On a beautiful autumn day the air was crisp, but not cold, for there was not even a breeze in the canyon. As Bill and I rode our horses to the top of the world there was such a feeling comin’ over me! The trail around Soldier Mountain and up North Soldier Creek and down South Soldier Creek trail was such a pretty world! The fall colors of yellow quakies and red birch lining the creeks showed brightly. I was singing and had a sense of happiness that we live in a country that has many traditions to be thankful for at this time of year. I have been reading the book, Abe Lincoln Grows Up, by Carl Sandburg, and learned that as a young man Abe loved the wilderness of Illinois, where his family’s log cabin stood. He was known to be a good shot and bagged deer for their winter meat. He often shot prairie turkeys for the family’s Thanksgiving dinner. The memories of these written details stirred in me when we spooked a flock of spruce grouse on our trail this day. We rode through six inches of snow that lay on the shady side of the mountain. The snowy slopes of Soldier Mountain were ahead of us showing First Peak clearly against a blue sky as we climbed within a few hundred feet of its vista. The horses made almost no sounds and we hoped to come upon a herd of deer. Our wish was granted. Within the hour we jumped five deer. It was a shot of 300 yards for Bill atop Bingo. He dropped one with his first shot. We easily bagged the carcass and prepared it for the journey home. On our Thanksgiving dinner table this year, we will include a venison roast along with the steelhead caught in the Salmon River as I wished to have an old-fashioned meal using only the food we had raised. We can fix apple pie, squash, sliced tomatoes, baked potatoes, and homemade bread. What a blessing! Reading the history of the early Pilgrims when they set foot on Virginia soil, every fall they celebrated their freedom from oppression in Europe and gave thanks for God’s provisions to them. They called it a holy day and after their harvest every year they celebrated with a feast from a successful growing season and included an abundance of ocean cod and bass. The settlers at Plymouth were often joined by neighbors and Native Americans. Wild turkeys were plentiful so began the turkey as the center of the Thanksgiving meal. I hope you are looking forward to the hunt and remember who gave you the provisions.
May your Thanksgiving Day be joyful.
This article was written by W. Lenore Mobley. She is a Jerome resident and author of the Journey Series.