Thanksgiving graphicNearly 400 years ago, the pilgrims of Plymouth colony and the Wampanoag people shared a harvest celebration which has blossomed into today’s Thanksgiving holiday. In rural communities like Gillett thankfulness for the harvest holds deep meaning. In the Gillett community, gardens flourish, farmers take in the crops, and vegetable processing is a major industry. Wisconsin’s short growing season makes harvest time even more precious.

The early pilgrims had much to overcome when they landed in the New World after their long journey on the Mayflower. Their first year was rough, and about half of the original colonists died of starvation and disease. They knew the meaning of hardship and loss.

Today as we sit down to a Thanksgiving feast of turkey, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie, we would be wise to give thanks for the harvest and give thanks for the many blessings we have received.

Thankfulness for our families should be at the top of our list.

Meeting with the families who have lost a loved one reminds me over and over again that family is important. By sharing the struggles and joys of life, families build unity and grow in love. Even when children leave home, family ties bind them for life.

So as you scoop that second helping of Aunt Betty’s dressing today, send up a prayer of thanksgiving for your family. Then go a step further and show your appreciation to your family in the way you act and the words you speak.

The pilgrims knew the importance of giving thanks. They make good role models for all of us.