Monday, November 24, 2014


by Linda Goodman    
©Linda Goodman 1996

            When my family lived in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia, the food that we ate at our Thanksgiving Day meal was the same as what we ate on any other day: soup beans and cornbread.  Occasionally, there would be meat, if Daddy had been out hunting. 

            What made the meal different was a ritual that my Daddy insisted upon observing on Thanksgiving.  Before eating, each of us sitting around the table would, one by one, give thanks for that for which he or she was most grateful.  Not having much in the way of material possessions, our thanks usually were given for treasured relationships.  One year, after I had recovered from a severe bout with pneumonia, I was surprised to hear my brothers give thanks for my survival.  It changed the way I felt about them, and their constant teasing was easier to take after that.  I gave thanks for my new baby sister.  Mama was thankful for well-behaved children, and Daddy was thankful that he had been blessed with children who were thinkers.  If you use your head, you will come out ahead, he always said.

            When we moved to the city, Thanksgiving remained the same.  My parents refused to assimilate into the city culture, and so our meals and rituals never changed.  We children eventually adopted city ways, but Mama and Daddy held to the old ways until their deaths. 

            The Thanksgiving after they passed away, my sister and her family came to spend the holiday with me in Connecticut.  I fixed a traditional meal of turkey, dressing, and various side dishes.  Before eating, my sister and I decided to reinstate the old ritual that we had taken part in so often.  One by one our children gave thanks.  My daughter was thankful for the new dress she had gotten for the Christmas dance at school.  My nephew was thankful for his Nintendo.  My niece was glad that her allowance had been increased.  No one mentioned family or friends.

            I abandoned the ritual after that.  It just was not the same with its new emphasis on material possessions.  On Thanksgiving day, we have a bountiful meal and good companionship.  Everyone seems happy.  But I always make sure to take a few minutes alone to give thanks for the wonderful man who taught me that it is not who you are, but how you live, that matters most; and that anyone who has a loving family is rich indeed.

In This Time of Goodness and Light....

I am approaching the holiday with a great deal of sadness. During the past week, 5 of my friends have lost loved ones; 2 of those 5 friends lost children (as a parent, I do not see how anything could be worse than that). During this same week, 3 of my friends have lost jobs, and another was told that her job is on the line. In all 3 cases, those losing their jobs are the family breadwinners. 2 are the sole source of income for their families. Others I know have been unemployed for months or years. Some of them are starting to lose hope in this "strong" economy. I find it hard to rejoice or be thankful when those I care about are suffering. It reminds me of my own dark journeys; times when my own holiday spirit was compromised by fear, anxiety, and dread. Somehow, I was lead to the light at the end of the tunnel, even though I could not see it. I did not have the confidence needed to make it there on my own. I believe that God took my hand and guided me there when I was "blind." 

Today, I have an abundance of blessings. Knowing that I do not deserve them makes me wonder why I have been so blessed. 

I pray that my friends in need (indeed, all those in need), will get the same guidance that I got as they travel through what is supposed to be the most joyous season of the year. May they all end up with an embarrassment of riches.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Daughters of the Appalachians on NSN Autumn Auction List

Please consider bidding on my donation to the National Storytelling Network's Autumn Auction:

Author/Storyteller/Playwright Linda Goodman's one-woman show Daughters of the Appalachians introduces six unique women, each of whom offers a rare glimpse of a culture that is fast fading away. Meet Harlene, whose dog is both her anchor and her best friend; Boojie, whose star-crossed lover changed her life; Nellveda Hawkins, who may or may not be the devil incarnate; Sara Jane, a woman who understands true beauty; Jessie, who should have been more careful with her wishes; and Martha Potter, an elder who understands simple truths. As you share their joys and sorrows, these women will touch your soul and live in your heart.

"So far the show has been a perfect storm: a worthy original production, based on character studies of people who often get overlooked by mainstream America, produced at a time when they have been thrust front and center on the national stage."
-J.C. Lockwood,Newburyport Current, Jan. 13, 2006

90 minute performance with one intermission, valued at $750. Starting bid: $250

Linda Goodman will donate up to 2 hours travel by car. Purchaser must pay for travel more than 2 hours away. 

Overnight lodging must be provided if an evening show is desired.

To bid on this item, go to

All proceeds of this auction will go towards NSN Member Grants.