Johnny2Toes' Blog

Living with Alzheimers, Thoughts, Rants, Raves

Ever wonder where our Thanksgiving holiday came from? I know that many folks know the history behind this special day we celebrate each year. As children, we learn these things in the home or in school or in church, or a combination of those. What I want to present is a brief history of Thanksgiving.

In The Beginning

December 4, 1619 – English settlers arrived in Jamestown in the Virginia Colony. A part of their charter required that a “day of thanksgiving” be observed every year on the day of their arrival. This colony was abandoned several years later.

In 1621, the people of the Plymouth colony celebrated a Harvest Festival along with the people of one of the tribes of the Wampanoag Nation. Their feast included wild turkey, various water fowl, deer, corn and other vegetables which the Native Americans taught the colonists how to cultivate and grow.

From 1630 through 1777, There were days of Thanksgiving which were observed by the colonies, but each had their own days of celebrating Thanksgiving.

November 1, 1777 – The Continental Congress issued a National Thanksgiving Day Proclamation. Here is the proclamation:

Saturday, November 1, 1777

The committee appointed to prepare a recommendation to the several states, to set apart a day of public thanksgiving, brought in a report; which was taken into consideration, and agreed to as follows:

Forasmuch as it is the indispensable duty of all men to adore the superintending providence of Almighty God; to acknowledge with gratitude their obligation to him for benefits received, and to implore such farther blessings as they stand in need of; and it having pleased him in his abundant mercy not only to continue to us the innumerable bounties of his common providence, but also smile upon us in the prosecution of a just and necessary war, for the defense and establishment of our unalienable rights and liberties; particularly in that he hath been pleased in so great a measure to prosper the means used for the support of our troops and to crown our arms with most signal success: It is therefore recommended to the legislative or executive powers of these United States, to set apart Thursday, the 18th day of December next, for solemn thanksgiving and praise; that with one heart and one voice the good people may express the grateful feelings of their hearts, and consecrate themselves to the service of their divine benefactor; and that together with their sincere acknowledgments and offerings, they may join the penitent confession of their manifold sins, whereby they had forfeited every favor, and their humble and earnest supplication that it may please God, through the merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of remembrance; that it may please him graciously to afford his blessings on the governments of these states respectively, and prosper the public council of the whole; to inspire our commanders both by land and sea, and all under them, with that wisdom and fortitude which may render them fit instruments, under the providence of Almighty God, to secure for these United States the greatest of all blessings, independence and peace; that it may please him to prosper the trade and manufactures of the people and the labor of the husbandman, that our land may yield its increase; to take schools and seminaries of education, so necessary for cultivating the principles of true liberty, virtue and piety, under his nurturing hand, and to prosper the means of religion for the promotion and enlargement of that kingdom which consisteth in righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.

And it is further recommended, that servile labor, and such recreation as, though at other times innocent, may be unbecoming the purpose of this appointment, be omitted on so solemn an occasion.”

To Continue

It wasn’t until October 3, 1863 that Thanksgiving had become a national holiday with the Thanksgiving Day Proclamation signed by President Abraham Lincoln. In the proclamation, President Lincoln set aside the last Thursday of month of November as a “Day of Thanksgiving and Praise”.

Celebrate Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is more than just the traditional turkey dinner. Its a time when we give thanks to our heavenly father for all of the blessings given to us. You might say that blessings haven’t come my way, or, what have I been blessed with. When I was raising my family, the bottom dropped out of my world. I found myself homeless with my wife and kids. We were living in the car and grabbing a shower where ever we could. Thanksgiving rolled around in that bleak period of my history, and I found myself celebrating with my wife and children in a rescue mission. During the sermon given by the pastor and head of the rescue mission, my heart and eyes were opened to the many blessings I had the time. I had a loving family and although we were homeless we were a family, and we were healthy. We were celebrating with others who found themselves in similar circumstances. We had the love of a wonderful pastor and his wife who gave of themselves unconditionally. We were safe and truly cared about. There were truly too many blessings to count, though it may sound odd given the circumstances. In time, I managed to improve my fortunes. I was better able to provide for my family and started to embark on a new journey. As a family, we gave back to those who helped us in our need. The point is, blessings come in many ways. Its up to us to recognize those blessings and be thankful for them.

A Lesson

In a conversation recently with my daughter who has turned into a lovely caring woman with a family of her own, we were talking about Thanksgiving and our individual plans. As we live in difference states, its often a challenge to be together for this or that holiday. Anyway, she is celebrating with her brother at his house. Then she asked me something I never thought she would. She asked, “why do we only celebrate Thanksgiving one day a year? Didn’t you teach us to give thanks daily for all of our blessings?” She of course knows the history behind this holiday but she was asking a broader question. My daughter has turned out to be quite a deep thinker and I am so proud of her.

She learned well. I did in fact teach all of my kids that we should be thankful daily for all of the blessing the Lord has given us. Blessings can come in many forms, a caring pastor, a smile from a 3 year old you see in the store. Or maybe its so many different things for so many different people. The lesson, for me at least, is that I have been blessed with love, respect, and a beautiful family. Money, house, cars aside, my family is one the best blessings I’ve been given in this life.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

I’ve often wondered what folks do to bring peace and tranquility into their lives. Time was when I was homeless and trying to raise a family in the back seat of my car. That was a million years ago, when this was almost unheard of. But it did happen, and during those times, my peace, my tranquility came from the knowledge that even though the bottom had dropped out of my world, my kids still loved me and supported me.

