By San Antonio Rose
Come, ye thankful people, come!
Raise the song of Harvest Home!
All is safely gathered in,
Ere the winter storms begin.
The One, our Maker, doth provide
All our wants to be supplied.
Come to bring Him praises, come!
Raise the glorious Harvest Home!
Eruhantalë, they had called it in Númenor, the great Thanksgiving to
Eru. Leastways, that’s what Strider had said. The Shire had no mountain hallow
where such events could take place; instead, they called it Harvest Home and
celebrated with a family feast. But that didn’t mean hobbits couldn’t give
thanks to the One just as well as the Sea-kings could. And this year, Sam
thought as he surveyed the crowd gathered around the Cottons’ massive table,
everyone had reason to be thankful.
At Merry and Pippin’s insistence, the meal began with the Standing Silence. Then, after everyone had been served from the brim-full dishes that covered the table and sideboard, Sam spoke up, making sure even the Gaffer could hear him clearly:
“Let’s all share something we’re thankful for!”
Everyone looked at him until Frodo replied, “Yes, Sam. That’s a good idea. This is the time of giving thanks, and we ought all to be grateful for what we have received.”
“I’ll start, then,” said Farmer Cotton. “I’m thankful for this amazing, bountiful harvest.”
“I’m thankful there are no ruffians coming to take it from us,” Mrs. Cotton added.
“I’m thankful for this family,” said Tom.
“I’m thankful for the freedom to eat in peace and share a pipe and ale with friends at an inn,” said Jolly.
“I’m thankful the War’s over,” said Nibs.
“I’m thankful to be married to one of the finest, bravest hobbits in all the Shire,” Rose said, taking Sam’s hand.
“And I to be wed to the fairest, bravest maid in Bywater,” Sam replied, beaming at her. “And for the bairn who will make us truly a family.”
“I’m thankful to have Mr. Baggins and my Sam back safe, and a new dry hole and lots of room for my garden,” said the Gaffer.
“Oh, I’m thankful for so much, I don’t know where to start,” said Marigold with a glance at Tom.
“Then I’ll take your turn and say more,” Sam laughed. “I’m thankful for Mr. Frodo and all he’s done, and for him letting Rosie and me live in Bag End. I’m thankful for the Lady’s gift that’s done so much to help the Shire heal. I’m ever so glad to be home again. And I’m thankful for good friends and fair free folk who’ll not have to fear the Dark Lord anymore.”
“I’m thankful for the best friends a hobbit could have,” continued Pippin, “and a good and wise king on the throne at last, and the chance to know and love and serve him.”
“I’m thankful for a lass who understands,” said Merry, who had been pining for Estella most of the day. “And for Ents and for the good people of Rohan, especially Éomer King and the Lady Éowyn.”
There was a pause.
“Mr. Frodo?” Sam prompted gently.
Frodo, whose turn it was to speak, had been lost in thought and fingering the white jewel from Arwen, and he drew in a sudden breath and looked back at Sam. “I am thankful for light and clean water, for fresh air and good food, and the good earth of the Shire. I am thankful for beloved friends and family, some of whom I would never have expected to know. I am thankful for help unlooked-for in the darkest hours. I am thankful for high beauty and the loveliness of simple things. And I am thankful…” He took hold of the pendant again. “I am thankful that I can still give thanks.”
Merry, Pippin, Sam, and Rosie matched his bittersweet smile.
“We are blessed indeed,” Farmer Cotton said by way of a closing.
“Now, let’s EAT!” cried Nibs.
But Sam noticed that the Travelers ate more slowly than the others, savoring every bite, and Frodo especially seemed to linger over every taste. And in that, he realized, they were giving thanks in their own way. Sam remembered vividly how delicious the clear water of Ithilien tasted after he’d been thirsty for so long, never mind the mind-boggling proportions of the feast at Cormallen after weeks of naught but lembas.
He hoped with all his being that he would not take such things for granted ever again.