The Quote Garden ™
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Quotations: Happy Thanksgiving
If the only prayer you say in your whole life is 'Thank You,' that would suffice. ~Meister Eckhart (c.1260–c.1328), translated from German and paraphrased by Matthew Fox, 1980
There are but seven perfect tastes in the world, and one of them is Thanksgiving cider. ~Edward Payson Powell (1833–1915), "An Old-Time Thanksgiving," 1904
As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them. ~John F. Kennedy, Thanksgiving Day Proclamation, 1963
We belonged to each other. So you may be sure that we did not have our feast all by ourselves. "Why should we be selfish with the Lord's goodness?" said my father. "It would spoil the taste of it all." So there came together, not only the cousins and the aunts and uncles and the grandparents, but also some family friends and neighbors. And the world invited us out of doors; we sat and ate at tables under the big arms of the butternut and the pear trees. And there came some birds of passage that sat on the mountain ash trees and ate a Thanksgiving dinner of the berries, and one of them sang to us in a soft monotone — I think it was a Thanksgiving hymn. The sun smiled warmth through the branches, and the soft wind played quiet pranks, dropping now and then a brown leaf on our plates. And then we settled our dinner by carrying full baskets of food to those who had less of God's favors. ~Edward Payson Powell (1833–1915), "An Old-Time Thanksgiving," 1904 [a little altered —tg]
O, men! grown sick with toil and care,
Leave for a while the crowded mart;
O, women! sinking with despair,
Weary of limb and faint of heart,
Forget your cares to-day, and come
As children back to childhood's house!...
When all you knew of life was good,
And all you dreamed of life was sweet;
And let fond memory lead you back,
O'er youthful love's enchanted track...
~Phoebe Cary, "Thanksgiving," 1881
My friends, — Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow, which may mean every day, or once in seven days, at least. ~Dr. Le Grand, A Thanksgiving Sermon, as quoted in Charles W. Sanders, Sanders' Union Speaker, 1864
"I feel it in my bones," said the little mother, rubbing her hand gently across her arm. "Yes; Thanksgiving is in the air!" "To be sure," said the father; "it is a law of nature. What could one do if he could not give thanks?" Then he went to the door, opened it and looked up and down the hillside, where he could see his orchard and his corn fields. The stooks rustled softly in the morning air, with a touch of frost whitening the dry leaves. Pumpkins lay as thick as beechnuts all over the great field. "There is enough," said he, "for two Thanksgivings." As the sun rose and shone out with a great swath of glory all over the hillside they took hold of hands and said, as if to themselves, but also to God: "Our Father, who art in the Heaven, and in the earth, too, we love Thee, and we thank Thee!..." ~Edward Payson Powell (1833–1915), "An Old-Time Thanksgiving," 1904 [a little altered —tg]
O Infinite Father, I'm grateful to Thee
For the moon and the stars and deep rolling sea;
For beauties of nature, where e'er they may be...
For the handclasp of friends, so firm and so true;
For sunrise and sunset and glistening dew;
The fleecy white clouds and the Heavens, so blue;
For these wonderful gifts, dear Lord, I thank you!
~Gertrude Tooley Buckingham (1880–1971), "My Song of Thanksgiving"
An attitude of gratitude is a never-ending prayer. ~William Arthur Ward, Thoughts of a Christian Optimist, 1968
Our modern celebration of Thanksgiving can be traced back to the early 17th century. Upon arriving in Plymouth, at the culmination of months of testing travel that resulted in death and disease, the Pilgrims continued to face great challenges. An indigenous people, the Wampanoag, helped them adjust to their new home, teaching them critical survival techniques and important crop cultivation methods. After securing a bountiful harvest, the settlers and Wampanoag joined in fellowship for a shared dinner to celebrate powerful traditions that are still observed at Thanksgiving today: lifting one another up, enjoying time with those around us, and appreciating all that we have. ~Barack Obama, Presidential Proclamation — Thanksgiving Day, 2015
But whether we have less or more,
Alway thank we God therefore...
