As usual when we approach a holiday, the thoughts of the woman from Ima return to those days spent in the canyons so very long ago. Of course, Thanksgiving was celebrated even in the sticks, and we all had a great time before, during, and after the day.
The work for Mother and Grandmother began days before and kept them busy discussing what needed to be done next as they chopped wood for the stove and carried in water from the spring. My major occupation was trying to stay out of their way so I wouldn't have to help carry in an arm load of wood or a bucket of water. Just the anticipation of the coming day was tiring because we'd get to see the relatives from Tucumcari and Nara Visa.
No doubt, Mother had to practice more patience than usual because I was almost unmanageable when excitement took over. She often worried about my being so quiet on normal days, but she surely didn't have to worry about that near holiday time because I talked from the time I got up until I went to bed, telling anyone who would listen about plans for that big day. Well, I talked to the dog, cats, milk cows, calves, horses, and any other animal in sight because Mother would suggest that I go outside to check on almost anything.
Grandmother would even think of things for me to do at a distance because she was working hard enough preparing for the company and didn't need a major distraction under foot. Because she was much aware of my imaginary friends, she would send me outside to tell them the latest plans. Yes, I had such friends. After all, I was often the only child around the house during the day and needed someone my own age to play with. And, yes, psychiatrists have written much about the abnormalities of having imaginary friends. Had they lived in those canyons, they would have written about the normalcy of having such friends because they would have discovered the joy of using their imagination to create pleasure in living a rather solitary existence.
At any rate, Thanksgiving Day would finally arrive and so would the relatives. Just to have those Ward cousins to play with for a few hours was a major treat. We would pause long enough to feast and would then go outside to play in those canyons. We were much aware of the importance of the holiday and were thankful for all we had, including each other.
Today, this woman from Ima is just as thankful as she was then, especially when it comes to being thankful for having so many wonderful friends and for being fortunate enough to be an American. Let's all have a most blessed Thanksgiving!
Lynn Moncus is a Tucumcari resident and can be reached at 575-461-1952.