Washington column for Nov. 22

Thanksgiving blessings and fond memories

It’s almost Thanksgiving, a time we travel “over the river, and through the hollows” to celebrate with family and friends.

On Thanksgiving Day, my heart warms with anticipation as I look forward to the family and grandchildren who will squeeze around the table, chairs and sofas in my home, joking, laughing and eating together on Thanksgiving Day.

After the turkey and dressing, the family scatters: Some begin a football game, others go shopping, and some play games with the children. All gather later in the day to grab some of the leftovers and embrace as they say their goodbyes. Let’s all take a few minutes in these coming days to think about what’s important in life.

What a precious gift it is to have a day set aside to offer thanks, to turn our thoughts away from work, financial concerns and national hot topics, and toward the people and things that bring joy into our lives.

My mother really took great delight in preparing the turkey. The aroma on Thanksgiving Day was heavenly as it wafted throughout the house. My mother baked pies and side dishes, and set a very fancy table. After the meal, when it was time to say goodbye, mom would always give us food to take back home.

My mother passed away on Dec. 3, 1992 and Thanksgiving has not been the same since. Life for me continues on without her, though not everything is as simple as it was before. When my turkey is browning in the oven, I always think of her.

Mom, thank you so much for each memory you have given me. Each thought of you does give me cheer. You gave your love to everybody here on earth. Today, I would love to whisper in your ear: I love and miss you, mom. Happy Thanksgiving Day in Heaven.

I always try to follow in my mother’s footsteps when it comes to a family holiday to celebrate with my children and grandkids.

I always have my table spread with turkey and the side dishes and desserts. So that my children have memories like I did when I was growing up.

All of us could benefit from taking the time to notice the beauty surrounding us, and this is the season to do it. I know it’s a busy time for us at our work and with the holidays around the corner — we are in a hurry, trying to get it all done.

But remember to stop, if only for a few minutes each day and notice the beauty around you — your family, your children, the decorations of the seasons, all things in nature. There is beauty in all things, one just has to take the time to find it. When you do, enjoy it as wonderful memories.

A reminder

A reminder of the Ecumenical Community Thanksgiving Service that will take place in the sanctuary of First Baptist Church on North Main Street in Little Washington on Thanksgiving morning, Thursday, Nov. 22, at 10 a.m.

Sponsored by the Rappahannock Clergy Association, the service will include participation by clergy from the roughly dozen congregations represented by the RCA. Rev. Gary Aichele will offer a pastoral reflection on what it really means to “give thanks,” and Wendy Aichele, Minister of Music at Washington Baptist Church, will once again provide service music and lead this year’s Thanksgiving Community Choir.

Typically lasting 45 minutes, this service provides a great way “to gather together” with friends and neighbors “to ask the Lord’s blessing” for the coming year, and to remember why we take time each November to celebrate a day of national thanksgiving. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Crazy Quilt

The Crazy Quilt, on loan to the Rappahannock Historical Society Photo by Rappahannock Historical Society

The Crazy Quilt, on loan to the Rappahannock Historical Society, began in 1917 during World War I by Viola Cubbage Estes who lived in Estes. Viola was the wife of Eugene Ayle Estes. Viola died in 1921.

The workmanship on this quilt is quite unique with flowers, flags, birds, butterflies and crosses. This quilt is now 100 years old and quite fragile. Stop by the Historical Society and take a look for yourself.


Happy anniversary to my brother, Donald Ray Burke, and his wife Carol, as they celebrate their special day on Saturday, Nov. 17.


Let’s please remember Janet Burke, my dad’s wife, in your prayers each day. She is recovering from surgery.

I wish everyone a very happy and safe Thanksgiving.