Dig In
Off the Wall, November 26,

The Masutas had risen early in the morning to do what most Americans were achieving across the country, sticking the turkey in the oven and hoping it would be done by the time the rest of the family arrived from all over the country.

It seemed that it was the tradition that yearly everyone arrived at Tom and Margaret’s house in Snuckles, Pennsylvania. His brother, Phillip, had to fly in from the longest distance away where he lived with his wife, Trudista, and their two children in Locutafda, Maryland. All would descend upon the couple’s house to chow down on the one day we all know as Thanksgiving.

As is the custom during this holiday, the entire family would prepare large portions of some kind of side dish that would be contributed to the feast of the meal. That would include vegetable concoctions, salads of various ingredients, and of course, more desserts that one could ever imagine.

Rich Houser, Margaret’s cousin, was famous for his apple-filled pastries that were covered with powdered sugar. He would spend days making them and then store them properly and even pack them just right so that they would arrive and taste just like they had cooled right out of the oven. He had a knack for doing this. Needless to say, everyone looked forward to saving a little room at the end of the meal for these “tidbits of joy.”

It was well into the morning when one third of the guests had arrived. Gazing into the kitchen, there were more selections of food that filled the empty spaces than the eye could behold. And to think a number of people had yet to show up. “Would there be space for more food?” one may ask.

Still, folks were looking forward to Teresa Marshista’s ante pasta salad. Turkey day couldn’t be complete without a helping of the tasty side dish. And her sister, Marylou would always arrive with the cranberry sauce, and she was yet to show. It was also questionable why her twin, Marsha, hadn’t shown up with the potatoes, yet. It was getting late and there still had a lot of preparation to be done before the 1 p.m. feast got underway.

Looking at the clock, the large hand had passed the small one and now it was five minutes into the p.m. Every one who could squeeze his way into the kitchen was hard at work preparing for the yearly feast. Adrenalin was pumping.

By 12: 45 p.m., all family members and guests had shown. Plates, silverware, napkins, beverages, and glasses had all been placed methodically on a table. The long awaited time of commencement was shortly to begin.

Out of the corner of the dining room one could hear Margaret shout, “O.K. dig in!” There was a slight silence when one guest piped up and stated, “Don’t you think a prayer of thanks should accompany this meal? After all, we wouldn’t have this food or even this gathering if it wasn’t for our creator,” he said. “O.K,” she said, with a somewhat apathetic tone in her voice. “But don’t make it long, the food will get cold.” He stated what he believed was necessary:

“God, source and giver of all things, we give you thanks for blessing of family and friends, both those gathered around the table and those who are present only in our hearts. We give you thanks for this food, prepared by loving hands, and the graces you provide to nourish our bodies, minds and hearts so that we might better serve you. Help us to be faithful stewards of all that has been given us. May we reflect that which we have received to all we meet, especially the less fortunate in our midst.”

That prayer should remind all that we do have a creator who deserves thanks and praise for everything, not just the food we eat daily, but our blessings, some disguised. May we be most cognizant of the needy, those who don’t see meals on this day or even the homeless living in cardboard boxes or under bridges in cities throughout our country.

Even though the Masutas family may gouge themselves with more food than needed, there are others throughout our country that may not be so blessed. May we do what we can to reach out to them in the many weeks ahead. Area food banks need our help. Are you doing all you can to lend a hand?

- Paul J. Volkmann
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