SURRATT: An early Thanksgiving greeting

Published 4:00 am Friday, November 18, 2022

This week, I’m jumping ahead of the calendar and writing about Thanksgiving.

The evidence of Thanksgiving’s approach begins at the end of October — the Halloween candy is on sale and store aisles begin to clutter with boxes full of holiday decorations, festive paper plates and plastic utensils for those who want to put on a spread without having to wash a lot of dishes.

But what about the meaning of Thanksgiving?

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According to the website History.com, the autumn feast shared in 1621 by the Plymouth colonists and the Wampanoag tribe is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies.

Days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies for more than two centuries and in 1863, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln declared a national Thanksgiving holiday in November.

And then, as today, Thanksgiving has always been like the holiday’s name implies, a day to give thanks, whether it’s for personal reasons or for reasons we feel are greater than our own and we express it in different ways — prayer, volunteering or spending time with family and friends.

But Thanksgiving has also become a commercial day with stores remaining open and people rushing through their holiday dinner to get to the stores and pick up those holiday bargains that were advertised over the past few weeks. I’m old enough to recall a time when the holiday was pretty much devoid of commercialism. The majority of the stores — except for groceries — were closed and people gathered at homes to watch the Macy’s parade, enjoy a good meal and then watch the traditional NFL Thanksgiving game between Green Bay and Detroit or Green Bay and Chicago.

So here we are in the present day, and the traditions that we followed when I was a boy are still with us. We still watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade and enjoy a nice dinner and I still watch football, although I’ve abandoned the NFL game for the Egg Bowl and allow my family to start pulling out the Christmas decorations. There is a rule in our house that the decorations don’t come out until after my birthday, which this year is on Thanksgiving Day. I guess that’s one thing I should be thankful for; that I’ve managed to make it this far and so have my wife and daughter.

And if you’re tired of football after a steady diet Thursday and Friday, there are several local post-Thanksgiving events set for that weekend — the city of Vicksburg has its Christmas tree lighting ceremony on Nov. 25 at 6 p.m. at Washington Street Park; the Kansas City Southern Railroad’s Holiday Train will be in town on Nov. 26 at 4 p.m. and the Downtown Vicksburg Main Street Program will sponsor its Old-Fashioned Christmas Open House on Nov. 27, an event that will include shopping, dining and live music along Washington and adjoining streets from 5 until 7 p.m.

So folks, please take this coming holiday week to enjoy your families, have a good dinner and give thanks for the blessings you have received this year.

Happy Thanksgiving — in advance.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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