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November 21, 2016 “Over the River and Through the Wood”

Public school music was scarce in my day.  Occasionally the school contracted with a musician who came in one day a week and taught all eight grades of students one class at a time in the school gymnasium.  But somehow in those lean days of school music we learned a few of the “classics.”  “Over the River and Through the Wood” was one of them!”

            Over the river and through the wood to Grandmother’s house we go.

            The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh through the white and drifted snow.

            Over the river and through the wood, oh how the wind does blow!

            It stings the toes and bites the nose as over the ground we go!


The song was far from the reality we lived.  Most of us could walk or ride in our cars the short distances to our grandparents’ homes—forget “the wood” part.  None of us—my school mates and I—had ever seen a sleigh, and even if we had, we all knew it never snows in North Carolina in November.  We would never expect “white and drifting snow” for Thanksgiving!  But maybe—just maybe—we could expect a little stirring wind—wind to “sting the toes and bite the nose!”


Despite its less-than-accurate description of our Thanksgiving experience we sang that song with gusto!  Somehow it stirred within us a sense of anticipation about time with family and friends around a shared table of food.


And speaking of tables—how the tables have turned!  I am no longer singing about nor anticipating heading to Grandmother’s house for Thanksgiving.  Instead I am the Grandmother, and grandchildren are beginning to show up at my house for our family’s time together! 


The song does no more for depicting my grandchildren’s experience of Thanksgiving than it did for me.  They know nothing of snow for Thanksgiving, especially the ones who live in South Florida.  Probably none of the eleven has even seen nor ridden in a sleigh.  Yet, hopefully this new generation can sing the song with a great sense of anticipation about coming to Grandmother’s house just as much as did I!  


The blessings of God continue!  They go on generation after generation after generation.  I certainly can raise to God a hearty, “Thank you, God, for the opportunity to be a grandmother!”


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