There is a quaint old cornucopia sitting in our kitchen these days. It is filled with yummy seasonal fruits and veggies in anticipation of our impending Thanksgiving celebration. This particular ornamental basket has been in our family for four generations, and even though it shows some wear and tear, it continues to showcase abundance in my life. As a young child in particular, I was always fascinated by the unique shape, the decorative motif, and the visual reminder it provided as a symbol of nature’s bountiful harvest. But explaining this to Kindergarteners during Thanksgiving…well, that’s another matter.
It was the fall of 1983 and I was teaching my morning class of 32 Kinder friends when I pulled out my cute cornucopia. Innocently asking the question, “Now friends, who can tell me what this item is? What does it do? Where might you see it?” Everything from “turkey tooter” to “basket whistle” fell out of little mouths. Not one child knew “horn of plenty” or “cornucopia.” Being a very young, naive student teacher, I was determined to right this obvious injustice (as my mentor master teacher softly snickered in the back of the room 🙂 ). Quietly and methodically, I reached into my secret sack to fill my cornucopia with little fruits, nuts, vegetables, a tiny pumpkin, and other harvest foods, asking my learners to name each item as it was placed inside the cornucopia (vocabulary building during morning meeting was critical). When it was filled to overflowing, a child brilliantly exclaimed, “Well, it’s plenty full of food now!” This is when we talked about the cornucopia being a “horn-of-plenty.” Our language experience quickly turned into a lengthy and excited discussion about much more that just a cornucopia. Each child created a personal cornucopia, filling it with objects or items best representing individual interests as a reminder of all they had to be grateful and thankful for during the season; the results, and their simple writings about them, were truly remarkable!
Even today, this family cornucopia remains a Thanksgiving centerpiece in our home. So on Day #24, think about filling your own cornucopia. What items best represent what you are grateful and thankful for in particular this year?
Whether it’s a cornucopia or another symbol of the season, here’s hoping we all find plenty to fill our hearts, minds, and souls with gratefulness, especially this year. Please stay safe and well as you take care of yourself and each other, my friends! 🙂