A quiet Thanksgiving…by Michael Morse

by Michael Morse, contributing writer

It’s not as if I didn’t have 364 days this year to get everything I need for the Thanksgiving Feast, but here it is, 3:30 on the day before and I’m compiling a list. Wine, beer, gravy, cranberry sauce, figs (yes that’s right, figs.)

Somehow all of these things, well, maybe not the figs, will be readily available. Millions of people shop for the same things, millions of turkeys, millions of gallons of gravy, millions of cranberries yet there is always more.

Unbelievable. Truly.

My garden still produces kale. It’s all that is left of the tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and marigolds. Everything else is gone, plants pulled out, composting somewhere, ready to fertilize next year’s crop. But the kale keeps on coming.

I like being in the empty garden and thinking of the people who started this Thanksgiving tradition. I don’t think it was the Pilgrims and Indians though. It goes further back than that. It must, for as long as there is life, and people to live it there is reason to give thanks.

As amazing as I find it that all I need is in the grocery stores the day before the official holiday, people much like myself found it amazing that corn, and fruit, and turkeys were available to them. They prayed and gave thanks to whatever entity or miracle of life provided the ingredients for their life sustaining gifts. Their bounty was no less miraculous than ours. They led simpler lives, had more modest needs, and were thankful that the earth provided what they needed to get them through.

For some crazy reason I was thinking about technology, and how I think we are much too dependent on other peoples’ genius. But in all likelihood, my grandparents thought that TV was ridiculous and a waste of time, and how the imagination is being replaced by images. They probably preferred the radio, at least that made you visualize what was being said!

Of course, their grandparents likely thought that the radio replaced books, and how the spoken word replaced the thoughts and images that symbols on a page provided. Think about that if you will. Symbols on a page creating images in your head, and those images when strung together creating a story.

But their grandparents preferred a story told around a fire and before that…

I don’t know. But I do know that I’m thankful for this life of mine, and all of the people in it.

And my garden.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Epilogue 2020

There is grace and beauty in a small gathering; everybody involved in the conversation, enough room for everybody to help clean up, nobody getting lost in the hustle and bustle, lots of laughs and just enough quiet reflection.

Some of my favorite Thanksgivings were spent with a few firefighters, on duty and wishing we were home but making the best of what we had. And what we had is what mattered most. 

We had each other.

This year’s Thanksgiving will be among your best. Gather those closest to you, eat with them, toast to their health, enjoy their company and celebrate all we have to be thankful for.

Even if you have to do it alone.

Image courtesy of Andrew Seivert, Salem Massachusetts Fire Department, quiet apparatus floor, the morning after a Thanksgiving fire.


Michael Morse spent 23 years as a firefighter/EMT with the Providence Fire Department before retiring in 2013 as Captain, Rescue Co. 5. He is an author of several books, most offering fellow firefighter/EMTs and the general population alike a poignant glimpse into one person’s journey through life, work and hope for the future. He is a Warwick resident.

1 Comment

  1. Susie Hemingway Moursi on November 25, 2020 at 4:16 pm

    Beautifully written.