SFPNN Special Edition -
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--- Thanks to author, Joan Wester Anderson for Ryan’s Rescue
It was after when Patti and Dan Burnett, members of the Summit County, Colorado,
Search and Rescue team, received the phone call. Ryan, a sixteen-year-old boy had become
separated from his father that morning while grouse-hunting. Now he was lost in a wilderness area high in
Rescuers drove to the area, and Patti felt a high level of urgency as she and her search dog, Hasty, began to walk. "The sleet had turned to snow, and the wind was strong," she recalls. "I couldn't help thinking that by now, Ryan's wet clothes were probably frozen."
Hasty picked up Ryan's scent and forged ahead, but even with her head lamp, Patti's visibility was poor. She heard other searchers on motorcycles and above her, a National Guard helicopter. But there was no sign of Ryan.
Struggling through the marshes, Patti thought of her own children safely asleep, the Thanksgiving turkey ready for roasting. She thought of Ryan's distraught family. God, please help us, she prayed. And keep Ryan warm.
The long night continued, and exhausted searchers began to lose hope. Then, shortly after dawn, Patti heard the unbelievable news. Ryan had been found alive, with no sign of frostbite! But how?
Later, surrounded by rescue workers, the teen explained. Lost in the dark and shivering uncontrollably--one of hypothermia's first stages--he had laid down under some trees, and slipped into sleep. Under normal circumstances he should have gradually frozen to death. But something wondrous happened instead.
"Ryan awakened in the middle of the night, feeling warm and comfortable," Patti explains. "Astonished, he discovered that, although his rifle was at his feet, two female elk had come out of the forest and were lying against him, one on either side, protecting him from the cold.
"We searchers were dumbfounded, since such behavior is completely uncharacteristic of elk." But there was no other explanation for Ryan's healthy condition. Later, evidence of the animals' presence was found under the trees.
Patti drove home, exhilarated. She was remembering a night centuries ago, when animals kept another Child safe and warm.
--- Copyrighted 1998 by Joan Wester
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TRADITIONS MADE TO BE BROKEN
by Joseph Walker
The problem, according to a friend of mine, is beans.
Green beans, to be precise.
For the umpteenth year in a row, she has been assigned to bring a green bean casserole – you know, the one with cream of mushroom soup, french fried onions and, of course, green beans – to her family's annual Thanksgiving feast. And to be honest, she's sick of it.
"That green bean casserole is great and
everything," she told me yesterday in hushed confidence. "But
just once I'd like to try something different.
I found this recipe for green beans with fresh tomatoes and basil that sounds wonderful . . ."
Her voice trailed off. It must have been the
look of abject horror on my face. "I'm sorry," I said. "I
probably misunderstood. You're not thinking of
actually replacing the traditional green bean casserole with something that sounds suspiciously Italian, are you?"
"Well, there's no law that says you have to have green bean casserole with Thanksgiving dinner," she said defensively.
"Well, maybe not," I said. "But it's a tradition. And you don't mess with tradition. Especially not on Thanksgiving."
"Green bean casserole is only a tradition
because the company that makes those french fried
onions says so," she replied. "There's nothing sacred
about it. I'll bet the Pilgrims never even heard of it."
I was sure she was wrong about that, but I decided to
do some research – just in case. And guess what? There was no green
bean casserole at the first Thanksgiving celebration in 1621. In fact, I
can't find any mention of beans at all, let alone green beans with cream of
mushroom soup and
french fried onions. Nor were there any yams – candied or otherwise – or mashed potatoes, and since their turkey was probably roasted, there wasn't any stuffing, either.
I know, I know. Thanksgiving without stuffing is like Arbor Day without trees. I mean, you can do it, but what's the point?
If you want to be truly traditional this
Thanksgiving, you better have some venison on your table. Evidently the
Native Americans who were invited to
the first Thanksgiving brought five deer to the party – which, by the way, also featured lobster, clams, wheat pudding and watercress (which is sort of like french friend onions, only without the french thing . . . and the fried thing . . . and the onion thing). And in addition to turkey, there were
probably also portions of duck, goose and swan.
