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Father we thank Thee for this food,
for health and strength and all things good.
May others all these blessings share,
and hearts be grateful everywhere. 
(Traditional, circa 1800s)

(or somewhere abouts...)

I can barely suppress a smile here because I can vividly recall 'the children's table' when I was younger.

One of those aluminum numbers...four matching chairs...decorated by artwork performed on the table top during many an art session.  Bright crayon colors that depicted houses, flowers, birds, and maybe even a likeness to Mom and Dad.

Did I say it was red?  LOL

Thanksgiving morning Mother and Daddy would load the table and chairs in the family car to make the trek to Mamaw's and Papaw's.  The turkey was there...the cornbread dressing...the chocolate pie and cranberry sauce.

Big folks at the dining room table.

Little folks at the little table.

That is the way it was.  We had our own special table manners and our own way of celebrating Thanksgiving.

There are old 8mm movies of us...all 5 of us...Mamaw bustling about...pouring tea and papaw joking and laughing as he carved the turkey.

I thought it was great when I graduated to the 'grown-up' table..little did I know how special those 'little table' memories would be ;)

A wonderful tribute to kids and thanksgiving everywhere. 
*Note* The link at the bottom of page will take you to
a great site for kids and parents and you will find a printable version 
of this poem there.

It's the little kids' table;
The table for tots,
Where my mom makes me sit
If I like it or not.

The table for grown-ups
Is fit for a king,
With goblets
And giblets
And gold napkin rings,

And bread rolls and salad
And dressing with drippings,
One glass just for drinking,
And one just for sipping!

But here all the kids
Drink from Styrofoam cups,
We eat small turkey bits
That our moms have cut up.

Our plates are red plastic
And so are the spoons,
And we eat by ourselves
In a small dining room.

I have dozens of cousins
Age one and age two
Whose Thanksgiving feast
Is a greenish-brown goo.

They slop up their faces
With vegetable mashes
And after they drink
They all have
Milk mustaches.

They urp,
And they burp,
And they belch
And they gulp;
Oh, why can't I sit
At the feast for adults?

All the mooshing
And mashing
And smooshing
And gnashing!
I put down my fork
And I thought about fasting!

I'd never eat turkey
Again in my life!
Never pick up a fork!
Never pick up a knife!

I'd fast like a mountain-top
Indian swami;
I wouldn't touch mustard
Or bread
Or salami!

"I'll never eat mushrooms
"Or green beans
"Or squid!
"And I NEVER will eat
"At the table for kids!"

"What's wrong?" asked my mom,
She was pouring some drinks;
"You haven't touched dinner...
"Not one single thing!"

She straightened the napkin
Tucked under my chin,
She gave me a hug
As she pushed my chair in, 

She cut up my turkey bits
Two sizes smaller,
She held up my glass,
"Have a sip of some water!"

She dished up a spoon
Of potatoes and gravy;
My mom tried to feed me
Like I was a baby!

Well, my face turned as red
As the rhubarb pie filling!
I quick turned away,
And my cup went a-spilling! 

Water splashed on
Mom's face and her hair,
And it looked like some gravy
Was mixed up in there,

Because polka dots spotted
My mom's bright white dress!
Her Thanksgiving suit
Was a gravy-brown mess!

I should've said "Sorry!"
I should've said "Oops!"
I should've helped mom
Wipe the gravy-brown goop.

What happened instead
Is a mystery, my friends.
But there's one thing for sure- - -
I won't do it again!

I opened my mouth- - -
Do you know what I did?
I sassed my mom back
Like a spoiled snotty kid.

"I can use my own fork!
"I can use my own knife!
"And I don't want to sit
"At the table for tikes!"

"I can't stand all the gunk!
"I can't stand all the gak!
"I won't watch little Timothy
"Eating like that!"

"He's got yams in his hair,
"He's got yams North and South,
"And there's food everywhere
"But inside of his mouth!"

"Then there's Sarah and Icky
"And Jimmy and Franz
"Mixing peas in their milk!
"Eating with their bare hands!"

"This is NOT what the Pilgrims
"And Indians did,

Then mom said,
"I think your Thanksgiving's all through,
"And I think that it's time
"You go up to your room." 

"In my ROOM?!" my brain thought,
This just couldn't be true!
In my ROOM?!
What on earth did I do??

My tummy got grumbly,
My feet both felt stumbly,
I wanted to shout,
But my mouth was all mumbly.

I walked past the turkey,
The dressing and trimmings,
My feast was now ending
Before its beginning. 

"Goodbye, pumpkin pie!"
I said, as I walked by it,
"So long, green bean bake!"
Though I never would try it,

"Farewell, acorn squash,
"And potatoes au gratin!
"Ta-ta, apple tart
"With your whip-creamy topping!"

I sat all alone
On my bed feeling hungry.
It felt like I had
A stone knot in my tummy.

I could still hear
The forks and the knives and the spoons
Clacking and clinking
And scraping up food;

My sniffer sniffed smells
Drifting up from afar,
And on Thanksgiving Day
I was sure I would starve!

So I played with my toys
Then I sang a few numbers,
I stood on my head
To get rid of this hunger, 

Then somersaults,
I played tiddly-winks,
But Thanksgiving turkey
Was all I could think!

My belly growled out
Like a great grizzly bear,
And I knew,
Pretty soon,
I'd need something down there! 

Liver, or beets!
Even heaps of
Hungarian pickled pigs' feet!

"I'll eat wood like a termite!
"Or flies like a frog!
"I'll chew catnip like kitties!
"Or shoes like a dog!"

I was just about ready
To snack on my hat,
When I heard someone knocking,

It was mom with a plate
Piled high with a feast,
And it didn't seem that she was mad
In the least.

She set up a TV tray
Right by my bed,
And she gave me a kiss
On the top of my head. 

"You're growing up fast,"
She said, hiding a tear,
"Won't you join the adults
"For Thanksgiving next year?"

© 1992 Howard D. Fencl
Used by kind permission of the author

1. Provide children with construction paper in autumn colors. Help them cut strips   of construction paper to glue together into paper chains. These chains can be hung with cellophane tape around the children's table and chairs. 

2. Have the children make their own Thanksgiving place mats. Draw several large leaves on white construction paper and have the children color them in with crayons. Cut out the leaves to make place mats. Have the children draw turkeys from their own handprints to use as alternative place mats. 

3. Purchase a white paper tablecloth on which children can color in Thanksgiving-themed pictures that you draw with a pen or pencil. Alternatively, let the children draw and color in their own pictures. The same can be done with white paper place mats. 

4.Use paper plates, napkins and cups that have been printed with a Thanksgiving motif. This will help eliminate the need to worry about broken plates or glasses at the children's table. Use plastic spoons and forks as well. 

5. See "Make a Pumpkin Turkey" . You carve out the pumpkin and the children can add the finishing touches. 

6.Help the children decorate their own table with the items they have made. Give them autumn leaves, clusters of berries, and nuts to decorate the base of their table's centerpiece.
7.Have the children make miniature pumpkin turkeys. Write each child's name on his or her pumpkin turkey and use these to designate each child's place at the children's table.

The best advice and tip I can provide is REMEMBER:

Have Fun!!

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