Thursday, April 24, 2014
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LOOKING UP • JOE BAISDEN |Thanksgiving memories

The airline industry tells us that the Thanksgiving weekend is the peak travel time in any given year.  With good weather and normal operations, the journeys short or long are safe and efficient.  Families are reunited, turkeys and football games are shared, and, hopefully, opportunity taken to join hearts in gratitude to God for the abundance of beneficent blessings He continually bestows.
Some of my fondest Thanksgiving memories are of family trips to Janelle’s parents’ home in Liberty, Texas.  We would load our ‘68 Chevy wagon and leave Belton after Wednesday night services for the 200-mile trek into the night.  In those days, it seemed worth it to make the miles and fight the fog in order to be there Thanksgiving morning. 
Awakening to the aroma from the kitchen put a major league growl in the stomach.  The traditional Thanksgiving menu was served on the beautifully decorated table in the spacious dining room


By football time, three grandchildren would have rearranged what had previously been a scene suitable for a photograph in Better Homes and Gardens. 
I will never forget my father-in-law and I literally shaking the house on its foundation in 1974 when Clint Longley, with 35-seconds on the clock, threw the 50-yard pass to Drew Pearson for a comeback win for the Cowboys over the rival Redskins. 
Before our family would leave for the 4-hour return drive to Belton on Friday or Saturday, Dr. Davis would survey the debris and disarray in the hourse and make this profound announcement, “I like it!”
Let me remind us of travel in another era.  William Bradford, in his History of the Plymouth Plantation, describes the arrival of the Pilgrims in 1620 with these words:  “. . . they were not a little joyful . . . being thus arrived in a good harbor, and brought safe to land, they fell upon their knees and blessed the God of heaven, who had brought them over the vast and furious ocean.”
Unlike present-day transoceanic travelers deplaning, Bradford paints a picture of a dramatically different scene, “. . . no friends to welcome them nor inns to entertain or refresh their weather-beaten bodies, no houses or much less towns to repair in.”   He described their environment as a “hideous and desolate wilderness.”  They could not hop a return flight after a brief stay.  One-half the company died during the winter. Bradford asked, “What could now sustain them but the spirit of God and His grace?” 
When spring came, they planted crops. His account of the remainder of that first year includes these words, “They began now to gather in the small harvest . . . All the summer there was no want. . . And thus they found the Lord to be with them in all their ways. . . for which let His holy name have the praise forever, to all posterity.”
We are that “posterity.”  The “hideous and desolate wilderness” has become the richest nation in the world. 
Those Plymouth Pilgrims praised God in adversity and in prosperity, in sickness and in health.  They thanked Him for their all.  In that awareness of God and appreciation for Him was the secret of their survival and success. 
Times and travel have changed.  The secret of true survival and success, however,  remains the same. 
“Let us come before Him with thanksgiving.”--Psa. 95:2