~Author unknown, "Sir Cleges," a French metrical romance, or Fabliau, c. 1300s
But in those days we all went to church before noon, to take care of our souls first, and in the afternoon we should take just as good care of our bodies. The sermon was twice as long as the prayer, which was half an hour by the feelings, there being no town clock and few watches. But our parson Chase gave us what was worth the while — yes, indeed! It was not a lot of wandering enthusiasms about Tolstoy, or Browning, or Ibsen. Bless the Lord, the realists were not in the world yet, and the transcendentalists were in their bibs. The sermon was a plain and right straightforward talk of duty and rightness. To this day I remember that very sermon. Said the good parson:
"It is not enough to give thanks; one should be thank-full — that is it — that is what the world means; full of thanks. And there are two more words like it; good, honest, worthy words of our fathers — faith-full and truth-full. These make the trinity of character. One should be full of faith, and truth, and gratitude. This a man fairly owes to God. Keep faith; speak truth; feel thanks. It is an excellent thing that one may be full of each; and not one of them crowd the other. Is it not a glad world that offers us such elements; such soul-food? No, you cannot make up for the lack of such things, by eating fine dinners of dainties. You shall hunger still; till your soul dies within you, and you be, what so many folk are, only outside shucks of men, and without soul-life at all...
And when you think of it, there is no better friend than God. The world is a good world. It is wonderfully gotten up for us; and if I thought that I should forget to be grateful to him, in whom we live and move and have our being, I should not wish to live. Thanksgiving Day is a jewel, to set in the hearts of honest men; but be careful that you do not take the day, and leave out the gratitude... Live lovingly; live peacefully; live nobly... Now go to your homes; eat, drink, and be merry... Feed your souls, as well as your bellies." ~Edward Payson Powell (1833–1915), "An Old-Time Thanksgiving," 1904
Cosy fire a-burning bright,—
Cosy tables robed in white,—
Dainty dishes smoking hot,—
Home! And cold and snow forgot!
~Louise Bennett Weaver and Helen Cowles LeCron, "November," A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband with Bettina's Best Recipes, 1917
For one whole week the preparation of the Thanksgiving dinner went on. We boys began to tread the air, so much were we living the days that were ahead, and tasting before time the feast, till our mouths watered and ran down our waistcoats. ~Edward Payson Powell (1833–1915), "An Old-Time Thanksgiving," 1904 [a little altered —tg]
Ah! on Thanksgiving Day, when from East and from West,
From North and from South come the pilgrim and guest...
When the care-wearied man seeks his mother once more
And the worn matron smiles where the girl smiled before;
What moistens the lip and what brightens the eye?
What calls back the past, like the rich Pumpkin Pie?
~John Greenleaf Whittier (1807–1892), "The Pumpkin"
This year we're having the words, "There's more gravy in the kitchen" stitched right on the napkins. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com, 2019 [Ha! And tape the guest wi-fi password to the centerpiece. —tg]
’Tis the night before
Thanksgiving, and all through the store;
People are shopping, shopping for more.
Buying things to cook and things to bake,
What a task to undertake.
When they get home they're as busy as a bee,
Making the house right for the company.
Scurrying here and scurrying there,
It is enough to make you tear out your hair.
But once it's over I'm sure you'll agree,
It's nice to have a family!
~Carole Lynn Zublena, "Thanksgiving," in Our Western World's Most Beautiful Poems, edited and published by John Campbell, World of Poetry Press, 1985
My aunt added, "There are pumpkins, plums, apples, and mince meat for pies. There are pears, and quinces, and boiled cider, apple butter, plum butter, and pound sweets for sauces. There is pig, chicken, and goose. And mint, sage, marjorum; cookies, candy, cakes, crullers, and tarts, and." Now, my aunt, who lived alone near by us and was one of us on all hearty occasions, did not believe there was an end to anything; so she always ended, or undertook to end, what she would say with an and. It put all she thought into a circle. It was an intellectual doughnut... ~Edward Payson Powell (1833–1915), "An Old-Time Thanksgiving," 1904 [a little altered —tg]
O Lord, that lends me life,
Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness!
