My Thanksgiving tradition, that I want to share with you, is to read a letter written by my grandfather, Dr WW (Buck) Jones, to my grandmother, Adena, when he was a chaplain in the service during WWII. I am thankful for them.
Thanksgiving Day 1945
For some reason on this Thanksgiving day my thoughts have picked up that little phrase someone wrote us when we were married. “May there be just enough clouds to make the sunset beautiful.” Of course it would be quite a shallow view of life if we thanked God only for the bright and pleasant things. For this would be such a dreadful place in which to live without the clouds and the rain. So I’m especially thankful today that I have you for my sunshine, and we can look out all our windows at the clouds, which will make our sunset beautiful, and that you will always be there to warm my heart when it is cold, to be my strength when I would falter, to hold my hand when I have lost the way.
All my reams of paper couldn’t contain the mercies that I’m thankful for today, for they pass my imagination in a never-ending parade. the rain of yesterday, the bright sunshine of today; the little ponds of ice I saw outside this morning, a shelter warm as toast; memories, rich and mellow, embroidered with hearty friendship and camaraderie; enemies — and the joy of being able not to hate them; cool water from a spring on a long, hot hike; good food that makes one comfortable inside; flitting glimpses out of the past that now seems so far away, so much apart of another world that one gives pause to think-could it be so and could that have been me?
Recollections of a home and family that once was-was that another day, too? — and I piece them all together like the patterns of a kaleidoscope, some ugly colors, and some gay; for all the heritage that is mine- the good I try to use and the bad to hide away; for all the fellowship of home as it used to be; for a piece of blue granite as a headstone for a grave that in God’s inscrutable way had to be so early; for the lull of the cold wind that whistles through the eaves; for the killing frost that betokens a sleeping world; for budding trees, the yellow crocus, “The first fruits of them that slept.”
That God is in our sorrows and hardships no less than in our joys; there at the center of our religion, is a cross; and “From the cross the radiance streaming adds luster to the day.” For the blessing of liberty and unity; for our right to live in reasonable freedom and peace; for all this strange, baffling, mysterious life that he has given us; that we can still say with that early saint, chrysostom, just before he died at the hands of soldiers-”God be praised for everything!” that nothing “Shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” thanks be…for his unspeakable gift!
That in his wisdom he gave me you; that he made me use my heart instead of my stubborn head; for the friends that love us both, and our love for them; for the bright moon on a hot summer’s night; that lovely feeling you give me which is unspeakable; for the alamo, our laughter, our conferences; for your tears and mine; for your thoughtfulness, your kindness, your understanding; your loving me- and our answered prayers; for your kisses, your embraces, your pretty little smile, that merry twinkle in your sometimes blue- grey eyes; your teasing me-my shouting.
Yes i’m glad that I’m coming back to you soon; that I can talk to you on this thanksgiving day on the phone; that we have “shim”- yours and mine-our own flesh and blood; our future, perhaps sometimes fraught with sorrow and tragedy, but always overshadowed by our great love-for my dreams of you; for your great heart; and for you just being you, my love; and on this thanksgiving day I pledge anew my heart to you and to god-
I adore you, you darling…