many blessings He still sends in my direction each and every day. 


I hope you might feel the same way, and whether you go hunting with family and friends, enjoy a meal together or even take a shopping trip with family, I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. See you next week.

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