By Robert Lucke
It is the beginning of that special time and in the beautiful Bear Paws as well as all around us, folks will be giving thanks for all they have and celebrating Thanksgiving and watching football and enjoying this wonderful fall we have been able to share with each other.
Just think gentle readers on Thanksgiving Day it doesn't matter where in this great land you will be, probably you will be gathering with kith and kin to give thanks and dive into the big bird. (Although it was Charlie Russell who said that for Thanksgiving we all ought to be eating roast beef because we owe lots more to cows than to any turkey.)
People who live in the great north country that stretches all the way from the Sweet Grass Hills to Cherry Creek west of Glasgow. People who live in the snow capped Little Rockies and Bear Paw Mountains. People who live in the vast amber prairies that go on for eternity it seems. People who live in the hamlets, towns and cities that call themselves a part of northern Montana. That is all of us and that is a huge area of the most beautiful place in the world to live. Not only can we give thanks for that but we can give thanks that we can share it with those we love the most.
When it comes to Thanksgiving we are very traditional. We like to eat what we have always eaten. We like to cook it in what it has always been cooked in and we are ashamed to say that we like to eat it with those we have always eaten it with. That is not a part of the Montana tradition. Montana tradition is to invite those who have no other place to go, to come and eat with you.
Still even with our anti-social behavior on Thanksgiving we are more blessed than we have any right to be. For we have more than one turkey dinner to eat that day if we choose and loved ones all over the place to share it with.
You know there are not many Thanksgiving dinners we have missed here in Havre or in the Bear Paws close by. Often we dreamed in early years of having a Thanksgiving meal in the Bear Paws at some cabin or other. Later we realized it does not matter where you eat, it matters that you can eat and share the day. Since learning that, Thanksgiving has been easier for us.
And frankly anything would be easier than the days of our youth when we had two sets of grandparents competing for our attendance at meals, particularly during the holidays and year after year we found ourselves having to go to at least two turkey dinners on Thanksgiving, once three if memory serves. No wonder we spent most of our youth waddling around!
So anyway here we are in 1999 thinking about Thanksgiving. We are giving thanks that things are as good as they are wondering about the wondrous season of the NFL this year and visions of Grandmother Stuart's corn salad go through our head along with Grandma Lucke's dressing and mincemeat pie. And of course there is Laened Black who was the very best cook of all. How we miss her and Francis, especially as holidays roll around and we venture over to Clear Creek and Greenough Gulch.
In the days of our youth there would be as we sat down for Thanksgiving the knowledge that downtown at the store, there were hundreds of fresh Christmas trees from the Snow Line Christmas Tree Company in Kalispell to trim the store with and thinking about that, we know that that special magical season was once again almost here.
And you know, gentle readers, all these many years later, in very different circumstances, and without those hundreds of trees to help put up, still our feelings are the same. What a glorious magical season this is. It is certainly the beginning of the very best of times. No doubt. It is that way every year.
From us and ours to you and yours, a very good and happy Thanksgiving!