And no, they didn't stuff the swan, either.
Oh, and that first Thanksgiving feast went on for
about three days. Try mentioning THAT little tidbit to whoever is hosting
celebration this year. You'll either give them a big laugh – or a stroke.
So I guess some Thanksgiving traditions were made to
be broken. Which is not to say that holiday traditions
aren't important. They are. They are
part of the glue that binds us together as families and communities. But it doesn't hurt to try establishing a new tradition now and then – especially
one that features fresh tomatoes and basil.
And if anyone gives you any grief, tell them they don't know beans about it.
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--- Thanks to Tom R. Oh And Micki A.!
A THANKSGIVING POEM
TWAS THE NIGHT OF THANKSGIVING, I JUST COULDN'T SLEEP
I TRIED COUNTING BACKWARDS, I TRIED COUNTING SHEEP.
THE LEFTOVERS BECKONED - THE DARK MEAT AND WHITE
BUT I FOUGHT THE TEMPTATION WITH ALL OF MY MIGHT
TOSSING AND TURNING WITH ANTICIPATION
THE THOUGHT OF A SNACK BECAME INFATUATION.
SO, I RACED TO THE KITCHEN, FLUNG OPEN THE DOOR
AND GAZED AT THE FRIDGE, FULL OF GOODIES GALORE.
I GOBBLED UP
PICKLES AND CARROTS, BEANS AND TOMATOES.
I FELT MYSELF SWELLING SO PLUMP AND SO ROUND,
'TIL ALL OF A SUDDEN, I ROSE OFF THE GROUND.
I CRASHED THROUGH THE CEILING, FLOATING INTO THE SKY
WITH A MOUTHFUL OF PUDDING AND A HANDFUL OF PIE.
BUT, I MANAGED TO YELL AS I SOARED PAST THE TREES....
HAPPY EATING TO ALL - PASS THE CRANBERRIES, PLEASE.
MAY YOUR STUFFING BE TASTY, MAY YOUR
GRAVY HAVE NARY A LUMP,
MAY YOUR YAMS BE DELICIOUS MAY YOUR PIES TAKE THE PRIZE, MAY YOUR
THANKSGIVING DINNER STAY OFF OF YOUR THIGHS.
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--- Thanks to Joan Wester
LORD, LET THE FOOD LAST
By Joan Wester
Members of the
About eleven, church members took their places in the food line, and someone opened the kitchen door. People streamed in, each taking a plate and passing it along, cafeteria-style. So many guests! Jeanne sliced turkey, scooped mashed potatoes—and sent a silent prayer heavenward. Lord, let the food last.
Time passed, but the needy kept arriving. Odd, Jeanne mused. They weren’t running out of anything. Even the pans of dressing, which had been few in number when dinner began, still seemed full. She caught the eye of a perplexed friend spooning vegetables from a seemingly bottomless bowl. What was going on?
Finally, the last guest accepted a brimming plate. Jeanne looked at her watch. ! It couldn’t be! And there was still food remaining. Baffled, the women packed the leftovers. “The men carried everything to the church buses, and drove away,” Jeanne recalls. “They were going to go door to door, to make sure no one in the area had missed Thanksgiving dinner.” The women went back to the empty kitchen and, still somewhat dazed, scoured, tidied—and compared notes.
“Was it my imagination…?”
“No, I saw it too---the turkeys seemed to---to multiply!”
“But we had only six or seven. How…?”
“Two thousand,” Jeanne murmured. “I think we fed almost two thousand people.”
Just then a knock sounded on the kitchen door. A volunteer opened it to a man, a woman and eight young children, all shabbily dressed. “We’re a little late,” the man acknowledged shyly. “Would you have anything left from dinner?”
Oh, no! The women glanced around the spotless kitchen. All the food was gone—they had put it on the buses themselves. But they couldn’t turn this hungry group away. “Come and sit down,” one helper led the family to a table, while the others quickly conferred. Perhaps there was a store open, or a restaurant in town where they could buy something…
Suddenly someone pointed. “Look!”
