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Today is September 20, 2018


Thanksgiving feast the old way

Thanksgiving feast the old way

At home in their camp are Destin, Deaven, Flint and Alayna Grappin. A bountiful and colorful table of traditional foods cover the table. Note the Dutch oven filled with roasted peanuts. Photos: Tony Kinton

Thanksgiving is not far away. A grand time of feasting and celebration will be the norm. Soft recliners and sofas await guests for the afternoon game—that game on the TV of course!

Imagining a time and place and setting much different than what was just described is difficult. But it was different at one time in history. Feasting and celebrating were common throughout the history of this day, as they now are, but menus and after-meal entertainment not so much. Settings, too, were different. Outside for the most part back then.

In an effort to recreate the spirit of early Thanksgivings and to replicate the goings on of such times, the Grappin family of Leake County began a new tradition a few years back. They elected to live the week of this holiday in canvas tents, cook over open fires and in Dutch ovens and collect foods for the big day’s feast that would have been common to those early times, say the 1700s. Amy Grappin did a great deal of research to determine the appropriate foods, and her table from last year was wonderfully colorful and bountifully supplied.

The Grappins—Michael, Amy, Deaven, Destin, Alayna and Flint—are intriguing. They are a close family that spends the bulk of their time together, and though modern in most aspects of life, they frequently abandon the new and gravitate toward antiquity.

The bulk of their food supply comes from the woods and streams or from their garden, and each family member contributes in some form to this acquisition.

Professionally, Michael owns Grappin Construction. Amy, trained as a nurse, is a stay-at-home mom and teacher for the children.

With their interest in learning about and practicing trades of days past, Deaven and Destin, the two oldest of the children, have learned blacksmithing and bow building. A portion of the entertainment during the afternoon of last year’s Thanksgiving was watching these two young men fire up the forge and begin hammering out a variety of handmade items. Much unlike watching football, it was. Alayna sang an old hymn; her rich and powerful voice, always perfectly on pitch, belied her age.

Plans for this year’s Grappin Family Thanksgiving are solid; they intend to continue—in 18th century form—celebrating this way. Always gracious and eager to share, they welcome visitors to this micro version of the earliest Thanksgivings. It is a peek into living history. Give Michael a call for additional information at 601-559-7352.

Tony Kinton has been an active outdoors writer for 30 years. His newest book is “Rambling Through Pleasant Memories.” Order from or Kinton’s website:

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