MELVIN’ S MONTHLY MOMENTS
THE BLESSING OF THE HOUNDS
Our Upchurch Family Tradition
Like most families, mine has lots of holiday traditions. We put the Christmas tree in the same spot every year, tear open presents on Christmas Day, shoot off fireworks on the Fourth, and so on. But one of our most cherished traditions is how we celebrate Thanksgiving. Jill’s dad and sister both live in the Southern Pines area of North Carolina. They each own horse farms in an area known for two things: horses and golf. The historic Pinehurst Country Club is known for hosting three U.S. Opens, and a fourth one is scheduled for 2024. We spend every Thanksgiving in this unique part of our country in a community filled with tradition. The whole family arrives in Pinehurst sometime on Wednesday, and that night, we go out for dinner at one of the charming local restaurants. On a typically chilly Thanksgiving morning, we go to The Blessing of the Hounds! “The idea of the blessing dates back to the early medieval days when hunters believed that St. Hubert of Liege, the patron saint of hunters, could protect their hounds and keep them safe during the hunt.” “The Blessing of the Hounds on Thanksgiving morning is an annual tradition that has taken place in Southern Pines for more than 100 years. This is the opening meet of the Moore County Hounds, the oldest fox hunting club in North Carolina. “Riders who are members of the Moore County Hounds will come dressed in formal hunting attire which includes the signature red hunting jackets called ‘pinks,’ white pants, leather riding boots, and hunt caps. Other visiting riders may participate by invitation only. Before the releasing of the hounds for the mock fox hunt, the riders and hounds gather to receive a blessing from a local Episcopal Below is a summary of this special event from MooreAlive.com.
priest. The idea of the blessing dates back to the early
medieval days when hunters believed that St. Hubert of Liege, the patron saint of hunters, could protect their
hounds and keep them safe during the hunt. The hunt takes place on over
4,000 acres owned by the Walthour-Moss Foundation. The Blessing of the Hounds has become a big tailgating event for the thousands of spectators who come to watch the pageantry of this tradition.”
After the hunt, we spend the afternoon playing or watching football and end our day with a buffet dinner at the Pinehurst Country Club. For the rest of the weekend, we enjoy shopping in the quaint little town of Southern Pines. The downtown area is very similar to Homewood: family-owned businesses, a toy store with Santa, coffee and pastry shops, and all kinds of other hidden gems. The golfers among us have their pick of over 40 golf courses in the area. This includes the most famous one of all, Pinehurst No. 2. Jill and I were married in Pinehurst. At the time, we were members of Pinehurst Country Club and had our rehearsal dinner overlooking this historic course. Our Thanksgivings hold many special memories, as I am sure yours do. Our family wishes yours a blessed and happy Thanksgiving!
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YOUR VOTE MATTERS AND, SOMEDAY, YOUR KID’S WILL TOO!
Teach a Lesson About Voting This Election Day!
ENGAGE YOUR KIDS ON THANKSGIVING With These Gratitude-Themed Games
The 2020 presidential election is heating up, but Election Day 2019 still requires citizens’ voices to decide the fate of their cities, counties, states, and judgeships. As the U.S. enjoys a relatively quiet election day on Tuesday, Nov. 5, use the opportunity to teach your children about their civic duty and the power of voting. For the Young Kiddos There’s no reason why children can’t be involved in local elections. Let your kids tag along to the voting area, and ask for help from city workers and local representatives to answer your kids’ questions. You can even set up your own family election by holding a vote over what to have for dinner or where the next family vacation should be located. If you’re looking for bedtime books to feed their curiosity, try out fun reads like “O, Say Can You See? America’s Symbols, Landmarks, and Inspiring Words” by Sheila Keenan. Various websites, like KidsVotingUSA.org, also have ample resources for educators and families.
Thanksgiving is an excellent time to teach children about gratefulness. By planning some fun, gratitude-themed games, you can impart a valuable lesson and spend some quality family time together. Get your kids in the holiday spirit by adding a Thanksgiving twist to these classic games.
Want to bring out your kids’ creative sides? Pictionary is the perfect way to encourage artistic expression and grateful thinking. Try adding a rule where players have to draw something they’re grateful for. This will get your kids thinking beyond turkey and stuffing and give them an imaginative way to express their gratitude. Plus, who doesn’t love a good art contest?
Turning 18 comes with the newfound responsibility of voting for our country’s leaders, and, for new voters, the system, ballots, and restrictions can be confusing. Start by walking your teen through the registration process, which can be done in person at your
municipality’s office or online at USA.gov or Vote.org. Next, talk with your teen about what’s at stake in the upcoming election. Be careful not to seed your
To play gratitude-themed Guess Who?, have each participant write down their name and something they’re thankful for on a slip of paper and put it in a bowl. Then, at the dinner table, have each person draw a random slip and read what it says without saying the name while everyone else tries to guess who wrote it. While Pictionary may get your kids talking about what they are thankful for, Guess Who? will tune them into what others around them are thankful for too. Like regular pick-up sticks, the goal is to remove a stick from a haphazard pile without disturbing the others. However, by using colored sticks that represent different kinds of thankfulness — such as places, people, or food — you can make players think outside the box. This will ensure you get a wide range of creative, thoughtful answers whenever the kids pick up a stick. These modified games are great for helping your kids realize how much they have to be thankful for. Use these to spend some fun, educational, quality time with your family this Thanksgiving. Pick-Up Sticks
language with opinions so your teen can develop their own view. Direct them to resources like
Ballotpedia.org, where they can find information, practice voting, and see local sample ballots. And, of course, when Election Day rolls around, celebrate their first vote!