Since then, things have changed for me. I grew, I moved up slowly and was able to better provide for my family. Together we grew and became strong in our love and in our faith. Over the years, I watched as my children started their own lives and became independent. This one with a family, this one with a career and so on. For me, a failed marriage and rebuilding. I started a new career and grew within the company and after many wonderful years there I was on top of the heap.

Now I am retired. Still single. I live in a remote little place in the desert of northern Nevada. I own a property here on the edge of the desert and have almost half an acre of my property fenced with a nice privacy fence. Behind that, wide open desert.

I’ve lived here now for 11 years. During that time, I rescued a beautiful Saint Bernard. She was the love of my life, and as life goes, she grew old for her breed and left this world. A sad time for me to be sure. But I moved on. Sierra, my Saint Bernard, wreaked havoc with my yard, and today nothing grows out back except for the weeds which I fight every summer.

I was given a cute little bird bath and one day this past summer, I placed it in my back yard between 2 pine trees that occupy space and shade my patio in the evenings. Birds began to come and take advantage of the always full watering hole. It was a nice addition to the little critters that shelter in my yard. I’ve got a never ending stream of bunnies, chipmunks, cute little lizards, the occasional cat, quail, and now, the other species of bird that grace my yard with their beauty and antics. Just last week, a new bird appeared, it’s a woodpecker called the northern flicker. Since that first visit by my new friend, a few more have come. While none of these little critters actually live in my yard, they come and go throughout the day.

I sit in my living room, or on the patio when the weather is right, and just get lost in the peace and tranquility that has become my little slice of the wonderful desert I live in. These little guys come and seem to know that this space is safe, and that they can live in harmony with the others around them. Well, most of the time, there is the seldom visit by some hawk looking for dinner that throws them all in a tizzy, but for the most part they are safe.

Thank you for dropping by friends.

Wishing you peace and tranquility.

Ever notice that letters are increasingly becoming part of our advertising and marketing culture? Huh?? what’s this nut talking about?

Letters, or more specifically, abbreviations for this or that product, service, or what have you. IBS, common for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (yuk), and if thats not bad enough, there’s more. IBSC and IBSD. I wont go into detail.

Take your favorite pain relief medicine XYZ product. Fine, it works great for you. Headache, muscle pain, cramp or whatever, gone. The product has relieved your symptom. Now they come out with the newer product, only they append it with PM, as in XYZ PM. Not only does it fix your headache, but it puts you to sleep. Then there’s the AM version to fix your headache, but it won’t put you to sleep. Instead, it helps keep you awake throughout the day.

It irritates me no end to watch this aspect of our language being reduced to alphabet soup. Ever see in print, TV or some other medium, this or that person with a list of LMNOP after his/her name. Seems to me that the more soup you can append to your name, the more important you seem to be, or at least you seem to think you are. Time was if you were the president of Better Bottle Brush LTD for example, you would be referenced as John Smith. Period. Your desk name plate might say John Smith President, and the door to your office might have a similar name plate. Your business card would have something similar. But to be referred to as John Smith LMNOP? That never happened.

Ok, I get it, you do all it takes to earn some high level degree in your field of choice. Fine, good for you, you’ve done your job, and now you are on your way, hopefully, to a successful life and career. But there are so many people with a can of alphabet soup after their name that are either woefully underemployed, or worse, unemployed.

TGIF. I just learned that it means, Thank God It’s Friday. And to think, I always thought it stood for Toes Go In First. Learned that about 50 years ago from a traveling shoe salesman.

A follow on to my last post, just had to get this off my chest.

Recently I heard some commercial or other on the radio this morning. They were babbling on about some new voting system or other in California. I guess they were trying to promote this new system by holding mock voting sessions where you can go to try out the new system. They are looking to provide a “better voting experience”. Seriously? When I go to vote, I check in at my polling place, go to the booth and fill out my ballot and cast my vote. There is no experience. Why does everything these days have to be an “experience”?

I really don’t like hearing about this, that or the other product or service providing me with a better experience. Take driving for example. When I go to buy a new car, one of the things that the dealer feels is important to me is the driving experience. Really?? All I want or expect from a vehicle is getting from point A to point B in reasonable comfort and safety. That’s it, plain and simple. Another example, flying, a better travel experience. Another one, restaurants, a better dining experience. I could go on forever. Witnessing the birth of my kids and grand kids, those were truly some of the best experiences of my life.

Lately I’ve seen many ads for digital assistants. One commercial even states that we all love our digital assistants. I didn’t know what a digital assistant is, so I looked it up. I found all sorts of information, enough to make my head spin really. Just think, I could get one of these things, spend a ton of money to equip my house with all of the electric devices needed to lock my doors, dim the lights open/close my garage door remotely, and other such nonsense, just so I can be lazy and tell my digital assistant to do it for me. How convenient!

OK, now for my reality. Having some computerized device doing things I can do for myself is utter nonsense. How hard is it for me to lock my doors or flip a light switch? Plain laziness in my opinion. If I need to make a list of things I need from the store, I write it out. Remember writing? I’ve got a calendar in my office with important dates on it, birthdays, anniversaries, doctors appointments, and other things I need to remind myself of. When I feel the need to listen to music, I turn on the radio, or play some music on my stereo. If I’m wondering whats on TV, I use the guide provided by my satellite provider. No need to have some computer somewhere look it up for me. When I want to record some thing on my DVR, I set it myself, again, no need for a digital assistant.

I ask you, how lazy can we get???