Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Thanksgiving Memories

Thanksgiving Memories

By: Ardis E. Parshall - November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Memories

By Mrs. Parley Nelson

Thanksgiving time! Again I live
Thanksgivings long since fled!
When you were just a little tad,
With ringlets round your head.
Again I see your childish form
As kneeling by my chair,
With folded hands, you softly lisped
A child’s Thanksgiving prayer:

“I thank thee, Lord, for mama dear,
And for my daddy, too,
I’m thankful that I have a home
And for my sister Lou.
I’m thankful for my nice new skates
And for my rubber boots,
I’m thankful for my jack knife and
My real air gun what shoots,
For these and other blessings, Lord,
I’m thankful as can be,
And as I lay me down to sleep
Please, Lord, take care of me.”

The busy years slipped quickly by,
You grew to man’s estate,
Your country called and you went forth
To meet a soldier’s fate.
And now you sleep in Flanders’ field,
Where countless flowers grow,
With valiant comrades lying near,
‘Neath crosses row on row.
You gave your life in freedom’s cause,
And though my tears still fall,
I’m thankful that you stood for right,
I’m glad you heard the call.
I lift my heart in thanks to God
Who sent a son so true;
And though in foreign land you sleep,
I know He cares for you.




  1. Mrs. Parley Nelson? What a peculiar convention that was, to list a woman by her husband’s name.

    New Family Search says that’s Sarah Ahlstrom Nelson, and the Mormon Literature Database confirms that.

    She doesn’t seem to have lost any children in the war, and neither did any of her siblings or in-laws (if New Family Search can be believed), confirming what I read as a slightly academic flavor to this poem, rather than addressing personal experience.

    Comment by Researcher — November 22, 2011 @ 1:20 pm

  2. Not to pile on Mrs. Parley Nelson, but two other things:

    The reference to Flanders fields borrows a bit heavily from John McCrae’s famous poem–maybe she should have footnoted it:

    In Flanders fields the poppies blow
    Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark our place; . . .

    And for an American, Flanders is probably the wrong place–not that there’s a “right” place to die in a senseless war–but very few Americans fought (or died) alongside the British in Flanders. Most were down with the French in Champagne.

    However, there is an American military cemetery in Flanders, which covers six acres and includes 368 graves (two of the men buried there are from Utah and four from Idaho–so, maybe Mrs. Nelson knew one of them). By contrast, the Meuse-Argonne American cemetery, near the site of the heaviest fighting by U.S. troops, covers 130 acres and has 14,246 graves.

    Comment by Mark B. — November 22, 2011 @ 2:07 pm

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