November 26, 2022

THE LIST: Happy Thanksgiving. Don’t forget the side dishes.

To say my boss, John Van Nostrand, and I don’t talk about what we’re writing our columns on each week is an understatement this week. I think of Thanksgiving and immediately go to food. They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. I would agree.

For me, I get to holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas and it’s all about the nostalgic sides. Yes, I like turkey on Thanksgiving (dark meat, please!) and ham or aebelskiver (Danish pancake balls) on Christmas, but there are a few sides in my family that have become wildly popular. We all have those, I trust.

At grandma and grandpa’s house growing up, my grandma’s incredible cooking was always on display. We had an understood seating arrangement. We would pray, and then grandpa would say to “take whatever’s in front of you and pass it around.” For me, that was always grandma’s mashed potatoes that contained the “secret ingredient that became less and less secret over time (cream cheese). It made the mashed potatoes memorable, and they went down real nice. To this day, if I am making mashed potatoes for a special occasion, I make sure to add grandma’s secret ingredient.

I got married and realized that what we call “corny noodles” existed. It’s the macaroni and cheese with corn. That’s also a really good choice, but it doesn’t quite rival grandma’s mashed potatoes.

Gratefulness really is a choice, isn’t it? There’s enough negativity in our lives that can oftentimes become the “main dish” or “main thing” that we focus on. To be clear, they’re important to pay attention to, but the “side dishes” of life sometimes get forgotten. That’s where the gravy is, friends.

Puns aside, I’m thankful for many things this year. My wife sacrifices a ton because of my job. We value being a team and I’m so thankful for her. If you get one of us, you many times get both of us. I’m thankful for good health. I’m thankful for my family and my in-laws. Not everyone can say they love their in-laws, but I truly do.

While being thankful is a choice, I’m a firm believer in what James writes in James 1:17, that “every good and perfect gift comes from above...” I’m thankful for the many gifts God has given me and those around me this year.

I’m thankful for a good sunrise. I’m thankful for family time I get. I’m thankful for the good feeling the first snow of the year gives you, much unlike the last snows where you just want it to go away. I’m thankful for gifts that allow me to make music and create other things with those I love. These are the side dishes to be thankful for.

Christmas will come soon enough. Don’t forget the side dishes.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Caleb Nelson

Caleb Nelson

Caleb Nelson has served as News Editor of the Adair County Free Press and Fontanelle Observer since Oct. 2017. He and his wife Kilee live in Greenfield. In Greenfield and the greater Adair County area, he values the opportunity to tell peoples' stories, enjoys playing guitar, following all levels of sports, and being a part of his local church.