The Sausage Grinder
Appalachian Thanksgiving Day

I looked over the bare fields and listened to the crackle of blowing, brittle oak leaves dancing outside in the broom-swept yard. A sharp wind vacuumed smoke up the fireplace chimney making my pulse race with the knowledge that Thanksgiving Day was about to arrive. It was not going to be the idealized Pilgrim's Thanksgiving - pictured with turkey and nave Indians gathered about, but our own version of an Appalachian Thanksgiving Day: The day we butchered meat for the winter and gave thanks for the harvest from the field. We did not bow our heads as much as bend our backs in this thanksgiving process. It was a work day, the one day we knew we could feast on fresh meat and vegetables and not worry so much about the rest of the year - when canned or cured meats and canned vegetables would be the everyday staples of life.

In preparation for the big day, my job was to fill two large black cauldrons with water from a nearby spring. The vessels rested on heavy round rocks, plucked from Fodder Creek, which bubbled and raced along one side of our farmstead. (for more, see Page 6 - Song of the Enotah)