Thursday, November 25, 2010

Five Kernals of Corn

Thanksgiving
It's my favorite holiday of the year.
It celebrates my three favorite things:
Faith...
Family...and Food.
Notice that I didn't add Football.
Sorry...
Football just isn't one of my favorite things.


We are doubly thankful to have our two favorite college girls home for the week. If you've read here long, you know that everything takes a back seat when my girls come home from college. 


I love being surrounded by family.

Those Pilgrims of 1621 would probably
have loved it too.

That First Thanksgiving, however,
was not much of a family celebration.


Never mind the ones left behind across the ocean....


Did you know...
Of all the families aboard the Mayflower that year,
only the family of Stephen Hopkins
survived as a unit on that day
we call The First Thanksgiving?

And
did you know...
Only four of the wives
survived the winter?

Did you know...
That that first winter which took
half of the population
was not the worst season for the Pilgrims?


The miserable winter of 1623
 was followed by
 a summer drought.
That year was ever after called
The Starving Year.

They  subsisted on whatever shellfish
 they could catch by hand
 and rations of corn,

kernal by kernal...

(And we think we're living in tough times?)

On Forefather’s Day, 22nd Dec. 1820,
they began the tradition of
rationing five kernals of corn
beside each plate
to remember
The Starving Year
and thank the God who carried them through it.

We heard the story and read the poem
 Five Kernals of Corn
when the girls were in elementary school.
Being one of *those* families,
we began adding five kernals of corn to
our Thanksgiving too.

This week,
instead of a tablescape for invisible people,
I'm sharing our actual
 Thanksgiving Eve dinner table
and the poem that inspired our Five Kernals of Corn.


( By the way....that  random fork in some pictures is the handiwork of a smart aleck husband protesting the absence of dessert. I was tempted to serve him five kernals of corn... )


Five Kernals of Corn

'Twas the year of the famine in Plymouth of old,
The ice and the snow from the thatched roofs had rolled;
Through the warm purple skies steered the geese o'er the seas,
And the woodpeckers tapped in the clocks of the trees;
And the boughs on the slopes to the south winds lay bare,
and dreaming of summer, the buds swelled in the air.
The pale Pilgrims welcomed each reddening morn;

There were left but for rations Five Kernels of Corn.
Five Kernels of Corn! Five Kernels of Corn!
But to Bradford a feast were Five Kernels of Corn!

"Five Kernels of Corn! Five Kernels of Corn!
Ye people, be glad for Five Kernels of Corn!"
So Bradford cried out on bleak Burial Hill,
And the thin women stood in their doors, white and still.
"Lo, the harbor of Plymouth rolls bright in the Spring,
The maples grow red, and the wood robins sing,
The west wind is blowing, and fading the snow,
And the pleasant pines sing, and arbutuses blow.

Five Kernels of Corn! Five Kernels of Corn!
To each one be given Five Kernels of Corn!"

O Bradford of Austerfield hast on thy way,
The west winds are blowing o'er Provincetown Bay,
The white avens bloom, but the pine domes are chill,
And new graves have furrowed Precisioners' Hill!
"Give thanks, all ye people, the warm skies have come,
The hilltops are sunny, and green grows the holm,
And the trumpets of winds, and the white March is gone,

Five Kernels of Corn! Five Kernels of Corn!
Ye have for Thanksgiving Five Kernels of Corn!

"The raven's gift eat and be humble and pray,
A new light is breaking and Truth leads your way;
One taper a thousand shall kindle; rejoice
That to you has been given the wilderness voice!"
O Bradford of Austerfi eld, daring the wave,
And safe through the sounding blasts leading the brave,
Of deeds such as thine was the free nation born,
And the festal world sings the "Five Kernels of Corn."

Five Kernels of Corn! Five Kernels of Corn!
The nation gives thanks for Five Kernels of Corn!

Happy Thanksgiving!

*****
Sharing our Thanksgiving Eve table with  The Porch People for  Tablescape Thursday.

28 comments:

Grace on the Narrow Path said...

Oh my what a lovely table and post. You are so talented my friend. I learn so much visiting here. Have a Happy Thanksgiving today. God is so faithful to us . . . Praise HIS Holy Name.
Blessings,
Bren

gnee @ Singing With Birds said...

I've never seen your poem Debbie and I will share it with my family. We use our five kernels of corn to count our blessings as we go around the table on Thanksgiving. May I say too that your table, for your family, is amazingly beautiful. Have a wonderful day together counting your blessings!

Sue said...

I love your tablescape Debbie, but your thoughts and this poem, really blessed me so much. Sometimes I think we in this country forget what sacrifices were made so that we enjoy all of these many blessings,
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.
Hugs, Sue

Manuela@TPOH said...

Your Thanksgiving tablescape is beautiful! Wishing you wondeful day!

Manuela

sarah said...

these things are so interesting. Who knew??? thank you for sharing them and your table with those beautiful plates look great. Have a very happy thanksgiving.

Envoy-ette said...

Wow! I really enjoyed reading about the early pilgrims and 5 kernals of corn. When my boys complain there isn't any french fries on my table today, I'll tell them about it!

