Dear Friends,

Thanksgiving is early this year – almost the earliest it can be in November. I suppose that will make it a good year for retailers since there will be a few more “shopping days ‘til Christmas.” Thank goodness a few stores have backtracked on the recent practice of opening their doors on Thanksgiving Day. I’m grateful that they’ve opted to give employees the day off.

Terry and I will travel to New Hampshire – a trip planned long before I knew I would be coming to Toledo. Daughter Kate and her husband, Mike, moved to Litchfield a year ago September, and I have yet to see their home. She has gently reminded me of this, so I need to remedy the situation. Our kids are spread out from east coast to west, so it’s just not possible for us all to gather in one place for turkey and pie. FaceTime and phone calls will have to serve as substitutes for being together in person. 

We’ve hosted many gatherings in our home over the years welcoming “all sorts and conditions”: foreign students from Denison who weren’t able to go home for the holiday, truck drivers who hauled mobile broadcast equipment to Columbus for the Ohio State-Michigan game, and a few folks whom we knew would otherwise be alone for Thanksgiving on a day when gathering with others is what it’s all about. Whether you are traveling or staying put, I hope you are part of a gathering somewhere.

Billy Collins, the former Poet Laureate, captures the feeling of the day perfectly in his poem, “The Gathering.” You may already know it, but if not, here it is:

Outside, the scene was right for the season,
heavy gray clouds and just enough wind
to blow down the last of the yellow leaves.

But the house was different that day,
so distant from the other houses,
like a planet inhabited by only a dozen people
with the same last name and the same nose

rotating slowly on its invisible axis.
Too bad you couldn’t be there
but you were flying through space on your own asteroid
with your arm around an uncle.

You would have unwrapped your scarf
and thrown your coat on top of the pile
then lifted a glass of wine
as a tiny man ran across a screen with a ball.

You would have heard me
saying grace with my elbows on the tablecloth
as one of the twins threw a dinner roll
across the room at the other.

Whether you have your elbows on the table or are dodging throwed rolls, I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. I have many, many things to be grateful for this year, but I’m especially grateful to be serving as your Interim Rector. 


Stephen Applegate

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