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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
               Tuesday, November 26 2002 

Jon Kennedy, webmaster Thanksgiving memories

The notice that's been near the top of the Home Page front page since Halloween, urging readers to send in their Thanksgiving memories, has produced no emailed recollections and only one offer to produce a fiction treat to enhance our feast on Thursday.

My own early memories of Blacklick Valley Thanksgivings are few and sketchy. I recall that at some point—probably early teens—it dawned on me that Thanksgiving was one of my favorite days of the year. But it was usually a nuclear family celebration for our family, not the kind usually depicted in H. Armstrong Roberts stock photos, Saturday Evening Post covers, and situation comedies, when all the members of at least three generations get together.

Perhaps the earliest specific memory attached to Thanksgiving may be the year Dad, with the help of neighbor men, butchered a large hog. I might have been as young as six years old at the time, as I don't remember being asked to help in the least, though I was undoubtedly told to stay out of the way. The farm on Redmill Road had lots of outbuildings at that time—barn, chicken coop, pig pen, and several sheds. My impression is that we had pigs for some years, but always sold them to professionals for butchering all the other times.

And I remember that the first step and a big one was that a huge copper kettle, used for no other purpose except, possibly, making applebutter (but we never had enough edible apples to do that), had to be hung over an open fire, filled with water that had to be brought to it in buckets, and brought to a boil. My guess is that the water was used more to remove the pig's hair and perhaps its skin, than to get it clean, though that would seem a priority, also. I still think I remember the squeal of the pig when it was killed, but don't know if it was shot (probably, and probably in the head to minimize loss of valuable flesh), or some other way, possibly taking a sledge hammer to its cranium (but that's just a second guess).

I remember that Mom worked on a feast for the family while the men worked at killing and dressing the pig, and it took all day to get the messy task done, which by Dad's reckoning was probably around 4 p.m.. The neighbors were paid for their contributions of labor in meat portions. The Folks had acquired a sausage grinder at an auction sale (most likely) which was put into good use for months to come. And although the butchering was unusual, there had been more than one or two deer butchered in the neighborhood previously. And we had the most plentiful and tasty pork fare ever the rest of that winter.

—Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Signs across America



  Besides, they're not in season.



—Sent by Sallie Covolo

Thought for today

There is no grace without humility.

—Saint Bernard
Sent by Bud Macfarlane, CatholiCity

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