Thanksgiving Lunch at the Mennonite Church
We’ve been smelling coffee for a while now
as the sermon drones on and on but finally
it’s benediction time and “Thanks
for the food we are about to partake. Amen.”
Old and young crowd down the stairs
to the warm, fragrant basement
claim chairs at the long table
where we usually have Sunday School.
The food committee hovers in the kitchen
as we start filling plates with potato and jello salad
zwieback and butter, sliced tomatoes, cheese
homemade dills, platters of cold pink ham
roast beef, plump fried chicken.
Soon they come with coffee and tea in steaming kettles
then serve plates of pie—apple, cherry, chocolate
lemon meringue, peach, rhubarb, raisin.
Chairs push back. Farmers swap stories
of combine breakdowns and how many
bushels of oats and wheat to the acre.
Women tell of covering the tomatoes
before last Tuesday’s frost, how Suzy’s not liking school
and did you know Adilman’s has a sale on winter coats?
Kids play tag, hide-and-seek
dash between legs back to the table to snitch
sugar cubes, pickles, pieces of cheese
while the food crew clears the end of the table
nearest the kitchen, gathers up
their twelve basketfuls of leftovers
and lingers over their Thanksgiving lunch.
© 2015 – Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)
Though in Canada we celebrated Thanksgiving in Canada over a month ago, I post this today in honor of the U.S. Thanksgiving celebration. Happy Thanksgiving to all my U.S. friends!
We did a lot of eating in our small town Saskatchewan Mennonite Church but I remember that the Thanksgiving spreads were particularly sumptuous, and loaded with enough pie to last till Christmas!
When I think about my upbringing, I am full of gratitude for the seeds of faith that were planted in it, and the example of service I saw in the adults around me.
This post is part of Spiritual Journey Thursday, a series of reflections on my spiritual journey.
This post is also linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Carol at Carol’s Corner.
14 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Lunch at the Mennonite Church”
I love this for its specificity. I am there with you at the table in the basement, the smells, the talk, all there. Happy Thanksgiving!
Thank you, Margaret. Happy Thanksgiving to you!
First, sincere apologies for not acknowledging/wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving back in October. Please pardon my ignorance. Next, thank you for your graciousness in posting in honor of your American friends, as you say, celebrating a month later. Of all the lines in your heartwarming poem, the ones that made me smile most were the happy-ending ones that includes the image of gathering “twelve basketfuls of leftovers.” Surely the Good News continues, and the Lord was presiding and smiling:) God bless you!
Thanks, CBHanek – no problem at all! I love how the later U.S. Thanksgiving keeps our focus on gratitude for a whole six weeks. Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend. Don’t get mowed over by those Black Friday crowds!
What a wonderful way of looking at our twin Thanksgivings. Next year, thanks to you, I have to take advantage of the opportunity to stretch my thankfulness, starting six weeks earlier! Is your Thanksgiving a fixed or movable holiday? I need to make note. …Not to worry about me. I shop as little, as early in the morning, and as infrequently as possible:) …Thanks for caring!
Violet, this certainly takes me back to my childhood, and I even in my teens was one of the helpers. I actually love most that “Chairs push back./Farmers swap stories.” They did, and I suppose still do. What a lovely memory you’ve captured. Thank you for the Thanksgiving wishes.
This took me back to the ice cream social at my small town church last summer — the farmers, the little kids, the ice cream servers…and the quilt on its frame in the back corner for the quilting group’s weekly work.
Love your ice-cream social picture, Mary Lee–especially that telling detail of the quilt. We are from salt-of-the-earth stock!
Violet, this is just wonderfully drawn–both reminiscent of so many church meals everywhere and yet so Saskatchewan and Mennonite specific. I trust your details wholly. And holy.
Thank you Heidi! Isn’t it rewarding to relive childhood memories like that? (Or maybe it’s a sign of growing old.) Bless you. I hope you had a fabulous Thanksgiving.
Loved the reference to 12 baskets of leftovers! And thanks for the reminder that Canada has their Thanksgiving earlier. I’d better make sure that is on my calendar! It was nice of you to remember to wish us a happy Thanksgiving. It would be nice to be able to remember to return the wishes at the appropriate time next year!
Thanks, Donna, but it’s no deal at all. It’s nice to have a Thanksgiving ‘season’ from mid-October to the end of November. Canada benefits from your late Thanksgiving too. In the last few years we have Black Friday sales here like you wouldn’t believe.
Delicious poem, Violet! Love the warmth and community it captures.
Thanks, Tabatha. I’m glad you felt the warmth.