Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Pilgrims Have Landed

at my home!

I love Thanksgiving.  It holds for me some of the most special memories of time with family.
Perhaps it is because most of the day is spent in the kitchen or around the table.  What better places to feel warm and loved?
Schedules do not seem as frantic and shopping lists not as long or materialistic.
It is a wonderful holiday, but too sadly lost between Halloween and Christmas.

As an adult, some very special Thanksgivings were spent at my sister's rustic country home in East Texas.  After stuffing our faces, we would often go hiking to gather pine cones, holly berries and other holiday greenery.  Notice I said this event took place after eating the turkey and dressing and pumpkin pie!  They all deserve their own moment in the spotlight, before turning our attention to the joys of Christmas.

Other memorable Thanksgivings were spent at my dear mother-in-law's home in Tennessee.
They were the complete opposite, as we gathered around a table graced with fine embroidered linens, antique china, crystal, sterling silver, and

the cutest little Pilgrim couple!
I have no idea where my mother-in-law purchased these, but they were obviously handmade.
It appears their bodies are made of glass soda bottles covered with white socks.  Their garments and features are handstitched from simple fabrics and felt.  They are also quite heavy, leading me to believe they may be weighted with plaster of paris.
Looking in the mirror's reflection above, you can see Mrs. Pilgrim's sweet long braid of yarn.  She holds a tiny basket filled with dried flowers.  I think Mr. Pilgram once held a musket, but that seems to have gone missing somewhere along the way!
I am just grateful to have them at all.
After being diagnosed with recurring breast cancer, my mother-in-law opted to leave her beloved home and relocate to a residential facility offering various stages and levels of health care.  Much of her furniture and cherished possessions came to Texas to live with us.  As the boxes were unpacked, I realized one was missing.  A frantic call was made to the company handling the estate sale.  I waited with bated breath, until this sweet little Pilgrim couple was safely in my hands.  A missing musket was the least of my concerns!
They have not missed a year of standing on my mother-in-law's mahogony table, even though the table has traveled to another state and three different homes.

Before Mr. and Mrs. Pilgrim joined my Thanksgiving decorations, I purchased this grouping of Pilgrims and Indians.  We refer to them as the Tall and Skinny Quartet.  They measure almost 20" tall, and obviously had not partaken of too many great feasts.   Carved of wood, with brightly painted details, they are currently displayed on top of a chest in our entry hall.

The smallest and sweetest are these little candles which once belonged to me and my sister.  That would date them from the late 1950's to early 1960's.  Both were lit at one or more times.  You may note the one on the left has a slightly flattened head from being burned.  I am so grateful that my very wise mother did not let us burn these completely, and even more grateful that she lovingly preserved them for so many years.

Even more amazing?  The price and the fact they were made right here in the USA!

The settings of my Thanksgiving memories may differ greatly.
The one constant is each was filled with loving family members, many of whom are no longer with us.  Yet, the memories of them and their love are etched forever on my heart.
For that I give great thanks.


Jeannie B. said...

Jan, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday too. I love your special decorations!! Wish I had saved mine.

Unknown said...

Jan, I love your table decorations. I haven't even started putting my Thanksgiving things out. I'd better get started! Happy Thanksgiving.

Hugs, Prissy

Unknown said...

After looking at your wonderful decorations, I am amazed to discover that I actually don't have any Thanksgiving decorations! I need to remedy this, pronto, since I am hosting this year....I love those little candles. We had those at my house, too, growing up in the early 60s.

Cheryl said...

My thanksgiving decorations are Christmas ornaments lol.. I start early!

Rettabug said...

Jan, this is such a thoughtful & touching post, full of wonderful memories & tributes to the women who shaped your life. I feel lucky & honored to be able to get a glimpse into your family's traditions & treasures.

The little handmade pilgrims are just adorable! I love it that you positioned her near the mirror so we could see her braid. Too cute!

I often wonder what will happen to all my treasures when its time to downsize. Lord, help my daughter! LOL

Mormor said...

Jan, I just love those little Pilgrim candles. They and their Christmas counterparts, (little choir boys), were part of my childhood as well. I received a catalogue in the mail that carries them! At least the choir boys. I will try to dredge up the name of the catalogue and let you know.
Thanks for your kind comments on my blog.

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