a thanksgiving treat

    “We can only be said to be alive in those moments
          when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”
                                                        (Thornton Wilder)

            melia.jpg picture by jamesmargaret3rd
      (My great-niece, Melia, apple picking this fall)

This Thanksgiving Week, I’ve been thinking about family and friends. 

Most of them live far away, in places like Hawaii, Oregon, Arizona, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and the UK. We won’t be together for Thanksgiving, but that’s okay. I know where they are and that they are well. These people are my treasures, and make me rich beyond words.

Every day I am grateful for my computer and the internet. I can open an email and a gift awaits — like the above photo of my great-niece, Melia. I can read about her glorious autumn apple-picking day in the Hood River Valley. Just like magic, the distance between Virginia and Oregon vanishes. 

Recently I googled an artist friend we knew in London thirty years ago. I was thrilled to find John alive and well, living in Wiltshire with his wife and daughter. I was thinking about him this week because he was there when I celebrated my first Thanksgiving away from my family in Hawaii. Of course it was John’s first Thanksgiving, his first encounter with this strictly American holiday.

My husband, Len, and his roommate, Jim, invited me and two other homesick American teachers over to their flat. For starters, we couldn’t find a decent-sized turkey in all of Wimbledon. We had to special order a 6-lb bird from the butcher, who couldn’t believe we were capable of gobbling up such a behemoth. 

The grocers had some beautiful brussels sprouts, potatoes and butternut squash. This being my first time handling fresh sprouts, I didn’t know to remove the outer leaves or to cut off the stem. It’s a good thing we were all young, and had good teeth. No such thing as pumpkin pie anywhere. No Libby’s canned pumpkin, nothing. I don’t remember whether we settled for apple pie or had any dessert at all. But it was a feast for all time. 

A fond memory is a treasure. It can make thirty years ago seem like yesterday. With a couple of taps on my keyboard and a few clicks of my mouse, I conquered time and rekindled friendship. I was thrilled to learn that John’s wife, Jo, illustrates children’s books. Here are two pictures from her new website:

               Girl_daydreaming20copy1.jpg picture by jamesmargaret3rd
                  “Girl Daydreaming,” from THE TREE, by Jo Empson

              Children_Dog1.jpg picture by jamesmargaret3rd
                                 Untitled by Jo Empson

 Pretty amazing, huh? Here are a couple of John’s masterpieces:

                              Sophie1.jpg picture by jamesmargaret3rd
                          “Sophie’s Bubbles,” by John Shipperbottom 

                         Primrose-01-031.jpg picture by jamesmargaret3rd
                            “Primrose,” by John Shipperbottom

These two artists create treasures such as these every single day. When I see their work, there is gratitude. Gratitude that despite whatever else is happening in the world, art and beauty continue to thrive. I am also grateful that you are here, reading this post and appreciating this art. 

Thanksgiving Day is our yearly wake-up call, to be conscious and live inside every moment, for when we are aware of everything we have, we cannot help but be grateful. 

Set a big table on Thursday, with enough seating for all those you hold dear. The magic of this holiday is that they will all come.

You may wish to top off your celebration by visiting these websites:
John Shipperbottom

Jo Empson


14 thoughts on “a thanksgiving treat

  1. Thanks for posting these pics & links. And yes – art & beauty continue to thrive because they are in the core of humanity – and that’s a lot to be grateful for! Happy Thanksgiving!


  2. Thank you for sharing your friends Jo and John with us! Wowza! What gorgeous art! I can’t wait to go see more at their websites.
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and all who sit around your very large table.


  3. The table may be large, but there are very few dishes to wash!
    John’s website displays pieces that are up for sale. One of these would make a very special Christmas gift!


  4. I give thanks for friendships ‘old’ and ‘new’ and we both certainly treasure ‘your’ friendship. Reading your ‘thanksgiving treat’ was so touching (thank you) and so lovely to see that great pic of your great niece! You’ll be glad to hear I have a recipe for ‘Pumpkin Pie’ just incase you and Len ever fancy visiting the UK again:) Jo x


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