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The Adventures of Ollie-Dare - Chapter 7

By Rebecca D. Morris

OLLIE-DARE Has A Thanksgiving

The cool days of Fall that had prepared the great Forest for Winter were slowly leaving. In their wake, cold northern air was creeping into the forest. Most of the animals had stored and prepared for the winter snows, and all was quiet within the forest walls. The days still gave way to some warm sunlight, and Ollie-Dare not wanting to venture in just yet, was taking an evening stroll along the river's edge. Winters were a lonlier time in the forest, for most of the creatures stayed snug and warm, and didn't go out and about. But Ollie-Dare knew that he would see his best friends out this evening, for like him, they lingered in the cold evening air. As he joined his best friends Jimmy the rabbit, Ace the coon, and Banjo the Fox, they began walking and reflecting on the days ahead. Now Jimmy wasn't one to let a little cold and snow stop him, but the other three would stay closed in for the next few months.

Ollie-Dare began telling his friends of something he had read. "It seems," he said, "that people celebrate a thing called Thanksgiving. Now I have read much about this and find it to be a interesting thing."

Ace asked, "And just what is a Thanksgiving, and why would anyone celebrate it?"

Ollie-Dare began to tell his friends of what he had read. "It seems that many years ago people came here from far away, and they settled. Now they came here to find new lives and adventures, and upon getting here found other people here. Now these people had been here throughout time, and they were called Indians. The trouble was that they spoke different words, and lived differently than the new people. The new people were afraid of the people they found, and the people here were afraid of the people that had come. But somehow, they did communicate, and soon the people of this land started showing the new people new things. They showed them how to plant corn, and other things. And the new people showed them how to do things like carrying things in wagons, and eating at a wooden table. The new people were called settlers, and the Indians showed the settlers how to hunt.

"Well," Ollie-Dare added, "the Indians hunted with something called bow and arrow, and the settlers hunted with something called a musket, which I have also learned is called a gun. Well, the settlers and the Indians got along pretty good up to this point. So one day, the settlers had a big feast and invited their new friends. And the Indians came and they brought a bird called a turkey to be cooked. Well, they all sat down and had a meal together, and gave thanks to their God for the bouniful harvest, and the land that they now shared, and they called that day Thanksgiving. And it is still celebrated to this day."

Banjo then asked, "And when is this day celebrated? And do they still celebrate the day together?"

Ollie-Dare answered, "Well, it's celebrated in this time of year right before the snows come, and I am not sure they celebrate it in the same way. It is a day of family gatherings, and food, and giving thanks."

"Ollie-Dare, why don't we have a Thanksgiving, for we have many friends and family here, and we have lots to be thankful for," asked Jimmy.

Ollie-Dare thought on this for a moment then with a smile he answered, "Jimmy, that is a wonderful idea. We shall have a Thanksgiving here at the forest, and we'll do it soon before the snows keep everybody in! Yes, indeed, the forest will have a Thanksgiving, and everyone is invited."

All four friends began speaking at once, excitement filling the air. For the forest was having a Thanksgiving! Plans were made and each of his friends went to tell others of what they had planned. Ollie-Dare headed to his cave to read some more on this event while they spread the word.

The next day, Ollie-Dare started off early in the morning to Beaver Joe's, and along with him he carried a book. Inside this book was a picture of a huge wooden table. Upon showing the book to Beaver Joe, Ollie-Dare asked Beaver Joe if he could fashion one for the Thanksgiving feast that was being planned. Beaver Joe kept the book and told Ollie-Dare that he was sure he could.

Ollie-Dare was so pleased with this, and once again carrying a list of measurments that Beaver Joe had given him, went to see Nibble the Squirrell. Here he asked if she could fashion a large cloth that would cover the big table. Nibble asured him she could with Bloosom the Possum's help. After also talking of food to be prepared, Ollie-Dare left to have some morning tea and think upon the coming event.

It was unusual for the forest to feel so active at this time of year, and Ollie-Dare was excited that the forest was going to celebrate Thanksgiving. On his way home all the forest creatures were stopping him and talking of the day. Each had wonderful plans for food and shared their views on how they could make it a great day! Ollie-Dare soon made his way into the cave, and after brewing fresh tea, sat and began to make notes on what needed to be done.

Soon the Great Forest Thanksgiving day arrived, and the forest came alive again with laughter and music. Beaver Joe had made a beautiful, long, wood table with benches, and Nibble's cloth to cover it with was the talk of the forest for days after. For it was delicate and colorful. It covered the table and made a grand sweep on the ends. Bloosom had brought a huge vase of dried flowers to set in the middle. Food covered the large table from end to end. Soups and cut vegatables, pies made from berries, cakes of honey and nuts. Fresh baked breads and corn glistened in the warmth of the sun. Cool winds could be felt, but everyone kept warm from the fire that Ace and Banjo kept going, and Jimmy passed around hot fresh tea. They all gathered around the table and Ollie-Dare gave prayer. As he began, all was quiet in the forest - even the wind seemed to still, to hear the words that Ollie-Dare spoke.

"Lord," he began, "we thank you for all that is gathered here today, for the plentiful food and drink. We thank you for the fire that keeps us warm, and the wood you have given us to tend it. Thank you for the cool water springs that give us drink, and the tall pines that shelter so many in the winter. We thank you for the warm earth where many live, and the caves that shelter us, also. We thank you for all the friends that are seated before you, and those that pass here from time to time. Most of all we thank you for your love. Amen."

Many amens could be heard as everyone started filling their bowls and plates with food. Laughter and talking filled the air, and for a time the cold days of Winter were once again put aside. Ollie-Dare watched as so many of his friends sat together and enjoyed such a sunny, Winter day. He felt so much pride, and his heart swelled with all the kindness shown, and the love that was so freely passed around. For surely they had so much to be thankful for, and silently he thanked those people that so long ago gave thanks, and in doing so, gave him this day to remember forever.

Ollie-Dare wishes everyone a Thankful Thanksgiving!

Next month the original Ollie-Dare:
"Ollie-Dare the Christmas Bear."

2002 Rebecca Morris

Next month: Ollie-Dare, the Christmas Bear


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