I learned this song in third or fourth grade in music class and we probably only sang it one year. We learned dozens of those songs through the years, but this is one of the two or three that stuck in mind. I call this one my “Thanksgiving Carol” and I always hear it sung by children's voices all around me, with my own voice belting it out right along with them.Oh bring the turkey, golden brown,
the mashed potatoes light,
The cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie,
my, oh what a sight!
We'll eat and eat until at last,
we've had too much, but then,
Thanksgiving comes but once a year,
so we can get thin again!
The tune takes me back to my early childhood Thanksgivings. Those all blur together. Many years we went to visit one set or the other of the grandparents (I was fortunate that all four of mine lived to become great-grandparents), and there were often lots of cousins around. Other times people came to our house.
It all blurs together into a composite memory of a crowded house, busy kitchen, wonderful smells and too much food. The menu was unvarying: Turkey, cornbread stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, candied sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top, cranberry sauce (both jellied and fresh orange-cranberry), peas or green beans, 24 Hour Salad (a sinfully rich fruit, custard and whipped cream concoction), and pies (usually mince and pumpkin) with lots of whipped cream.
Today the people around the table are more likely to be friends and neighbors than family, but the menu has stayed the same, true to the tune in my head.
What about your family traditions? Is your menu set, or do you scour food magazines for new ideas? Who joins you? Do you have any rituals of giving special thanks? And what about songs? Do you have Thanksgiving songs? Do you remember any songs from school days? Write it all down!
Sharon Lippincott, aka Ritergal