The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

November 30, 2011

Getting together for the holidays and more

Enid News and Eagle

— Aren’t family get-togethers rewarding? Think about it.

Thanksgiving Day is over, but we have many more family gatherings to enjoy in the next few weeks.  What a joy it is to play with the great-grandkids and eat wonderful food and go for long walks and visit and laugh and reminisce.

Sometimes there can be a slight hitch, but we can’t all be perfect all the time. We have to remember the good times and not any confusion. It is not the end of the world if the bread gets cold or someone is a little late. Accentuate the positive and enjoy every moment.

I can remember only good times when I was growing up when our family met for holidays. Those were the very best of times. We had so much to be thankful for. We carried our praise and wonderful memories throughout Thanksgiving and into Christmas and the New Year.  That has never changed. We still do.  Every day is a blessing.

A friend shared with me this cute article about members of families and how they affect gatherings and personalities and the joy of  reunions. Many of the members of this “Tate Family“ could be part of our own families:

“There is an old man, DIC-TATE, who wants to run everything.

“Uncle RO-TATE tries to change everything.

“There is sister, AGI-TATE, who stirs up plenty of trouble, with help from her husband, IRRI-TATE.

“Whenever new projects are suggested, HESI-TATE and his wife, VEGE-TATE, want to wait until next year.

“Then there is Aunt IMI-TATE, who wants our family to be just like everybody else.

“DEVIS-TATE provides the voice of doom, while POTEN-TATE wants to be a big shot.

“However, not all members of the family are bad. Brother FACILI-TATE is very helpful.

“And a delightful, happy member of the family is Miss FELICI-TATE.

“Cousins COGI-TATE and MEDI-TATE always think things over and lend helpful, steady hands.

“Of course, there is the black sheep of the family, AMPU-TATE, who has completely cut himself off from the rest of us.”

Do any of these family members ring a bell with you? There is usually one in every family that fits one or several of these descriptions, but we need to try not to be judgmental and accept their differences as best we can and enjoy their company. We can stand anything for a day.

The wonderful thing about families is each of them influence how we turned out. Either they have a positive influence and we want to be just like them, or they have a negative influence and we know how we don’t want to grow up and be. How little we appreciate the importance of the seemingly insignificant experiences of life. A smile, a frown, a word of criticism or an act of helpfulness and someone’s life is made different for a day, or maybe an eternity.

There has never been a time when it was more important we watch carefully our words and actions that they many not influence destructively. We cannot be neutral in any matter of importance. The position we take may determine the position of another and that one another until our influence is multiplied a hundredfold. Guess that is why we have heard it said it takes a village to raise a child. We all influence that child. That is what loving families do, and that is primarily why we have frequent family get-togethers to break bread and give thanks.

I know I am beginning to sound preachy, but I believe with all my heart that home is where the heart is. We are drawn to it when we have a joy to share or a concern about life. It is where we find acceptance and unconditional love.  

I have read some of the characteristics of a happy home are that they are economically sound, physically healthful, morally wholesome, mentally stimulating, spiritually inspiring, artistically satisfying, socially responsible and  the center of unselfish love. If one area is lacking, then the home is out of balance. I would add that a home must be joyful and a safe place to fall when we need comfort or guidance.

Well, enough preaching, and back to family gatherings. I hope and pray you enjoy your family and the time you spend with them.

Whether it is a huge family banquet or eating a quick hamburger together, cherish those moments and make happy memories.

We made a quick business trip to Pawnee, my old stomping ground, this past week. While there, I ran into my oldest sister and her clan in a restaurant.

While I was conducting business in the bank, my oldest brother came in, and I briefly visited with him. Then we called my youngest brother and met him and his wife for lunch. We came back to Enid, feeling like we had had an extended Thanksgiving holiday. Whether the visits are brief or long, they are still precious.

Are you a little tired of trying to camouflage leftovers and even too full to enjoy big meals for a while? We probably feel like it is time to settle around the kitchen table and enjoy a winter soup with bread sticks or crackers or cornbread (and start saving room for Christmas parties and heavy meals).

Hearty Bean Soup

1 pound bulk sausage (I use regular)

1 small onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 can light red beans, drained

1 can black beans, drained

1 can white or navy beans, drained

1 can (141⁄2 -ounce) beef broth

1 teaspoon dried basil

2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

1 can diced tomatoes with juice

Cook sausage with onion and garlic until done. Drain off grease. Combine all ingredients in kettle. Add salt and pepper to taste. Heat and serve.

Note: Use any combination of beans your family likes. I use whatever vegetables I have on hand, even corn, and it is always good.

Send your comments to: Peggy Goodrich, Food For Thought, P.O. Box 1192, Enid, OK 73702.