11/14/2018 2:18:00 PM A Ritual of Gratitude and Thanksgiving
By MaryRose Denton It is my belief the intention behind Thanksgiving Day goes well beyond the mere “thank you” or “thanks for the grub” that can be said in a passing moment. The meaning of the day becomes the memories we share and the gratitude we express for each other, whether we are with immediate family, friends or family found in community. Here is a story to share what I mean. It is Thanksgiving Day. We are sitting down to dinner. There is much chatter and shuffling of plates as we pass around the dishes of our feast. Before I hand the bread basket to my daughter, I reach inside, letting my hand choose a roll to draw out. They are still warm from the oven. Steam rises up from inside the fluffy, buttery layers of crescent roll as I pull it apart. I locate the treasure I am searching for in the middle of the soft center. It is a little piece of paper, hidden and cooked between the flaky pieces. This folded up scrap of paper encases a written fortune scribed on it in messy handwriting. We call it a Thankful fortune. Almost two decades ago I began what is now our family traditin when my children were little. I wanted Thanksgiving to mean more to them than what favorite food was served for dinner. I wished to evoke conversation which was fun, playful and meaningful. What developed was a sharing, a gift of gratitude and a lifelong family tradition called “The Thankful Rolls.” To this day it is an element of the holiday my children, now grown, still do and perhaps one day will pass on to others. It is with much gratitude I pass it on to you. It begins with a tube or two of store-bought crescent rolls. Half the fun is popping open the cylinder, with its sudden noise, and letting the dough seep out. Next, separate out each triangle, laying flat on a cookie sheet. Ideally each person at your table will have taken a few minutes earlier to write down a word or two describing something they are thankful for. Examples; “Family,” “My work,” “A warm home,” or it can be very specific such as a person’s name or the name of a pet. There is no right or wrong to being thankful. Let your heart be your guide. The sky is the limit! The intention is merely to reflect on those things, be they large or small, we are thankful for in our lives. This ritual becomes two-fold as later, once gathered around the table and breaking open each roll, a conversation begins on the very items which bring us joy and gratitude. Once you have the fortune papers in front of you, place one inside each pastry and roll up into the crescent shape. Bake as directed. Note: it is best to use ink pen rather than pencil. Ink will not fade during baking. There is always something to be grateful for, even in hard times or on a bad day. In fact, that may be when gratitude becomes all the sweeter. If we can slow down for a moment, or for a day, to look around, we will undoubtedly find something in which to give thanks. There are blessings to be found everywhere; a smile, that first sip of hot coffee in the morning, a friend texting just to say hello. Sometimes the reminder is inside a thanksgiving fortune roll. If you would like to visually see gratitude grow in your life, try creating a Gratitude Jar. This can be a simple glass jar or an elaborately decorated vase or any type of vessel in between. Simply write down on a strip of paper one thing a day that you are grateful for. Do this for a year and you will have 365 pieces of paper filling your jar with gratitude. And my guess is your daily life will be filled with so much more. I wish you a very happy Thanksgiving. MaryRose Denton’s two children are now in college and starting their own lives. She moved to Shelter Bay in July.