A sense of belonging, and other important Thanksgiving concerns

Belonging is one of the critical needs that all of us share.  The desire to belong to a family, I believe, is inborn.  And Thanksgiving, almost more than any other day in the year, is a time for belonging.  Sharing both that need and our understanding of the family setting where it is expressed, is something we all require.

Whether we admit this great need to ourselves or to others who are important to us does not seem to matter.  The question on neighbors lips during the month of November is, “Where are you going to spend Thanksgiving?”

Traditional foods, special holiday clothes, table-settings, family games, and place-cards marking your spot at the table:  Are you the peace-maker? The shy one who must be coaxed to speak? The family wit seated in the middle of the table where everyone can hear the jokes? The traveler with stories and photos to share with those sitting around you?

In an old Victoria magazine Nov 1995), I discovered an evocative article by Jane Howard, a novelist, called “A Place at the Table.”  She related from her own past the use of place cards at dinner.  And how when all the guests expected had to cancel, her mother invited the neighbors over to share the day.

Fronting the article in the magazine was a full page ad, from Crane Stationery Company, of matching place cards and invite papers which could be used.  Ms Howard, however, stressed the importance of making the place cards by hand so that each one fit the guest.

Why place cards?  Because they provided a sense of belonging within the family and the party for each person who attended.  A safe sense of belonging.  And to ensure that each guest had a good time, some cards were double-sided.  The other side told where to sit during the next course of the dinner –so no one had the agony of sitting beside or across from someone who might cause pain.

From a simpler, more careful time.  This invitation from me–make place cards for your Thanksgiving table this year and see if the cell phones lie idle–even for a short time as family members reconnect and enjoy the moments together.  Your favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle  http://alreneeakle.com

PS  Bought or hand-made, the place cards can provide comfort and cheer.




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