Thanksgiving day, we will be missing several family members. Some years are like that. But, Doug, my son building my house in Oregon, though within driving range, and a famous cookie baker, is missing and we will sorely miss him. So, this old Edgar Guest poem seemed a proper tribute. He will join folks at the grange and help them cook. Another of his talents.
THE COOKIE JAR by Edgar Guest
You can rig up a house with all manner of things,
The prayer rugs of sultans and princes and kings;
You can hang on its wall the old tapestries rare
Which some dead Egyptian once treasured with care;
But though costly and gorgeous its furnishings are,
It must have, to be homelike, an old cookie jar.
There are just a few things that a home must possess,
Besides all your money and all your success—
A few good old books which some loved one has read,
Some trinkets of those whose sweet spirits have fled,
And then in the pantry, not shoved back too far
For the hungry to get to, that old cookie jar.
Let the house be a mansion, I care not at all!
Let the finest of pictures be hung on each wall,
Let the carpets be made of the richest velour,
And the chairs only those which great wealth
I’d still want to keep for the joy of my flock
That homey, old fashioned, well-filled cookie crock.
Like the love of the Mother it shines through our years;
It has soothed all our hurts and dried away tears;
It has paid us for toiling; in sorrow or joy,
It has always shown kindness to each girl and boy;
And I’m sorry for people, whoever they are,
Who live in a house where there’s no cookie jar.
Cedric is the chief pie baker and he, along with daughter Virginia, who prepares a pear tart every year, and grandsons Owen and Theo, who supply lots of noise and fun, are in Australia. We will miss you so much.
Daughter-in-law Laurie has stepped into the gap, and is preparing the pies.
Kristanne and Austin and Mason, will also be absent. It feels downright cruel to be missing so many at this family time of year. When it comes to the clatter round the table, the dogs and yak and fun; the card games and a bit of wine. we’ll try, but without Kristanne, and Austin and Mason to banter, we feel a loss for those missing three.
This poem FAMILY, by Suzanne Comer Bell describes it perfectly.
Inside a house they reassemble—
food an operation on the table,
dogs sealed against the back steps
waiting for the blessed day’s remains,
and a world of neighbors knows
to leave their gifts and wishes at the door—
then they eat and eat, clear, clean the table,
move to the kitchen and rumble family tales
til the ancestors sound, drown the silver clatter—
no bounds here to joyful noise because it’s family—
then disappear, each wandering off
to a silent, private nest, where
inside the cocoon of sleep will grow
the shapes and skills of being in this family.
One by one they’ll wake to a new world,
take ball, gun, racquet, cards—some
instrument of fun to play with another—
and the skills of this family bloom, reborn
in their memory, in the movement of hands, voices, feet,
the presence of children coming of age or an aunt
who carries the same genes of natural talent,
some newly awakening, some reawakening,
recognizing themselves in the mirror
of each other’s faces. Then they’ll line their shoes
by the door, warm up the leftovers—
do it all over again.
© Suzanne Comer Bell.
While I complain about being bereft of family, I know how very lucky we are and we will be giving thanks and counting our blessings for our cups runneth over.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE.