Today’s song is “People Look East.” Here are both the words and a midi file:
(http://www.hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com/Hymns_and_Carols/people_look_east.htm )This is a good song for today because it tells us to “make your house fair as you are able, trim the hearth and set the table.” And since Thanksgiving is tomorrow, that is what we will have to do today.
A final cleaning of the house, ironing the table linens, polishing the silver, baking, changing the beds for the visitors — these are the tasks for today. Enjoy them!
And while you do, you can enjoy this very pretty song, written in 1928 by Eleanor Farjeon, who also wrote “Morning Has Broken.” The tune is “Besancon,” an old French carol, usually in a setting by Craig Phillips. (The “c” of “Besancon” should have a little tail, but I am not that technologically savvy.) The tune, as is the case with all old French carols, is reminiscent of the days when a carol was something you danced. It will therefore provide a perfect rhythm for sweeping and scrubbing. The words are a sort of Fransiscan calling out to the people, the furrows, the birds, the stars, and at last the angels. All are exhorted to work and to rejoice, both excellent things to do today. It is an excellent Advent carol, so if you learn it now you will have it all ready. On the other hand, although the Penguin Book of Carols describes it as having “exciting theology,” it has not one single unambiguously Christian word in it. Those of us who sing it from our hymnals assume that “Love” in each verse refers to Christ, but it could certainly be sung in religously mixed gatherings. Farjeon was a mystic and spiritualist in her youth, and it shows in her poetry.
At our house, Grandpa brings the turkey and dressing. When our married daughter asked for his special dressing recipe, we discovered that it was a packaged mix gussied up with nuts and vegetables. Grandma is bringing homemade bread. Auntie is bringing #2 daughter, and a broccoli casserole. We are making the other stuff: potatoes, rice, corn, carrots, salad, whole-grain breads, desserts, and appetizers. We have settled on the desserts: apple pie, Possum Pie, and Apple-Plum Crisp. I will be making all of these today. The apple pie will be a classic Granny Smith apple pie. Possum Pie (recommended by The Empress and the Poster Queen) has a nut crust, a layer of cream cheese-and-Cool Whip, a layer of chocolate pudding, and then another layer of Cool Whip. Obviously, I will not be eating it, but the kids should love it. The Apple and Plum Crisp is a matter of fruit, almonds, egg whites, and a little sugar. That’s the one I am going to eat.
The other thing to be prepared today is Sweet Potato Casserole. When I was a child, we had Thanksgiving at my stepfather’s house. His mother made things that involved a sweet potato with a pineapple ring on top, a marshmallow on that, and a pecan half on the top. My side of the family never ate these, although we always admired them. A few years ago I tried making them, and found that a) they take a long time, and b) my side of the family still won’t eat them. For the past couple of years I have tried sweet potato casseroles in an effort to find something that is reminiscent of those sweet potato things without their disadvantages. This year, Grandmother Marie’s descendants will be in the majority at our Thanksgiving Day feast, and I have found what I hope will be the ideal recipe. A mashed can of sweet potatoes, a can of crushed pineapple, a couple of eggs, a bit of butter and cream, all mixed together in a baking dish. A layer of marshmallows on top, and then the whole thing is baked. I will not be eating this either, of course, but I hope the rest of the family will like it.
I intend to press my boys into service today. If they are very helpful, I will have time to finish quilting the table runner, and perhaps to finish my current Mystery Object knitting as well. I had hoped to get a good start on the third DNA scarf while hanging out with the family over the holiday, but I have yet to find any cream-colored wool. I have hopes that #2 daughter will be able to bring me some from the metropolis. But if not, I will have to find a non-secret knitting project to begin.