Life’s Lessons


Thoughts, challenges of another time

Well, now it’s after Thanksgiving, and people are still exchanging recipes and reporting on their family gatherings. One lady told of her daughter’s preparation for the dinner – two hams, two turkeys. One turkey would be fried, “you know, like they do now,” but the daughter would roast one in the oven. There would, of course, be ALL the trimmings.

Her mother would do part of the preparation and bring her contributions to the daughter’s house for the big event. How many people would be coming? Twelve! Two hams and two turkeys? Talk about a land of plenty!

I well remember the first time I was responsible for roasting a turkey.

I was teaching in a one-room, eight-grade school in the mountains of Kentucky. Being of the mind set that children learn better if their tummies are full, I had requested to add a kitchen onto the school so the kids could have a hot lunch. Permission granted – the school board would buy the materials if I could get it built. Well, I had a brother and friends, so we built it.

That’s about the amount of red-tape and planning that went into the hot lunch program in that little rural school. I was soon receiving government commodities just like larger schools in the county. In the fall, I received frozen turkeys. Duh! What do I do with those?

But along came Thanksgiving, and it seemed appropriate to have a real Thanksgiving meal. Only, I was not only the teacher but also the cook, and I had never roasted a turkey!

Well, no better time to learn! I talked with some community ladies who were much more knowledgeable than I about such things. We decided I could rub the turkey in with butter and seasoning, put it in the oven at 250 degrees when I left school the day before it was to be served and let it cook the rest of the afternoon and all night. So that’s what I did.

The next morning when I arrived at school with the children who rode with me every day (I was the bus driver, too), we opened the door to the tantalizing aroma of roasted turkey. At noon when it was served, it was deemed not only good, but delicious, delectable!

After that first turkey holiday meal, a neighbor high school teen skipped school on days prior to a holiday when he thought I might be serving turkey and came over to the school for lunch. And I had a name for being a good cook. Every meal had bread served with it, too. But not white, store-bought bread. No, this was freshly baked corn bread.

A meal would not be complete without that staple. Their homes served a very heavy, corn pone type of corn bread while what I prepared was lighter “johnny cake” bread. They always said it was just like cake to them.

Though my years in that little country school did not end on a high note, I have many fine memories from that time and turkey dinners are high among those memories.

It was a time when we could openly read the Bible and pray. That’s the way we started our school days. Oh, yes, I taught many of those same children on Sundays in the little church down the creek, too.

I frequently look back to those days and wonder about those kids. One sixth grade boy didn’t like to read but I was able to get him interested, and he became such an avid reader he had little time for school work. I picked out his next younger brother early on as being what I called college material. He proved that to be true and became a lawyer.

I fondly remember when another younger boy, Jimmy, accepted Jesus into his heart during my Sunday School class.

We still need to reach kids in those formative years before the world takes over – reach them for Jesus Christ so they may grow up knowing and serving Him.

How about you? Have you accepted Jesus?

Thoughts, challenges of another time