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Five grains of corn; thinking and thanking on Thanksgiving Day.

Five Grains of Corn

The Pilgrims had a custom of putting five grains of corn on each empty plate before a dinner of "thanksgiving" was served. The father, mother, children, and friends would each pikc up a grain of corn and tell of something for which they were thankful. The practice reminded them of how the first Pilgrims were in such straits that their allowance was only five grains of corn per person each day. The Pilgrims had little, but they did possess gratitude. It was upon this base of genuine gratitude that America was built.

Gratitude is one of the great virtues. Our English word "thanks" comes from the same Anglo-Saxon word our word "think" does. If we would stop to think, we would pause to be thankful. When we pause to be thankful, we should think of those people we really appreciate--people who have helped use sometime during our life on this earth.

About three years ago my thoughts turned to the people I especially appreciated. I called each of them. One had been my professor in college; another was a person who had given me a great deal of encouragement; another was one with whom I greatly enjoy playing tennis; and another was a produce-department employee who had been especially helpful to me when I accompanied my wife on our regular Saturday-morning trip to the grocery store. The responses to these calls were amazine and also gratifying. It seems that the calls were the first time someone had expressed appreciation to them in this way. After hearing the enthusiastic responses I was getting from my calls, my wife began to make calls of her own to those persons she particularly appreciated. She encountered the same warm reception I did.

In the case of an especially helpful employee, writing a note to his or her employer or supervisor may be even better than calling. It will be appreciated by the person, and it may even result in a promotion or commendation for the person. For example, my wife and I were in a large department store in New York City. When the closing bell rang, the employees made quick exists--all except one, that is. He had been on his way out, but when he saw us, he laid his overcoat on a chair and helpfully answered questions about the item we were interested in. I asked him if he was a clerk or a manager on that particular floor. "No," was the reply, "I'm a salesclerk on the fifth floor." The next day I made a special trip back to the store manager's office and told him of this incident. I said, "This man treated us as if this were his own personal store." Two weeks later, I got a letter from the store clerk. He thanked me for going to the manager of the store. And he added, "I have been promote to the position of manager of my floor."

Let us take five grains of corn and think of five persons to whom we are especially grateful, and let us tell them how much we appreciate them by a telephone call or a letter on this coming day of Thanksgiving. You may find, as I have found, that the response is so great that you begin thanking people every day.
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Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Frazier, Claude A.
Publication:Saturday Evening Post
Date:Nov 1, 1989
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