Thanksgiving Nostalgia, by Brenda Webb

Thanksgiving Nostalgia, by Brenda Webb

When I realized that my post this month would fall on Thanksgiving, I had two thoughts. First, that everyone might be too busy cooking and eating to read it and, second, that Thanksgiving has nothing to do with the Regency stories I love to write. While there were harvest festivals and such, there were no Thanksgiving celebrations as we Americans (and Canadians) know them. I mention this because I like to share Regency information in my posts.

I have often wished I could include a Thanksgiving celebration in one of my books. Not only is that is my favorite holiday, but I can easily imagine Darcy being forced, for Lizzy’s sake, to spend every Thanksgiving either at Longbourn or with the Bennets at Pemberley. Can’t you imagine him suffering through Mrs. Bennet’s effusions over the roast pheasant every year? However, since I’m very reluctant to change continents or write a modern story, that will probably never happen.

Still, I was bound and determined to include my favorite picture of Thanksgiving in this post, so I started there. The painting below, Freedom From Want, is by America’s beloved painter and illustrator Norman Rockwell, and it best exemplifies what I remember of Thanksgivings spent at my grandparents’ farm in Cullman County, Alabama, as a child.

And, once I found this painting I realized what this post needed to be about. Norman Rockwell included this picture in a series of oil paintings in 1943 he called the FOUR FREEDOMS.


These are among his best-known works and at one time, were commonly displayed in post offices, schools, clubs, railroad stations and a variety of public buildings.

These paintings—Freedom of Worship, Freedom of Speech, Freedom from Fear and Freedom from Want—illustrate President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s January 1941 State of the Union address in which he identified essential human rights which should be universally protected. In my opinion, they represent America as our forefathers designed it—one nation, under God, indivisible. Our Declaration of Independence, which pre-dates and pre-exists the Constitution, states:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…

I thank God every day that I was born in the “land of the free,” and I try to pray for those who were not as fortunate. At this Thanksgiving, let those of us who value freedom from want, freedom from fear, freedom of speech and freedom to worship, make our voices heard.

My wish for you and your family is that your day is filled with love, laughter and thanksgiving for your blessings.


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Debbie Fortin
November 30, 2015 6:05 AM

It looks more like the turkey is doing the chasing. From experience, an angry turkey is a formidable foe with that sharp beak. Thanks for sharing the pictures.

December 3, 2015 5:43 PM
Reply to  Debbie Fortin

I know exactly what of you speak Debbie! Living on a farm, one learns lots of useful information. 🙂 Thanks for taking time to comment. 🙂

November 26, 2015 7:57 PM

I’d like to point out that there were turkeys in England during the Regency. Remember the novel “Emma” had worries about a turkey thief. See the last chapter near the end, where it says:

In this state of suspense they were befriended, not by any sudden illumination of Mr. Woodhouse's mind, or any wonderful change of his nervous system, but by the operation of the same system in another way. Mrs. Weston's poultry-house was robbed one night of all her turkies -- evidently by the ingenuity of man. Other poultry-yards in the neighbourhood also suffered. Pilfering was housebreaking to Mr. Woodhouse's fears. He was very uneasy; and but for the sense of his son-in-law's protection, would have been under wretched alarm every night of his life. The strength, resolution, and presence of mind of the Mr. Knightleys, commanded his fullest dependance. While either of them protected him and his, Hartfield was safe. But Mr. John Knightley must be in London again by the end of the first week in November.

Brenda Webb
Brenda Webb
November 27, 2015 12:54 PM
Reply to  Beatrice

Though there were no “Thanksgiving” celebrations, there certainly were turkeys. “smiles” Thanks for pointing this out. I would hate to think that Jane Austen never got to eat turkey (or the fictional Mr. Darcy for that matter). I appreciate your taking the time to comment.

Linda A.
Linda A.
November 26, 2015 4:32 PM

I have always loved Norman Rockwell prints. Thank you for sharing and the reminder of just a few of the things to be thankful for.

Brenda Webb
Brenda Webb
November 26, 2015 5:14 PM
Reply to  Linda A.

I was hoping that they would touch other Norman Rockwell fans, for I have always loved the. Thank you for taking time to comment too. Hugs,

Zoe Burton
November 26, 2015 1:52 PM

I used to use those four images to help teach my high school special ed kids about FDR and that time period. I love them, and I wish we still saw them in public places as a reminder of what we are blessed with here in the US. Thanks for a great post, Brenda! Happy Thanksgiving!! 😀 <3

Brenda Webb
Brenda Webb
November 26, 2015 5:12 PM
Reply to  Zoe Burton

I agree with you Zoe. I remember seeing these photos, I think in our Post Office when I was young and I miss them. All Americans need to see them and to realize that we are blessed here in the United States. I wish all teachers were as conscientious as you! Happy Thanksgiving to you too girl!

Jennifer Redlarczyk
Jennifer Redlarczyk
November 26, 2015 12:41 PM

Brenda, I love this post and of course Norman Rockwell. The four freedoms! It could not be said better. Happy Thanksgiving to you and all of our JAFF friends! Jen Red

Brenda Webb
Brenda Webb
November 26, 2015 5:09 PM

I’m glad it pleased you Jen. I love the Four Freedoms too. I hope all of our JAFF friends who celebrate are having a great Thanksgiving, too.

Joana Starnes
November 26, 2015 11:21 AM

What warm and happy thoughts, Brenda! Thanks for the lovely post and Happy Thanksgiving.

Brenda Webb
Brenda Webb
November 26, 2015 5:08 PM
Reply to  Joana Starnes

So happy you liked it, Joana, and sweet of you to take the time to comment and wish me a Happy Thanksgiving.

Sharon Lathan
November 26, 2015 10:01 AM

Wonderful Thanksgiving post, Brenda! I love the classic Thanksgiving images. 🙂

To all our wonderful readers, we at Austen Authors pray your Thanksgiving is marvelous.

Brenda Webb
Brenda Webb
November 26, 2015 5:06 PM
Reply to  Sharon Lathan

Thanks Sharon. I love the classic images too and Normal Rockwell is my favorite.

November 26, 2015 9:30 AM

Brenda, thank you for the wonderful post! HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Brenda Webb
Brenda Webb
November 26, 2015 5:05 PM
Reply to  carylkane

You are welcome and thank you for taking the time to read and comment. 🙂

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