Our school harvest feast is always a major event involving placemats and napkin rings made by the students, and food more or less from the school garden. The preschool and elementary kids "gathered together" the tomatoes, peppers, and basil. They washed the vegetables, then hacked at them with plastic knives before cooking them down and putting them through a hand-crank food mill. Then invisible Thanksgiving fairies transformed this into enough pasta sauce to feed fifty.
Each student had the pasta with sauce and cheese, a juice box just like the Pilgrims, and a cup of lettuce salad. There were spritz cookies for dessert.
Much as the Pilgrims and Native Americans legendarily sat down together to celebrate, elementary students actually shared lunchtime with the preschoolers. To begin we named things for which we are grateful. We'd been prepping the little kids for a week, trying to get a handle on the thankfulness concept. The first four year old to volunteer gave us all a long moment's pause:
I am thankful for the big crouton.
When I called my elderly father tonight he waxed poetic about his "beautiful surroundings" and ordering "the highest price item on the menu". I even heard about the special dressing from what's-his-name. My normally ill-tempered eighty-seven year old dad is thrilled about Paul Newman's honey mustard dressing in his skilled-care nursing home lunchroom. Has he taken the Mayflower to la-la land? For whatever reason, he is happy right now. I, too, am grateful for the big crouton!
© 2010 Nancy L. Ruder