Editorial: Here’s a toast to Aiken’s Thanksgiving traditions

November 23, 2018

Here’s to Thanksgiving, just one more day of the year when Aiken proves that the city truly is the Best Small Town in the South – maybe even the country.

In Aiken, Thanksgiving means traditions, and traditions bring people together to celebrate with family and friends.

As they have for more than a century, hundreds of Aiken residents will hike into Hitchcock Woods for the Blessing of the Hounds, one of the city’s oldest and most-loved traditions.

The short service marks the opening of the Aiken Hounds’ season as a local clergyman or woman blesses the riders and the dogs and prays for a safe hunt down wooded trails and over fences.

The riders in their green coats and their horses make pretty picture and a great photo and video opportunity with the early morning light filtering through the towering longleaf pines.

The uphill walk out of the Woods is a great way to work up an appetite for one of Aiken’s newer Thanksgiving traditions – One Table.

A citywide, communal dinner in The Alley, One Table is what Thanksgiving is all about – people coming together to share thanks and a meal.

And what a meal, or more accurately, what a feast. Turkey and traditional Southern dressing, macaroni and cheese, rice, green beans, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cakes and pies will be on the menu – and it’s all free, thanks to churches, civic groups and individuals.

Volunteers start serving at 11 a.m.

Being the best – and having the best traditions - deserves a toast, and Maureen Woltermann and The Aiken Poets offer this one for the best Thanksgiving ever:

Some friendships bubble and sparkle

Like champagne on a wedding day;

Others are quiet and subtle

Like a glass of fine Chardonnay;

Some friendships take off like fireworks

Fast and flashy and bold.

Others come slower in life

And glisten like burnished gold;

So, in our circle of friends

Gathered around us today

Are wishes that shout and whisper

And some that just want to say,

“Happy Thanksgiving, dear friends!”

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