Thanksgiving Time

As Thanksgiving day draws near again, I am reminded of an occurrence of my childhood. To tell the truth, it is a yearly habit of mine to think of it about this time and to smile at it once more.

We were living on the frontier in South Dakota then. There’s no more frontier within the boundaries of the United  States, more’s the pity, but then we were ahead of the railroad in a new unsettled country. Our nearest and only neighbor was 12 miles away and the store was 40 miles distant.

Father had laid in a supply of provisions for the winter and among them were salt meats, but for fresh meat we depended on father’s gun and the antelope which fed, in herds, across the prairie. We were quite excited, one day near Thanksgiving, when father hurried into the house for his gun and then away again to try for a shot at a belated flock of wild geese hurrying south.

We would have roast goose for Thanksgiving dinner! “Roast goose and dressing seasoned with sage,” said sister Mary. “No not sage! I don’t like sage and we won’t have it in the dressing,” I exclaimed. Then we quarreled, sister Mary and I, she insisting that there should be sage in the dressing and I declaring there should not be sage in the dressing, until father returned, — without the goose! I remember saying in a meek voice to sister Mary, “I wish I had let you have the sage,” and to this day when I think of it I feel again just as I felt then and realize how thankful I would have been for roast goose and dressing with sage seasoning — with or without any seasoning — I could even have gotten along without the dressing. Just plain goose roasted would have been plenty good enough.

This little happening has helped me to be properly thankful even tho at times the seasoning of my blessings has not been just such as I would have chosen.

From “Thanksgiving Time”  by Laura Ingalls Wilder, published in The Missouri Ruralist, November 20,1916

Posted in Quotations from Laura
4 comments on “Thanksgiving Time
  1. LadyJessop says:

    Thanks so much for posting this! I love the last sentence.

    I loved reading the LH books when I was a kid and as an adult I love their wisdon.


  2. Tracy Sapp says:

    It is interesting to note that this story happened at Thanksgiving. In the book “On the Shores of Silver Lake”, this story takes place in the spring when the geese are returning north to their summering grounds.

  3. Maridel Weaver says:

    It seems ironic that sage was Mary’s favorite but when we think of a color associated with Laura the first response is sage green.

  4. Carla says:

    I saw where Sarah Uthoff (in Trundle bed Tales) posted a story out of Laura’s original newspaper columns about the time on Silver Lake that she and Mary had that fight over what to stuff Pa’s (supposed) goose with, sage or onion dressing. Laura wrote that, as we all know, Pa didn’t Get a goose, so the argument was in vain, and how she wished she could’ve let Mary have the sage stuffing.