Pass It On is a new, bi-weekly peek inside the heart and mind of Francis Pass…


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We always had a turkey. My dad made sure of that.

Growing up, every year for Thanksgiving, dad would load us into the car and head down to Floyd Dillow’s. Floyd owned a turkey farm just south of Dongola, on Wetaugh Road. He was a tall man with a sharp ax. We’d leave Floyd’s place with a warm-blooded, big tom turkey. It’s as close as I’ve ever come to being a pilgrim.

Dad always wanted us to know where we came from by remembering the past. But I also think he desired for us to enjoy the things he wasn’t able to have. And there were a lot of things to love about a Pass Family Thanksgiving.

Gosh, I love cranberries. And we’d eat ‘em every year… alongside sweet potato casserole with butter and brown sugar. My dad loved bread, so he would order a round loaf of Bohemian Rye from Daniels. He would meticulously slice the bread into perfect pieces and toast them in the oven. My dad was a great carver, didn’t matter if it was meat, bread, cake, or anything in between. He’d plop a piece of that bread on my plate and cover it with cinnamon sugar. Oh, man… I can taste it right now. Can you smell it?

Our family was not a large one by any means, but dad always made known the importance of gathering the family on Thanksgiving Day. A great gathering, as I like to call it.

image of football on turf

After lunch, we’d go outside and play football. In later years, we’d gather round the television set and watch football instead. We could get three channels back then. Channel 3 had pretty good reception, but channels 6 and 12 were a little fuzzy.

But that’s okay. After gorging ourselves on turkey, dressing, and all the fixins’, we were all a little fuzzy, too.

Thanksgiving was also the day we’d put up our Christmas tree.

Dad was a lineman for the REA and was always on the lookout for the perfect cedar tree. Once he found one that met his high standards, he’d knock on the farmer’s door and ask if he cut down the tree. It was important to him that we saw him ask permission. I don’t think he was ever told “no.” He’d bring that tree home, trim up the bottom and set it on a base of his own making. He would then spray paint it silver and decorate it with blue lights. It was the most magnificent thing I’ve ever seen.

When I grew older, I never spray painted my own tree. But I’d always go out Eldon Wiswell’s Tree Farm and pick one out to bring home.

Nowadays, we have one of them ol’ plastic ones. But just like those great gatherings of yesteryear, we put it up on Thanksgiving.

image of christmas tree with decorations

Nowadays, my job is to put the hooks on the ornaments and hand them to my grandkids. The littlest ones hang ornaments on the bottom and the taller grandkids take care of the top. And the tallest one is tasked with putting the angel in its place. The same angel we’ve had for at least 20 years.

We’ve always opened our home to family on Thanksgiving. However, these days, as our family gets bigger and bigger, with not only grandkids but now great-grandkids, it becomes harder and harder for us all to get together.

But it’s still a great gathering, nonetheless.

And that night, after everyone’s gone and the house goes silent, I give thanks to the good Lord for all the many blessings He’s bestowed upon us. Not just to me and my family, but our company, our customers, and our country.

This year, I will ask the Lord to bring this country back together. I pray that we can all come together for the common good and spend the rest of our time on this earth in a spirit of peace, harmony, and understanding.

In other words, a great gathering… indeed.

Thanks for readin’ …

Francis Pass