Every year about this time of year, I work with my students on different things that allow me to incorporate the idea of Thankfulness. Considering the quickly approaching holiday, there is often a thought of turkey with a side of mashed potatoes (or mashed potatoes with a side of turkey, as in my dreams) floating through the minds of my students when I ask them what they are thankful for.
I usually begin by eliciting the everyday things for which they are thankful. I tell them that I have always held warm, toasty socks in high regard – especially in the winter months. Nothing makes me more thankful on a cold, wet day than slipping on some fresh, clean and warm socks when I get home from work. Socks are high on my daily thankfulness list. And after sharing this idea with them, it’s great to hear the things they are thankful for as well. Most kids tell me that they hadn’t thought about thankfulness in such a way before. Every year. And most years, I have students come back at this time of year to tell me what is NEW to their thankfulness lists. Things like college scholarships, parent’s/family health/well-being, safe journeys, etc are added to the list and usually a nice pair of warm socks is somewhere on that list too.
This year My love and I will soon be celebrating our 8th anniversary. We were married over a Thanksgiving weekend. With our lives in the midst of big changes (the nursery is ready to go!); I am feeling more reflective and thankful than ever. So much so, I went public. (No, not just on this blog.) I wanted to take a moment to share my one public item on my thankfulness this year (beyond the socks…which will always be there) in hopes of inspiring a few moments of thankfulness or thoughtfulness as well.
This year I am thankful to two individuals whom I’m never met.
Their names are Richard and Mildred Loving. In 1958, Mildred and Richard were married. One night the police broke down the door of their home and broke in to their bedroom. Mildred and Richard pointed to the marriage license on the wall of their bedroom when the police question the legitimacy of their cohabitation. You see, Mildred was an African-American woman and her love, Richard, was a white man. Interracial Marriage was banned when they were married and with the “proof” of their “illegal action” hanging on the wall, both Mildred and Richard were hauled off to jail.
Richard and Mildred both spent time in jail and eventually had to plead guilty. The judge sentenced them to time in jail – suspended only if they vowed to never return to their home state again. Richard and Mildred moved out of state – away from their family, family homes, jobs, friends and all that they had known – in order to stay together.
A few years later, Richard and Mildred attempted to have their case overturned. As citizens of the United States, they both were entitled to equal treatment under our constitution which included Amendment 14 (granting citizen rights and prohibiting states from enacting laws that limit said rights). They both also asserted their right to the pursuit of happiness. And what makes you happier than your life partner, they attested.
It wasn’t until 1967 that their case was final heard and unanimously supported by the US Supreme Court. Through the ruling provided in their case: Loving vs. Virginia, Mildred and Richard provided the opportunity for others by banning laws against interracial marriage. (Click here to read or listen to the NPR story about Richard and Mildred Loving.)
This happened two years before I was born. I never knew that the power of love between two people could alter the future for all.
So, why am I thankful for Richard and Mildred Loving? Without them or their courage, I would not have had the right to marry my love. Our baby would be no closer to being in my arms and my life would nothing like what it is today. I cannot imagine my life without my Love. He is, and will always be, the most wonderful, gentle soul that I am privileged to know and love. I am thankful to Richard and Mildred for allowing me the opportunity to love who I chose.
Ah, the power of people. If it were not for those who had gone before us, where would we all be?
In light of recent events, I believe a few more Lovings could do our nation some good. Don’t you?
So… what are you thankful for this year?
And… Are you planning your Thanksgiving meal?
We have a few ideas on the burner for ours. It will just be the two of us this year, so we are having fun playing around with what our “last Thanksgiving as a family of two (or three, really as we have a very beloved pup in our lives too).
Since there are only two of us, there is no need for hours of cooking. BUT, I’m a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to my Turkey Day. I really LOVE having a bit of cranberry relish or chutney or salsa to freshen up and liven up the meal. And this year will be no different.
This recipe will take hardly any time at all to put together. Once you have the ingredients prepped, you are practically done. Trust me. I had it poured into small canning jars (to share with some friends at work) within about 15 minutes of starting.
And this cranberry dressing? OH, it certainly beats the ubiquitous can of jellied “cranberry dressing” that I remember my mom opening every November. She claimed that since no one ate it, it wasn’t worth making. Quite honestly, I’m sure no one ate it because it still held the shape of the can while it sat on the plate. NOT appetizing at all!
My Love’s Cranberry-Mango Chutney
1-16 ounces/1 pound bag of fresh cranberries
2 ripe mangos
2 inches peeled fresh ginger
1/2 cup candied ginger
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes, optional
- Peel the mangos and cut them in to chunks.
- Roughly chop the fresh ginger root in to smaller chunks.
- Rinse and clean (pick over) fresh cranberries.
- Place the fresh ginger and candied ginger into the bowl of your food processor. Process until finely chopped.
- Dump in the cranberries, mangos and sugar. Process again until uniform (or chunky, if you choose).
- Taste. Add red pepper flakes to add a bit more kick, if desired. (We also add Tabasco sauce sometimes too.)
- Pour into storage container(s) with lids and set in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours before using to allow the flavors to come out.
This can be made a week ahead of the day you wish to use it.
Happy Thankfulness and Warm Socks to all –