~William Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part II, c.1590 [I, 1, Henry VI]
TURKEY, n. A large bird whose flesh when eaten on certain religious anniversaries has the peculiar property of attesting piety and gratitude. Incidentally, it is pretty good eating. ~Ambrose Bierce
Then joined the voice of first and least
A hymn of thanks to raise,
Our day of fasting changed to feast
And prayer gave way to praise.
So once in every year we throng
Upon a day apart,
To praise the Lord with feast and song
In thankfulness of heart.
~Arthur Guiterman, "The First Thanksgiving — Boston, 1631"
...all which we behold
Is full of blessings...
~William Wordsworth, 1798
We thank thee, O Father, for all that is bright —
The gleam of the day, and the stars of the night;
The flowers of our youth, and the fruits of our prime,
And blessings e'er marching the path-way of time.
~Will Carleton, "Hymn of Thanksgiving," 1887
The odor of the coming feast fills the air... Go! remember God's bounty in the year. String the pearls of your favor. Hide the dark parts, except so far as they are breaking out in light. Give this one day to thanks, to joy, to gratitude. And, on such a day as this, while you participate in the bounties of your table, remember that there is that which God will esteem even more as a thanksgiving. Forgive your enemies. Settle the differences that have vexed the year. Humble yourselves one toward another. Tell God, as you go home, that, in requital of his great goodness and county to you, you cleanse your heart and wash your hands; you sacrifice your enmities; you augment your charities. Look upon the poor among you, and forget not the stranger. ~Henry Ward Beecher, "The Family as an American Institution," Thanksgiving sermon, 1868
Though right it is to give Thanks,
True Gratitude will live Thanks.
~Arthur Guiterman, "Of Helpfulness," A Poet's Proverbs, 1924
Sometimes I feel the real meaning of Thanksgiving is lost in a flurry of turkey, prayers and homecomings. What we're really talking about is a wonderful day set aside on the fourth Thursday of November when no one diets. I mean, why else would they call it Thanksgiving? ~Erma Bombeck, "No One Diets on Thanksgiving," 1981
He who thanks but with the lips
Thanks but in part,
The full, the true Thanksgiving
Comes from the heart.
~J. A. Shedd, as quoted in The Indiana School Journal, 1895
And just as people who own only one suit must go on brushing it lovingly, so the poor people of Cape Cod, who have hardly any crops to call their own, must make a pride of their cranberry bogs... It was what God had ordained for them, and being God-fearing men they found it good and tasty... And ever since, it has been an unchallengeable American doctrine that cranberry sauce, a pink goo with overtones of sugared tomatoes, is a delectable necessity of the Thanksgiving board and that turkey is uneatable without it... There are some things in every country that you must be born to endure; and another hundred years of general satisfaction with Americans and America could not reconcile this expatriate to cranberry sauce, peanut butter, and drum majorettes. ~Alistair Cooke (1908–2004), "The Cranberry Caper"
Our rural ancestors, with little bless'd,
Patient of labour, when the end was rest,
Indulged the day that housed their annual grain,
With feasts, and off'rings, and a thankful strain...
~Alexander Pope (1688–1744), Imitations of Horace
No holiday in all our calendar is comparable to Thanksgiving... It is the great holiday of common people who have worked all the year and now thank God humbly for good harvests. We are not celebrating Washington or Columbus or the Declaration of Independence — but just the true, good things, the simple blessings of the soil and the common life... Thanksgiving is the holiday of peace: the celebration of work and the simple life... it is undoubtedly the most American of all our holidays... Even the food... there is scarcely a dish on this table that is not peculiar to America... ~David Grayson (Ray Stannard Baker), "We Are Thankful," Adventures in Understanding, 1925
For each the home path, be it street,
Or fair, broad highway, or the sea —
The path that lures the weary feet
To find where all the home things be.