The others turned to stare. Sitting on a counter in plain view was a freshly baked loaf of bread. It had not been there moments before, Jeanne knew. But no one had come to the kitchen except the family, and they had been empty-handed.
“How did we miss this?” Jeanne’s friend cried in
astonishment. She had found an industrial-sized can of green beans and
corn in a cupboard.
Another woman peeked under a cabinet. There on a shelf she had previously wiped clean now sat a large tray of dressing with big chunks of cut-up turkey in it.
“We packed up the containers and sent the family home to enjoy their holiday,” Jeanne says. Then, tears spilling down their cheeks, the women praised the Lord for His wonderful care. They had offered Him an early birthday present, by caring for the least of His children. But He had multiplied their gift a hundred-fold, and given them a Christmas they would never forget.
Copyrighted 1998 by Joan Wester
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--- Thanks to Frieda R. for this list of Gratitudes
God loves the world so much that He gave us:
· Mountains (for viewing, climbing, photographing, rappelling, and contemplating)
· Horses (to carry us)
· Donkeys (to carry our stuff)
· Cool breezes
· Sweat glands
· Sunshine (and just enough of it to warm the planet without burning it up)
· Soil microbes
· Praying mantises (not only do they eat aphids, but they look amazing)
· Tropical fish
· More varieties of tropical fish
· Even more varieties of tropical fish
· The color blue (not to mention fuchsia and chartreuse)
· Wildflowers (in all of their hundreds of thousands of varieties)
· Our immune system (which works even when we don't)
· Beating hearts (the ultimate perpetual motion machine)
· Hair (which some don't appreciate until they lose it)
· Salvia (imagine swallowing a cracker without it)
· Herbs (which teach us that every weed can heal)
· Snow (in all its various forms: flakes, drifts, men, and caps on mountains)
· Physical pain (which alerts us when something is wrong)
· Opposable thumbs
· Two 127,000,000-pixel cameras positioned in the front of our heads (our eyes)
· Waves (for swimming, surfing, painting, and proving the ephemeralness of sand castles)
· Petunias (which are bigger and more colorful than buttercups)
· Irises and orchids (which are more intricately shaped)
· Jasmine and wisteria (with their divine fragrance)
· Roses (which need no commentary)
· Taste buds
· Salmon (and their example of swimming upstream)
· Giant sequoia trees
· Silk (this product of lowly worms should humble us)
· Our liver (which performs over 500 functions and manufactures more than 1,000 different chemicals)
· Chocolate (need I say more?)
· Lizards (which eat mosquitoes)
· Mosquitoes (I'm not sure why)
· The hairs in our noses (an under-appreciated gift if ever there was one)
· Coffee beans
· Giraffes (and the special valve in their necks which enable them to bend to drink water and then straighten up without blacking out from the pressure change)
· Our circulatory system (which reaches every one of the three trillion cells in our body, and which knows exactly what to deliver to every one of them, putting the postal system to shame)
· Our digestive system (which knows what to do with pizza)
· The sound of crickets
· The silence of cats
· Our sense of smell (and thousands of different fragrances to titillate it, from peonies to roasted coffee, from freshly-mowed grass to freshly-baked bread)
· Cows (without which we would not have ice cream)
· Feet (with their intricate shock absorbers)
· Apples (in their perfect packaging)
· Stars (for romance, navigating, astronomy, and a sense of how big is big)
· Shooting stars
· Seed pods (meditate for 60 seconds on this one)
· Grass with little pellets we can grind and make into bread and cake (wheat)
· Ears (which can distinguish the difference in tone between sincere and insincere)
· Teeth (custom-made to suit every species on the planet)
· Babies (including the smell and softness of newborns)
human brain (which has more connections than the
· Sleep (He didn't make enough of it)
· Illness (yes, even illness)
· Our stomachs (with their 36,000,000 acid-producing glands which digest a steak but don't touch the stomach's own lining)
· Cell division
· Several million other features of our own bodies which we will never notice or appreciate
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