|Boon Island Lighthouse, ME, photo courtesy lighthousefriends.com|
By Marilyn Turk
Thanksgiving is here, and cooks are preparing and planning their family feasts. Most of us gorge ourselves on a variety of favorite dishes served for that special meal. Advertisements featuring platters of golden turkeys surrounded by festive fall decorations have challenged many of us to recreate such delightful settings on our own tables as family and friends gather around in appreciation. But sometimes, Thanksgiving meals are hard to come by. Here’s a story about one such time.
On Thanksgiving Eve, 1888, three lighthouse keepers were marooned at the Boon Island Lighthouse six miles off the coast of Maine. A winter storm raged for three days while Head Keeper William C. Williams and his two assistants stayed in the tower, forced to stay in the top part of the structure while the gale assaulted the remote island.
The135-foot lighthouse shook each time it was pummeled by wind gusts and crashing waves. Meanwhile, the keepers wondered if the storm would ever end, if the tower would stand firm, and if they would survive.
|Boon Island Lighthouse, ME, photo National Archives|
Thanksgiving looked bleak and lonely. With their families back on the mainland, there would be no annual celebration or bountiful Thanksgiving feast. Stranded on the island, the keepers watched their provisions diminish, unable to leave to go buy more. There’d be no turkey, just boiled potatoes and bread . . . again.
A sudden, thunderous noise resounded throughout the tower as an object crashed into the lighthouse. Was it another boulder, loosened by the raging storm? Hoping the lantern windows had not been broken, Keeper Williams went up to check.
There, lying on the galley surrounding the lantern room, were eight black ducks, dead from striking the glass.
The next day, as calm returned to the sea, the three lighthouse keepers sat down for Thanksgiving dinner and gave thanks for keeping them safe through the storm and for the duck dinner God had supplied.
As you look forward to your own Thanksgiving meal this year, remember those who are not as blessed, and perhaps even invite someone who doesn’t have such bounty to share your meal.
May God richly bless you this Thanksgiving.
Marilyn Turk loves to study history, especially that of lighthouses and the coast of the United States. She is the author of Rebel Light, a Civil War love story, A Gilded Curse, a historical suspense novel set in 1942, and Lighthouse Devotions - 52 Inspiring Lighthouse Stories, based on her popular lighthouse blog. (@ http://pathwayheart.com)
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|Painting by Norman Rockwell|