Miss Char said...

Your table says Happy Thanksgiving in a beautiful display. Thank you so much for sharing and Happy Thanksgiving.

living-the-balanced-life said...

Debbie,
What a beautiful table! And I love history and learning about the 5 kernels. I remember hearing it once upon a time, thank you for bringing it back!
Bernice
http://livingthebalancedlife.com/2010/my-special-season-of-thanksgiving/

Kelli said...

Happy Thanksgiving! I know you are overjoyed to have your daughters HOME!! We actually did the 5 kernels of corn one year in our family. My children have been enthralled with our study of the Pilgrims this year and are old enough to understand the incredible hardships they faced!! Thanks for sharing!

Splurgie said...

Great post. I love your Give Thanks plates. So many lovely touches such as the cornucopia, Indian corn and the pilgrims. Lovely table.

elizabeth said...

Love your tablescape and the story of the 5 kernels! Hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful...isn't it great when our kids come home...just wait til you have grandbabies! Anyway those little birds from Target that you asked about came that way...for only $1!

Entertaining Women said...

I know that everyone must have had a wonderful time sitting at your beautiful Thanksgiving tablescape. The Five Kernals of Corn is a lovely tradition and poem. I've saved the poem to share next year with my family...and if I can remember that long, I'll join your tradition of the five kernals of corn at each place setting. Thank you for sharing your charming design and for stopping by my post. Cherry Kay

Gail @ Faithfulness Farm said...

Debbie...such a great reminder of what it is we are celebrating! We did the 5 Kernals when our children were small...each placesetting had the 5 kernals. Boy what a great way to drive it home to younguns.

Your table is simply gorgeous my friend! So inviting.

Blessings!
Gail

The Polka Dot Closet said...

What a great post, how could I have never heard that story! You are right "People think they have it bad" Enjoy the time with the special girls I am going out of town to see my special boy in a week and I cannot wait , I have not seen him since July, Thank you for stopping by and your way to kind comments!

Carol

Sherri Cassara said...

What a beautiful and very meaningful post! You are right that we think we have it 'bad' and we really have no idea what 'bad' is. I can relate to having the kids home from college! Thanks for visiting my post and for your nice comments. P.S. I like your husband's sense of humor ;)
xo
Sherri

CAL said...

Beautiful words and a lovely table setting. Enjoyed every word, thank you!!

Pattie @ Olla-Podrida said...

Beautiful post and lovely table. I love the plates with the sentiment on them.

Tina G said...

Love your table setting! It gave me a lot of new ideas for next year! Your story of the 5 kernels was a great read! I'm going to print it so my family can read it. Sure makes you appreciate how good we have it now! God Bless!

Ms.Daisy said...

Debbie,
Stopped by to wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend. Loved the poem of the 5 kernals of corn...hadn't heard of it before. Your table is beautiful!


~Jean

Dayle said...

We have so much to be thankful for. So many blessings.

I hope your day was wonderful. So glad the college kids are home.

blesid said...

Hello from Jules at bles-id! Since I love, love, love your blog, I wanted to pass on to you the Stylish Blogger Award. I hope you will visit and pass it on! Just follow this:
http://bles-id.blogspot.com/2010/11/stylish-blogger-award.html
Have a fabulous day! XOXO Jules

Alycia Nichols said...

What???!?!!! Not football??!?!?! Oh, no!!! :-) I LOVE that flatware! The lines of it are simple but just perfect!!! Beautiful!

bj said...

How beautiful the table...and I don't like football, either...UNLESS...a grandson is playing. :))
And shame on me for baking bread when you are trying to diet.!!:(

laurie @ bargain hunting said...

Debbie, I love the 5 kernals of corn tradition you have in your family. Having read that poem, it never occurred to me to start that tradition (duh!). What a great idea! Love your husband's sense of humor! Your Thanksgiving table looks so pretty. Hope it was a wonderful day. laurie

Denise said...

Great table...I love those plates. I'm so glad you were able to spend some time with those wonderful gals of yours. At least both of them appreciate your beautiful table. And, that husband of yours is always doing something for humor!!

FrouFrouBritches said...

Beautiful! Love those "Give Thanks" plates. I didn't know about the five kernals of corn. That is very interesting. I'm sure you had a wonderful time with your girls! I'm thankful for you, my bloggy friend!

Sharon Kirby said...

What a wonderful story! We truly do have SO MUCH to be thankful for! I really liked the story of the 5 kernels - "A new light is breaking and Truth leads your way" - that was my favorite line!!

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving - what fun to have the girls home!! Know that this "invisible person" was with you in spirit. (And I was there with a random fork for dessert, too!!)

Only one thing - c'mon, Debbie - you gotta have FOOTBALL!!!

GOD BLESS!

Yellow Rose Arbor said...

I guess I missed this one last week. Glad I scrolled down and found it! The dishes are so pretty, and love the ear of corn at each place setting. Thanks for the info...no, I didn't know!

We've done the five kernels and the poem before, really neat.

Katherine

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