I had expected this weekend to be wet and cold.  The prediction was for much colder days and sub-forties nights.  It certainly is cold, though we had some sun yesterday.  As I look outside now towards the clocktower of the university, there is no sun.  The tall palm that supercedes the height of the tower receives the wind among its broad and old fronds.  The very tall trunk barely moves it is so accustomed to changes in the weather.  It will remain cold today, I am sure.  At least I am indoors, which is what counts; one must stay dry.  One must have the dry clothes.  One must possess dry shoes, good dry shoes that protect one's comfort for the length of the day.  I have just arrived here.  But I will tell you what I saw.

There was a mother.  Rather young, her hair pulled back, long.  She had a baby with her.  He was a well-tended baby.  He wore gray- and blue-striped togs  --  a little blue and gray fleece jacket just his size.  And, most sweetly, a pair of solid black pure leather shoes for him to walk in.  In the future he will walk gleefully, I am sure.  He will possess the equanimity of self-regard.  For he has the love of his mother.  She is a mother who cares.  She has the capacity.  I saw her look once or twice down at her own pair of shoes:  they were new, shiny black patents with small heels.  She was proud of them.  To have a proud boy you must have a proud mother.  This mother cares for herself.  She will therefore have a good child who will contribute to the world.  Always look at the shoes.  They are pure expressions of what we think of ourselves and our children.

This mother loves her son.  I was not looking for that particularly.  I was sitting on a bench seat facing them, with my own family next to me.  We were hiding from the rain.  Our borrowed green umbrella was too wet, dripping into a plastic bag.  We were on our way to Target (so we told ourselves); but we were just biding time, waiting for the library to open so we could pursue our work of the day.  We looked across first at the baby's face.  Babys are so unassuming.  They wear their clothes very well.  They know what they want, they want a world that does what they want, they cry if they don't get it, and they are purely good in their most serene moments, when all the world is at their feet.  This mother passed the full palm of her hand across the soft short hair of her baby's head.  This mother touched the top round curve of his ear.  This mother spoke to her infant with the language everybody knows all their lives.  She handled her son like you handle time when there is little of it and you want all of it.  This is Love, that seems to fill every space of the world.  We are the world.  Mother knows this.  She will tend her children.

Therefore this is my Thanksgiving prayer.  That all the mothers of the world be blessed.  That their children will be so.  That every mother tends her baby's soft and fragrant head the way she knows how to do.  That she will appreciate the shape.  That she will show it.  That she will follow the shape of the small ear with her hand.  That she will do it deeply entranced with the love she has for the child.  That it will not occur to her not to tend her baby.  That she will be captured in her role.  I pray that she will be there, strong, for the babies all their lives, confronting the world on their behalf,  that she will stand up to evil when it comes close to her child.  She has this in her.  This is an expression of her inborn love.  Also, let the mothers be loved.  Let them be respected for their inherent worth.  Let them be respected for the children not only that they have and are raising fully but for the children that they once were, little girls with dreams of their own, closer to their own strength and dignity once, before society told them how to bargain these away. The world will, I pray, bow to the mothers, for it is their gift which makes life possible.  And it is their love alone which gives us what we truly own.

As I am descended from Mayflower Women, women whose names occur very infrequently in the records, I feel an obligation to talk about them this Thanksgiving.  The Mayflower did not dock on the northern shore of the New World immediately after its arrival.  Some of the men went ashore.  The women stayed on board and washed the dirty clothes in the New England winter, on the decks of the ship.  They worked hard.  Yet they are little appreciated even now.  My pilgrim ancestor Mary Allerton may have helped her mother Mary Norris Allerton wash clothes on board during their earliest days and weeks in America.  Cloth has always been the responsibility of women.  Here, in the New World, it remained so.  I am a "daughter" of Mary Norris Allerton and of her own daughter, young Mary.  They gave us a beginning.  Young Mary fortunately lived past the first hard winter, when so many died.  She married the Elder of the Plymouth Church, my ancestor Thomas Cushman, son of Robert Cushman and Sara Reder.  (I am descended from the son of Mary and Thomas, Eleazar Cushman.)  The two Marys in my Pilgrim line helped to found the famous Pilgrim Colony.  The world was theirs to found for awhile.  It was their faith, love and dedication which helped the colony survive.  Thomas Cushman's father Robert Cushman wrote letters which are still extant.  In one of these he wrote, "Friend, if ever we make a plantation, God works a miracle."  I would like to argue that the women were this miracle. 

God Bless the good mothers and their children.

Happy Thanksgiving to Us All.  Signed G. E. Claire.  Copyright 2011 by G. Claire.  All rights reserved.  <>

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    G. Claire is a descendant of Welsh Immigrants who came to California during the time of "the Great Excitement," also known as the Gold Rush.  She is, in addition, a descendant of young Mayflower passenger Mary Allerton and of Thomas Cushman, an Elder of the Plymouth Church.  The author is proud to be descended from Silvanus Brown, a member of that most notorious group of Vermont mobsters known as The Green Mountain boys.


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