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NEWS FROM THE HILLS: BE THANKFUL

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ALYCE FAYE BRAGG"Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness; come before His presence with singing. Know ye that the Lord, He is God: it is He that made us and now we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

"Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His gates with praise; be ye thankful unto Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting; and His truth endureth to all generations." Psalms 100.

Thanksgiving Day is now a memory, but the blessings continue to flow from God's bountiful hand. Our thankfulness should go on and on also, and not be centered on one particular day. The Lord has blessed us in so many ways—as the song says, "so many blessings I can't count them."

We have another great-grandchild due, and she may make her appearance on Thanksgiving. This will make us 29 greats. It will be Matthew's and Tammy's first grandchild, so of course they are anxious and excited. They plan to name her Addison Nevaeh, but I suggested another name for her.

One of Criss' ancestors was named Thankful Louella, and I told Rachel that would be a perfect name. She was not enthused. I remember one memorable Thanksgiving birth, when my sister Jeannie gave birth to her first daughter, Kara. Jim was deer hunting, as well as I remember, so Mom and I took her to the hospital. Jeannie had waited so long that she was almost born in my car as we were crossing the 35th Street bridge.

She was a beautiful, plump Thanksgiving turkey, and we were so blessed when she was added to the family. She was considerate even then, as Mom and I got home in time for Thanksgiving dinner.

Deer hunting has been a tradition in our family for as long as I can remember, and the grandsons are combing the woods this week looking for "the big one." Daughter Patty joined the ranks of the hunters a few years ago, and she always gets her deer.

The weather this week has not been conductive to successful hunting, and Criss reported Monday that it was so foggy he couldn't see his hand before his face. It is trying to "fair up" today—I saw a band of sunshine across Pilot Knob. We've had an abundance or rain; in fact, there has been flooding in some areas.

Rain and wind have brought down almost all the remaining leaves, and late fall has settled upon us. November wraps brown arms around our hills, chilling them in a cold embrace. Colder weather drives us indoors, and appetites are heartier with fall foods more filling and satisfying. Country fare such as brown beans, hot corn bread, buttered turnips and squirrel and gravy are found upon our table, while lighter summer food is replaced.

We need to pick some persimmons now, as the colder weather has made them sweet and palatable. They must be truly ripe to be good—the taste of a green persimmon is unforgettable. It puckers the mouth like alum, and the taste hangs on for hours.

When Patty was a little girl, someone gave her a green persimmon (was it you, Mike?) telling her it was a baby apple. She told me that she bit into it and "all at once I couldn't get my breath!" I once read an old folk tale of a young lady who came upon a grove of persimmon trees bordering a creek. The persimmons hung on the trees, bright and orange, but the first frost had yet to be seen.

The little girl sat under the trees and ate nine persimmons (that is how I know this tale is not true—you might eat one unripe persimmon, but nine?) A day later, she turned into a boy. Maybe it was a good thing that Patty only ate one.

Does anyone know of a good way to store turnips? We have never been able to keep them very long in the cellar before they begin to wither. Cousin Tony told me once that he had tried holing them up as you do potatoes, but they still turned dry and pithy. One of our cousins told him that Uncle Grover used to take a washtub, partly fill it with damp sand, and place a layer of turnips on the sand. Then he would cover them with more sand. There must be a simpler way.

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Alyce Faye Bragg
About This Author
She writes the "News From the Hills" column. Born and raised in the country, and still lives on the same farm where she was raised. Has a sincere love for nature and the beauty of the hills. Began writing in 1981 & currently has three books published.
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