I set my mind to happily remember
How it was at our home every November.
By then the frosty mornings freeze the nose
You hear a sighing in the wind that blows.
The cellar house hangs high the herbal treasure
And corn field beans are there for winter pleasure.
Dried apples are removed from thread and packed
Safely in the bags that Mother made they’re sacked.
Hams and shoulders are in smokehouse smoking
Buried in salt the other parts are soaking.
Although the zero weather we expect
It cannot touch our food supply; it is checked
In kiln, on excelsior beds it’s found—
All rutabagas, turnips, parsnips underground
With sweet potatoes, also, in the bed,
And, by the way, our cabbages by the head,
Were fully protected from the cold and snow
By plowing furrow, straw-lined,stalks aloft to show!
We buried the cabbage heads for Mother’s slaw,
For soup, or just a pot of cabbage, or eat it raw!
Potatoes and corn bread with it! What a treat!
Sorghum molasses, pickled beans, sauerkraut to eat!
This is why the Johnson’s celebrated in November
For snow and ice would follow in December.
There were wooden chests of apples we could munch,
And take to school to share when we had lunch.
A wooden box held Dutch onions large, the flavor bold,
But my father said “Eat onions and ward off a cold!”
Hundreds and hundreds of Mason fruit jars lined the shelves,
And we canned the fruits and vegetables grown ourselves.
November we gathered round the fire.The harvest is in.
The walnuts, hazelnuts, and pop corn are in the bin.
It’s time for blazing logs, for games and story
Thanksgiving has arrived in all its glory!
Maxine Johnson Bersch-Lovern
Nov. 9, 2014