A Thanksgiving Memory

By | Nov 20, 2012

I was born on the Delmarva Peninsula a little over 54 years ago. Nearly all of my Thanksgivings have been on the Peninsula and I have many Delmarva Thanksgiving memories.

My favorite memories, which could be the same for most, are from my youth.

I was raised on a farm own by my grandparents and tilled by my father. During the 60s and 70s, the time when I was growing up, one of the things that always seemed to happen on the farm when the weather started turning cooler was hunting season.

My Grandfather, like many then as well as now, rented the farm for hunting. In his case these hunters became his friends. It was generally the same small group of hunters that came to the farm every Saturday morning to hit the goose blind. My father and grandfather was part of the team. I was able to join them when I wanted.

Thanksgiving weekend was the big hunting weekend. My grandfather ran a small produce/country market in Chestertown, Maryland. The only days he didn’t open the market was on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Thanksgiving mornings started with a trip to the goose blinds. It wasn’t unusual for a trip later in the day into the cow pasture to do a bit of rabbit hunting. And of course the day ended with a large homemade country dinner of turkey and a table full of food.

The only time we had turkey was Thanksgiving and Christmas so it was a big treat. It was also one of the few times that we had Maryland Beaten Biscuits as well as an Apple/Carrot/Raisin salad that my grandmother made. This was a favorite and I ate a lot of it.

Friday was spent getting things ready for the big opening day. Deer hunting opening day was on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and has been a big deal as long as I remember. When I was a kid, it was a really big day. To the men of the area it was a bigger day than Black Friday is today for Christmas shoppers. I guess to hunters it is and always will be.

Early Saturday morning hunters from all over the State would arrive on the farm. It wasn’t unusual for 40 men to be standing in the pre-dawn hours, getting into their hunting gear and drinking a final cup of coffee.

The season began at 30 minutes before first light so an hour or more before dawn it was off to the tree stands in the woods for a day of hunting. This was usually after the leader brought everyone together to go over the ground rules and a short prayer for a safe and successful hunt.

Even though hunting wasn’t one of my favorite sports it’s still a fond memory. I haven’t hunted nor fired a gun in over 30 years. I still enjoyed the excitement of a hunter standing proudly over a large buck, or watching my aging grandfather at full run to help my brother after he bagged his first deer.

© 2009 – Steven G. Atkinson

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!!


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