Grandma’s 3 Thanksgiving Postcards: Red Leaf, Cheery Harvest, Shakespeare Quote

Before families went over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house, a postcard may have appeared in their mailbox to mark this grand American holiday of gratitude in the early 1900s.

Grandma Fanny Longenecker saved three of hers.


In this card dated 1909 a brilliant oak leaf, an acorn cup and a fan-tailed turkey displayed “Hearty Thanksgiving wishes” though the celebration could not have ended well for this turkey.

(Incidentally, no filters or other photographic enhancements were used on these antique cards. Their brilliance remains after 100+ years.)


Again, in the card above postmarked 1910, edible and bucolic images warm the scene which included another cozy house by the roadside.


Someone had already begun using a nutcracker on the walnuts in this still life from 1911 with an expression of hope for a happy mealtime. The quote from Shakespeare’s Macbeth (Act iii, scene 4) is ironic: Macbeth and his wife, attempting to cover up their dastardly deed of killing King Duncan, host a dinner where the condemning ghost of Banquo is about to appear. Clearly, the postcard designer took this quote out of context.

Though no ghosts may appear during your Thanksgiving celebration, you may be saddened by the specter of empty seats around the table.

Again this year, there are empty chairs at our table too. Here’s one:

Now a fixture on our table: Place card from wedding of Mother's niece, Janet Metzler
Now a fixture on our table: Place card from the wedding of Mother’s niece, Janet Metzler Diem


“Grah-ti-tood” is the title of my very first blog post published February 25, 2013. Although it was not Thanksgiving season then, I knew gratitude could be a theme that may thread itself through my postings. Only two former students and a church friend responded to this first attempt at blogging. You can read it here.


Thank you for joining me in many posts since then. Our conversations here keep me going.

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” – G.K. Chesterton

Thanksgiving blessings with many happy memories!


Wanted: Forty More Winks

A Shock to Our Systems

Do you live where Daylight Saving Time has gone into effect recently? If so, today you may feel out of sync, sleep-deprived. The loss of even one hour of sleep pushes one’s biorhythms out of kilter.


Who’s to Blame: Daylight Saving Time

In the wee hours of Sunday clocks moved forward one hour, delaying sunrise and adding evening daylight. According to one source, a New Zealander proposed the modern idea of DST in 1895. Germany followed in 1916. Many other country since then have followed the spring ahead/fall behind routine, especially since the energy crisis of the 1970s.

The time change has been loved or hated ever since. My author friend Janet Givens provides a well-researched blog post on the topic. Her research explodes the myth that Daylight Saving Time is supported by farmers.


Sleep: A Cure

Medical journals including Psychology Today, often publish articles about sleep or the lack thereof. Such pieces also regularly appear in the table of contents of women’s magazine and AARP journals.

Literature is replete with references to sleep. In Shakespeare’s tragedy, Macbeth, who has recently murdered King Duncan, knows his sleep will be troubled or interrupted even as he ruefully ticks off its benefits:

“Sleep that knits up the raveled sleeve of care / The death of each day’s life, sore labour’s bath / Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course, Chief nourisher in life’s feast.” Act 2, Scene ii

  • Sleep repairs the unraveled parts of our lives, knits them up.
  • Sleep comes at the end of the day; it looks like a little death.
  • Sleep brings bodily relief from pain as do baths.
  • Sleep refreshes the mind.
  • Sleep is essential to life. We can’t do without it.

In Search of Forty Winks, Patricia Marx comments:

. . . party and then firing the cleanup committee. The New Yorker, February 8, 2016
 party and then firing the cleanup committee. (The New Yorker, February 8, 2016. pages 56. 57)


Ben Franklin and the Bible on Sleep

Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.   ~ Benjamin Franklin

The sleep of a laboring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep.     ~ Eccl. 5:1


Sleeping Child

Joel sleeping with teddy bear, age 8
Joel sleeping with teddy bear, age 8 or 9

Our son Joel was fast asleep embracing his teddy bear knitted by his Great Aunt Ruthie. He may have been dreaming of riding his skate board or playing with match-box cars. As a nine-year-old, he was certainly not worrying about caring for children, the needs of a wife, mortgage payments, or at-work performance.

Wordsworth offers a philosophical perspective on sleep:

Ode: Intimations of Immortality, William Wordsworth Source: Pinterest
Ode: Intimations of Immortality, William Wordsworth Source: Pinterest


Here is the first stanza of a nursery rhyme Joel probably heard before he fell asleep:

Wee Willie Winkie runs through the town,

Up stairs and down stairs in his night-gown,

Tapping at the window, crying at the lock,

Are the children in their bed, for it’s past ten o’clock?



Comments about sleep, advice about getting more of it?  Your wisdom welcome here. All creatures need down time, even inanimate ones. Note that there is a sleep button on your computer, just above re-start.


Answer key to limericks published March 9, 2016 

1. lewd

2. dinner

3. divinity

4. weeds