Tom: What have you been doing?
Tina: I finally got a chance to clean up the attic.
Tom: What's that?
Tina: It's an old diary or journal of some sort. It's from the box of books that came out of my mother's attic.
Tom: Was it written by your mother?
Tina: Oh no, it's much older than that.
Tom: How old is it?
Tina: Well, it's dated April 3, 1843 to January 17, 1844.
Tom: Wow! That's very old. You're right that's even older than your mother!
Tina: Very funny! As near as I can tell this was probably written by my great, great, great grandmother when she was a teen-ager.
Tom: Have you read it?
Tina: Some of it, yes. Mostly it's about their new home. Apparently Sarah, that's her name, and her husband, Jacob Waltham, had left home to get some land of their own. They staked a claim and began to farm.
Tom: Tough life.
Tina: Very tough. She was only 19 when she wrote this and she already had a baby.
Tom: Sounds young, doesn't it?
Tina: Listen to this: "Today we recovered the sod of our dug-out." That was their home - a hole in the ground dug into the side of the hill that faced away from the westerly winds. They had to replace the sod when it didn't keep the water out anymore.
Tom: I'm glad you're reading that.
Tom: Next time you talk to me about remodeling I'm going to remind you of this. (He taps the journal.)
Tina: It really does make you think about all we have.
Tom: What else does she write?
Tina: This is what I really wanted to read to you. It's dated November 17, 1843: "Today is the Lord's Day. Praise His Name. It's also the third Sunday in November. Traditionally our families celebrate today as a Day of Thanks for all the Lord has done for us this year. As I sit here in our snug little dug-out my heart is filled with thanks. Our little stove is still warm. It cooked our meal of chicken, beans, corn bread, squash, and pecan pie. Now it's keeping Jacob and baby Esther warm as they sleep. Soon I will sleep beside them but first, little journal, I must tell you about the "stranger" with us tonight. He, too, sleeps. Just as we were about to give thanks for our meal, we heard a man's voice calling. Jacob and I looked at each other. There was a terrible storm raging outside. The snow was blowing wildly and seemed to come from every direction at once. The wind was so fierce that from time to time it sounded as if it would carry away the very earth itself. Anyone outside in such weather would never be able to find our door. The only way would be if we called to him through the stove pipe. But who was he? Surely no one but an outlaw would be wandering on the prairie on a night like this. Still, how could we let a man be lost and freeze to death as we gave thanks to God for all we had. Jacob picked up his shotgun and I called through the stove pipe. Little by little, as we called back and forth over the howling wind, the stranger made his way to our door. He pushed the door open, came in with a rush of snow and wind, and put all his might into shutting out the banshee storm. As the stranger turned to face us Jacob kept the shotgun aimed at him, and I held Esther close to me. The stranger was covered head to foot by his greatcoat, snow and ice. Slowly he removed his hood and, wonder of wonders, it was my brother Seth! He had decided to come all this way from back home to be with us for this Day of Thanks. Seth had been traveling for nearly five weeks and had arrived in Logan City this morning. He had taken a chance that he could beat the approaching storm and get to our dug-out before the snow began. It was surely by God's grace that he found us. You can imagine, little journal, how great was our giving of thanks on this Lord's Day!
Tom: That's quite a story!
Tina: Tom, let's read this on our Thanksgiving Day to the entire family.
Tom: Good idea.
Tina: She was so grateful. She was living in a hole in the ground away from most of her family with a terrible storm going on around her and she was grateful.
Tom: Yes, but she had food, warmth, and loved ones with her. She was thankful for all the right reasons.
Lights fade. (If possible have the lights fade to a spotlight on the journal & play a song of thanksgiving.)
Copyright John & Joanne Miller, all rights reserved.
This script may be performed free of charge, provided no charge is made for entrance or for programmes. In return, the
authors would like to be notified of any performance. For further information regarding performance rights, they may be
contacted at: NIJWMiller@aol.com.