What though one fares through lands away,
Or drifts or beats across the foam?
Forever on Thanksgiving Day
The heart will find the pathway home.
~Wilbur D. Nesbit, "Forever on Thanksgiving Day," as quoted in Norma H. Deming and Katharine I. Bemis, Pieces for Every Day the Schools Celebrate, 1921
If you have been dwelling solely on the evil that is in man, or on the special evil which you think is in your church, your nation, or your age, see whether that habit has not blinded your intelligence and weakened your strength. It has cast you down upon your face. Stand up, on this Thanksgiving Day, stand up upon your feet! Believe in man! Soberly and with clear eyes believe in your own time and place. There is not, and there has never been, a better time or a better place to live in. Only with this belief can you believe in hope and believe in work. ~Phillips Brooks (1835–1893), "The Need of Self-Respect," A Thanksgiving Sermon
I think there'd be quite a market for Thanksgiving carols.
"Have a Holly Jolly Turkey"
"All I want for Christmas is food"
"O Holy Nap"
~Keith Wynn, @ravens_rhapsody, tweet, 2017
Lord, we gather as a family to thank Thee for all Thy blessings, most especially for making us this family and granting us this gathering. ~Robert Brault, 2017, rbrault.blogspot.com
And though I ebb in worth, I'll flow in thanks.
~John Taylor, "A Very Merry-Wherry-Ferry Voyage," 1622
Thanksgiving day would be a side-play
Minus the golden Pumpkin;
No feast is complete, if they have not to eat,
A circle of yellow Pumpkin.
Oh! the Pumpkin pie will ever out-vie,
Johnny-cake, pone, or corn dodger,
You don't need to chew, it melts like the dew,
When the sun shines bright on the clover.
~Mrs. May C. Hanks (b. 1842), "Pumpkin is Queen"
On Thanksgiving Day, all over America, families sit down to dinner at the same moment — halftime. ~Author unknown
No more turkey, but I'd like some more of the bread it ate. ~"Dennis the Menace" (Hank Ketcham)
The thing I'm most thankful for right now is elastic waistbands. ~Author unknown
I suppose I will die never knowing what pumpkin pie tastes like when you have room for it. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com
Hem your blessings with thankfulness so they don't unravel. ~Author unknown
For there we loved, and where we love is home,
Home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts...
~Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809–1894), "Homesick in Heaven," 1872
Small cheer and great welcome makes a merry feast. ~William Shakespeare, Comedy of Errors, c.1589 [III, 1, Balthazar]
Thou that hast giv'n so much to me,
Give one thing more, a gratefull heart...
Not thankfull, when it pleaseth me;
As if thy blessings had spare days:
But such a heart, whose pulse may be
~George Herbert (1593–1633), "Gratefulness"
How powerful is the spell of home! ~Silas X. Floyd (1869–1923), "Home, Sweet Home," Floyd's Flowers: or, Duty and Beauty for Colored Children, 1905
I don't care how poor a man is; if he has family, he's rich. ~Dan Wilcox and Thad Mumford, "Identity Crisis," M*A*S*H, 1981
The family is one of nature's masterpieces. ~George Santayana
Thanksgiving Day will be under an extra strain this year. It comes after election and the extra session of Congress. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1903, George Horace Lorimer, editor
Still Home is Home, when comes the trying hour,
Still Home is Home, to those who know its worth,
Still Home is Home, the dearest place on earth!
~Henry Heavisides (1791–1870), "The Pleasures of Home," 1837–1840
Families are like fudge — mostly sweet with a few nuts. ~Author unknown
Happy are we met,
Happy have we been,
Happy may we part,
Happy meet again.
