This Week in Lincolnville: Giving Thanks

Mon, 11/20/2023 - 7:15am

    I really like Thanksgiving.

    This holiday gets a bad rap among some, which I definitely get. The story of Thanksgiving we learned as children, about the pious, righteous, hearty Pilgrims, and how the welcoming Native Peoples taught them to farm and joined them for a feast, and they all lived happily ever after, is about the biggest load of BS in our whole national mythology.

    Still, gathering with family and friends to share a harvest meal seems like pretty natural activity for the social animals that we are.

    The act of giving thanks, be you religious or secular, can be powerful. To find gratitude. 

    My archived memory banks are full of recollections of Thanksgivings past. Often, as a child, the table was graced with a bird I watched raised from a chick, the side dishes largely made up of vegetables pulled from our garden..

    I recall one Thankgiving at the Massachusetts home of my father’s uncle, the uncle he had only just learned existed, and whose family welcomed us with open arms. As I may have mentioned before, discovering new family has been a theme all my life.

    One of my favorite Thanksgivings was held in the tiny living room of a narrow row house in Cork, Ireland. As part of a study abroad program at University College, we had been sent the fixings for a traditional American Thanksgiving, and a bunch of college kids pooled our skills to prepare a meal. I recall the Spanish couple who shared the house provided several batches of increasingly strong Sangria. Thanksgiving Day may be an American holiday, but it has got to be one of the easiest to adapt across cultures.

    I always think, at this time of year, of the kid coming home from their first few months at college, and revealing to their gathered family some shocking revelation they have discovered about themself or the world. Political discussions, or the attempts to ban them for the harmony of the meal, are often part of the experience. When you gather as an extended family and friend group, fireworks can result.

    I love this, too. And, at least at the gatherings I have attended, most disputes can be settled with a piece of pumpkin (gross) or pecan (divine) pie. Were that all disputes were settled over a shared meal.

    Folks, its kind of bleak out there in the world. My thoughts are with families all over this blue marble, living in fear of bombs and missiles, loved ones that are missing from the table – serving, or kidnapped, or lost forever. The anger and hatred toward fellow humans. Children who face every day without any sense of safety and security.

    It is so complicated, but why? Our similarities will always overcome our differences if we stop and think. Now I am not naive, and I do not propose that all the world’s problems would be solved with a piece of pie. But maybe some can.

    What we can do is consider our own actions. Examine how we treat the people we disagree with, the people whose beliefs we find deeply offensive; the jerk who can’t drive in downtown Camden; the troll being obnoxious on the internet. Are you able to turn the other cheek, to reach out to someone you might consider an enemy? Am I?

    Thursday is the day set aside by the federal government as a day to give thanks. How you choose to celebrate or ignore this is of course up to you. With darkness in our world, with darkness in our country, with the still-growing darkness of the turn of seasons, it seems like gratitude can be a way to bring some light.

    Find the things to be thankful for. The roof over your head, the people who love you, the food on your table. The way the sun shines off Penobscot Bay, the rustle of the last leaves, the frozen beauty of a frosty windshield. Give thanks that you are still alive, and the belief that things can get better, if they seem bleak. Give thanks for hope, and the knowledge that spring will return.

    As has become the tradition here at Sleepy Hollow, we will push a bunch of tables together in this converted barn loft and dig out my Nana Roesing’s wedding china, which has seen more use in the last five years than in the previous 50. Family and friends. And pie.

    Nana Roesing’s Super Secret Thanksgiving Appetizer Recipe

    Take a block of softened cream cheese, a block of softened blue cheese, a spoonful or two of mayonnaise, a couple dashes of Worcestershire and mix it all together. Spread onto celery sticks, with a sprinkle of paprika for color. My Nana Roesing’s secret recipe, likely cribbed from a 1950 era Good Housekeeing magazine. This was always the highlight of my childhood Thanksgivings….

    Beach Bistro

    No, not a new restaurant, but the first of hopefully many dinners was held Saturday night at the Lincolnville Historical Society’s Beach Schoolhouse.

    Dorothy Newcomb and Dick Butler prepared a fantastic meal consisting of shrimp cocktail, filet mignon with demi-glacé provided by Fresh & Co. restaurant, and crème brûlée. The beautifully restored first floor classroom made for a lovely dining room for the sold-out dinner. Thanks to the friends who learned last minute they could not attend and passed their tickets to Tracee and I.

    With professionals in the kitchen and enthusiastic amateurs serving, and beautifully decorated tables with flowers provided by Janis Kay, it was a decidedly elegant affair on a cold November night. Funds raised will bolster ongoing restoration efforts at the Schoolhouse Museum.

    Lincolnville Ornament

    Stop by the Red Cottage, 258 Main Street in Lincolnville Center, to give your tree some Lincolnville pride this holiday season. Gifts, home goods, there is plenty to discover. The Red Cottage is open Friday, Saturday, Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    I hope many of you have a short work week. Make sure you take that bird out of the freezer on time, be thankful and be mindful of what topics you decide to bring up around the table. Reach out at ceobrien246@gmail,com.


    Tuesday, November 21

    Library open 3-6 p.m. 208 Main Street

    AA Meeting 12 p.m., Community Building, 18 Searsmont Road

    Wednesday, November 22

    Library open 2-5 p.m. 

    Thursday, November 23

    Thanksgiving Day, Town Office closed

    Friday, November 24

    Thanksgiving Friday, Town Office closed

    AA Meeting 12 p.m., Community Building, 18 Searsmont Road

    Library open 9-12, 208 Main Street

    Saturday, November 25

    Library open 9-12, 208 Main Street

    Sunday, November 26

    United Christian Church, 9:30 a.m. Worship, 18 Searsmont Road

    Bayshore Baptist Church, 9:30 a.m. Sunday School, 11:00 worship, 2648 Atlantic Highway