The Preslar Family

The Preslar Family
December 2017

Friday, December 04, 2015

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving came and went rather quietly this year, in a very pleasant way.  We didn't have huge plans, but we did journey up north to Cache Valley to spend the day with the Preslar family.  We were missing a few of our numbers, and it made it a mellow afternoon, but we were so grateful to enjoy a feast with everyone who could make it.  Aunt Tonja was the super-chef of the day - she works hard to find recipes she's excited about and let me tell you, it pays off. I was in charge of a few pies this year and I will say that they turned out respectfully, but with room for improvement.  I just can not seem to conquer pie crust.  But I will keep trying.  Because it means more pie.  I also made the mashed potatoes, and I used my favorite crock pot recipe.  I have long known of the Preslar boys' love of a good pile of 'taters, so I wanted to make sure I cooked enough of them.  I'll just say that I used a half of a Costco-sized bag of potatoes, which themselves are also Costco-sized.  Meaning HUGE.  It felt like we came home with more potatoes than we brought, there were so many left over.  But that was better than not having enough, especially when you use the rest for shepherd's pie the next day.  See? More pie!

Skip loved hanging out with Rascal while we watched the Dog Show

I did make an attempt during November at helping my kid think about gratitude by making a tree trunk out of brown paper and hanging it on the fridge.  I bought a bunch of colorful leaves (thank you, Utah Idaho Supply.  Best school supplies and cute bulletin board things anywhere!) for the kids and us to write on.  We hung up leaves on our fridge all month stating the things we were grateful for.  I was happy it worked out nicely and sure brought the fall colors inside.

In closing this post of thanksgiving, I am going to post something I am deeply grateful for, and that is poetry.  I discovered a poem written 60 or so years ago by a man named Jack Gilbert, and I love it.  I'm grateful for his words, and for his stubborn joy.

A Brief for the Defense

Sorrow everywhere. Slaughter everywhere. If babies
are not starving someplace, they are starving
somewhere else. With flies in their nostrils.
But we enjoy our lives because that's what God wants.
Otherwise the mornings before summer dawn would not
be made so fine. The Bengal tiger would not
be fashioned so miraculously well. The poor women
at the fountain are laughing together between
the suffering they have known and the awfulness
in their future, smiling and laughing while somebody
in the village is very sick. There is laughter
every day in the terrible streets of Calcutta,
and the women laugh in the cages of Bombay.
If we deny our happiness, resist our satisfaction,
we lessen the importance of their deprivation.
We must risk delight. We can do without pleasure,
but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have
the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless
furnace of this world. To make injustice the only
measure of our attention is to praise the Devil.
If the locomotive of the Lord runs us down,
we should give thanks that the end had magnitude.
We must admit there will be music despite everything.
We stand at the prow again of a small ship
anchored late at night in the tiny port
looking over to the sleeping island: the waterfront
is three shuttered cafés and one naked light burning.
To hear the faint sound of oars in the silence as a rowboat
comes slowly out and then goes back is truly worth
all the years of sorrow that are to come.
Jack Gilbert

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