Don’t Forget About You! Voting is a right and privilege that comes with U.S. citizenship. Don’t miss your opportunity to have your voice heard. Learn more about your local election by visiting Ballotpedia.org or contacting your municipality, and be sure to register to vote if you haven’t already.
Remember, your kids learn by watching what you do, not just by listening to what you say. Inspire them to get involved and, when the time comes, exercise their right to vote!
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THE GREATEST AMERICAN WAR HORSE The Legend of Sergeant Reckless Animals have acted as companions to humankind for thousands of years. They’re a near-constant source of companionship, comfort, and aid. Unfortunately, military animals don’t often get the recognition they deserve. One horse, in particular, was essential to the success of her regiment during the Korean War. Meet Sergeant Reckless. Bought for $250 in 1952 by a U.S. Marine Corps lieutenant at a Seoul racetrack, Sergeant Reckless was trained to carry ammunition for the 5th Marine Regiment. Her name was a play on the “recoilless” rifle ammunition she carried and a nod to the daredevil attitude of the soldiers who used them. Reckless was pivotal for her regiment in more ways than one. As Robin Hutton notes in her book “Sgt. Reckless: America’s War Horse,”“Because horses are ‘herd’ animals, the Marines became her herd. She bonded so deeply with them that Reckless would go anywhere and do anything to help her adopted family.” Sergeant Reckless’ greatest achievement occurred during the final stages of the Battle for Outpost Vegas. During the bloody five-day campaign, Reckless made 51 trips to resupply guns over the course of a single day. By the end of the battle, she had carried 386 rounds of ammunition by walking 35 miles through
rice paddies and mountain trails.
After dropping off the ammunition, Reckless would then bring wounded soldiers back to safety. Reckless was trained to lie down when under fire and avoid barbed wire, and her ability to do so without needing human command saved many lives during the battle. Reckless would close out her war career with two Purple Hearts and the rank of staff sergeant. She spent the rest of her years at Camp Pendleton in California. To learn more about this legendary mare, be sure to check out “Sgt. Reckless: America’s War Horse” by Robin Hutton.
THE BEST LEFTOVER TURKEY SANDWICH
TAKE A BREAK
Inspired by FoodNetwork.com
2 slices sourdough bread
1/3 cup leftover dressing or stuffing
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp leftover gravy
2 slices Swiss cheese
• 1 tbsp butter, room temperature Note: Don’t worry if you don’t have all the leftovers required.
1/3 cup shredded leftover turkey
3 tbsp leftover cranberry sauce
1. Coat inside of each bread slice with mustard and a slice of cheese. Place turkey and cranberry sauce on one slice and dressing and gravy on the other. 2. Combine sandwich and spread butter on both sides. 3. In a panini maker or large skillet, grill until crispy and golden brown. 4. Slice and serve.
Solution on Page 4
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Our Upchurch Family Tradition
Gratitude-Themed Games for Kids Teaching Kids the Power of Voting
The Legend of Sergeant Reckless The Best Leftover Turkey Sandwich
Adventure Like a Scandinavian
THERE’S ‘SNOW’ PLACE LIKE SCANDINAVIA Embrace Winter Like a Pro
Scandinavian countries like Sweden and Denmark have long topped lists of the world’s happiest people. This may seem
anymore, give Nordic skiing a try. It’s less stressful on your body but still a challenging, fun way to enjoy a beautiful day outside.
Dress for Warmth There’s no such thing as bad weather, only poor gear. The Fins embrace this mentality wholeheartedly by trekking in subzero temperatures. The key is proper layering. Start with warm base layers that retain heat while allowing air to circulate. Skintight spandex isn’t very effective, so try thermal underwear or wool instead. On top of your base layer, add fleece and then down. If you’ll be somewhere with a lot of moisture, make sure your down is synthetic and waterproof. Your extremities get cold the quickest, so keep them warm with a buff, cozy gloves, hats, and wool socks, layered as needed. OneWord: Sauna Just because it’s cold out doesn’t mean you need to be too. A day on the slopes would not be complete without a sauna. In Finland, Sweden, and other Nordic countries, taking a sauna is considered a daily ritual for its purported health-boosting and mood-boosting benefits. Age and Ageing health journal has found evidence linking sauna use to a lowered risk for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
strange considering these countries can spend half the year in darkness; dusk sets in around 2 p.m. for some Nordic cities in the wintertime. The Scandinavians’ positive outlook on winter likely contributes to their happy demeanors year-round. Instead of looking at the winter months as something to endure, these folks embrace the season and find ways to enjoy it. Here are a couple ways to emulate their attitude.
Try Nordic Skiing If you’re a seasonal runner but it’s too cold to enjoy your go-to activity this winter, it’s time to
diversify. Skiing isn’t the only wintertime option, either. There’s ice skating, ice climbing, and snowshoeing, to name a few. If your knees can’t take downhill skiing or snowboarding
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