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November 15, 2019
By JOYCE COMINGORE - Garden Club of Cape Coral ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

My column will not appear again until after Thanksgiving, so my early observations are here.

Time to get out the ol' cornucopia for decorating and fill it with the harvest bounty. This horn shaped basket emblem dates to Greeks times where they believed the goat, Amathea, broke off his horn and gave it to the God Zeus as a sign of reverence, who, in return set the sign of the goat in the sky as Capricorn. This is an exchange of gratitude, offering thanks and giving.

Tis' the season to get it out of my system. Being from Indiana, I grew up in Indiana and James Whitcomb

Riley poems, just ask me to recite, "When the Frost is on the Punkin" in dialect.

"When the frost is on the punkin and the fodders in the shock

And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin' turkey cock

And the clackin' of the guineys, and cluckin' of the hens

And the rooster's hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence

O, its then the times a feller is a feelin' at his best

With the risin' sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest

As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes out to feed the stock

When the frost is on the punkin and the fodders in the shock.

"They's something kindo' harty-like about the atmusfere

When the heat of summer's over and the coolin' fall is here

Of course we miss the flowers and the blossoms on the trees

And the mumble of the hummin'-birds and buzzin' of the bees

But the airs so appetizin'; and the landscape through the haze

Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days

Is a pictur' that no painter has the colorin' to mock

When the frost is on the punkin' and the fodder's in the shock!

"The husky, rusty russle of the tossels of the corn,

And the raspin' of the tangled leaves, as golden as the morn;

The stubble in the furries kindo' lonesome-like but still

A-preachin' sermuns to us of the barns they browed to fill;

The hosses in theyr stalls below the clover over-head!

O, it sets my hart a-clickin' like the tickin' of a clock,

When the frost is on the punkin and fodder's in the shock!

"Then your apples all is gathered, and the ones a feller keeps

Is poured around the celler-floor in red and yeller heaps;

And your cider-makin' 's over, and your wimmern-folks is through

With their mince and apple butter, and theyr souse and sausage, too!

I don't know how to tell it but ef such a thing could be

As the Angels wantin' boardin' and they'd call around on me

I'd want to 'commodate 'em all the whole-inducin' flock

When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock!"

I got it all out - It carries me back to Indiana, their crisp, seasonal weather, bonfire smoke, but fires are no longer allowed. The great thing is, we here have no snow or severe frost, well maybe, unlike what's happening in the north now. I could go on and on, but my memories make me glad I lived where I lived and in the times I did.

Now is the time for gourds, squash and pumpkins, corn, corn shocks, green beans and cranberries, to say nothing of the turkey.

Corn is believed to be the staple of the Native Americans and they taught the Pilgrims how to plant this first staple of the Thanksgiving meal. Then they taught the "Three Sisters" theory, vining green beans and squash. The story goes that the three sisters are squash, beans and corn, that thrive when they are near each other. First plant the corn, when it gets 6 inches tall, plant the pole beans to climb the corn stalk, then the squash to cover the ground as ground cover, a good example of companion planting.

Pumpkins, gourds and squash make decorating easy for the season. It is an autumn fruit as it grows out of a flower. We can't have Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie. And, doesn't everyone have green bean casserole as a staple food item? There, we are now eating the "three sisters" meal.

Some people throw cranberries into the meal. Personally, I love fresh cranberries from scratch, bubbling and boiling on the stove -- not everyone does. Some even serve the gelled canned stuff, some not at all. Pilgrims found adding brown sugar made it a pleasant dessert. Cranberries are grown in a bog. Originally called crane berry because the plant produced a flower that resembled the crane bird with its pink blossom looking like a drooping head.

Then we have the main course, turkey with dressing or stuffing? Stuffing, to me, is what you put into the turkey and let the juices assimilate, whereas dressing can be baked in a separate dish. Either way, I'm for it, along with gravy.

All because the early Pilgrims with the Native Americans took time to break bread and to thank God for each other and their bounty.

A chap by the name of Martin Frobisher navigated the ocean from England to Canada. Canadians' Thanksgiving is about the voyage; Americans celebrate the coming together of two peoples. Liberians celebrate Thanksgiving on the first Thursday of November. It's a day for them to give thanks for freedom and the founding of their country.

To all Americans, Canadians and Liberians, have a safe, reflective, and happy Thanksgiving.

Joyce Comingore is a Master Gardener, hibiscus enthusiast and member of the Garden Club of Cape Coral.



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