~"Toasts and Sentiments," The Goldfinch: or, New Modern Songster. Being a Select Collection of the Most Admired and Favourite Scots and English Songs, Cantatas, &c., 1782
If one should give me a dish of sand, and tell me there were particles of iron in it, I might look for them with my eyes, and search for them with my clumsy fingers, and be unable to detect them; but let me take a magnet and sweep through it, and how would it draw to itself the almost invisible particles, by the mere power of attraction! The unthankful heart, like my finger in the sand, discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day, and as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find every hour some heavenly blessings; only the iron in God's sand is gold. ~Henry Ward Beecher
I humbly thank the gods benign,
For all the blessings that are mine...
The morning drips her dew for me,
Noon spreads an opal canopy.
Home-bound, the drifting cloud-crafts rest
Where sunset ambers all the west;
Soft o'er the poppy-fields of sleep,
The drowsy winds of dreamland creep.
What idle things are wealth and fame
Beside the treasures one could name!
~Robert Loveman (1864–1923)
...we can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasure... ~Thornton Wilder, The Woman of Andros, 1930
Give thanks for the life you live, for the love you have, for the happiness you give. ~Laura, @lnw1, November 2009 entry to The Quote Garden create your own quote contest on twitter, @quotegarden
When our perils are past, shall our gratitude sleep? ~George Canning (1770–1827), "The Pilot that Weather'd the Storm"
With arms outstretched I thank.
With heart beating gratefully I love.
With body in health I jump for joy.
With spirit full I live.
Gratitude is as important for feeding your soul as eating is important for feeding your body. ~J.L.W. Brooks
I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder. ~G.K. Chesterton, A Short History of England, 1917
Let me see; what am
I to buy for our... feast? Three pound
of sugar, five pound of currants... dates...
nutmegs... ginger... four pound of prunes,
and as many of raisins o' the sun.
~William Shakespeare, Winter's Tale, c.1610 [IV, 3, Clown]
May we hold every day sacred. ~Charles F. Raymond, "A Petition," Just Be Glad, 1907
food, family, friends
festivity, feasting, football
gratitude, green beans, gravy
prayers, potatoes, pumpkin pie
cornbread, cranberries, coffee
coming together, celebration
love, laughter, let's eat!
~Terri Guillemets, "Thanksgiving Day," 2009
Give thanks because contentment only grows when you shower upon it gratefulness. ~Hasan Gopalani, @Jublani, November 2009 entry to The Quote Garden create your own quote contest on Twitter, @quotegarden
Thanking God today for the love of family, the loyalty of friends and the kindness of strangers. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com, 2020
The thing is, we do not need the poisonous "pilgrims and Indians" narrative. We do not need that illusion of past unity to actually unite people today. Instead, we can focus simply on values that apply to everybody: togetherness, generosity and gratitude. And we can make the day about what everybody wants to talk and think about anyway: the food.
People may not realize it, but what every person in this country shares, and the very history of this nation, has been in front of us the whole time. Most of our Thanksgiving recipes are made with indigenous foods: turkey, corn, beans, pumpkins, maple, wild rice and the like. We should embrace this. ~Sean Sherman, "The Thanksgiving Tale We Tell Is a Harmful Lie. As a Native American, I've Found a Better Way to Celebrate the Holiday," TIME.com, 2018, sioux-chef.com
What's the matter with you — ain't I always been your friend?
Ain't I been a pardner to you? All my pennies don't I spend
In gettin' nice things for you? Don't I give you lots of cake?
Say, stummick, what's the matter, that you had to go an' ache?
Why, I loaded you with good things yesterday, I gave you more
Potatoes, squash an' turkey than you'd ever had before.
I gave you nuts an' candy, pumpkin pie an' chocolate cake,
An' las' night when I got to bed you had to go an' ache...
~Edgar A. Guest, "A Boy and His Stomach," When Day Is Done, 1921
published 2000 Oct 15
revised 2021 Sep 15
last saved 2022 Aug 27