Looking back in the records for references to Thanksgiving has proven to be difficult. As commercialized as the holidays are today, one would think there would be a plethora of articles to aid in my research; but there is not! It seems that in the 1940’s through the 1960’s Buford operated much like many small cities in the South. Certain classes, or in our case entire grade levels within the school system, would perform Thanksgiving programs for the rest of the school and sometimes the community at large. An article in the December 14, 1948, The Green and White (BHS’s school newspaper) wrote about how we celebrated the holiday at school:
B. H. S. Graders Give Thanksgiving Skits
Thanksgiving was observed by the Buford students with two chapel programs. Miss Parham’s fourth-grade presented a program on November 24, and Miss McClain’s Junior Class gave a short skit on November 18.
The fourth-grade program opened with several members repeating the One Hundredth Psalm. Edna McLain gave the prayer. The class then presented a short skit about a boy who discovered what he has to be thankful for today.
A program was presented by Miss McClain’s junior class in chapel November 18. The program opened with a girl’s quintet which sang “The Lord is My Shepard.” Mira Ann Masters read the scripture, and Patsy Phillips gave the invocation. Kipling’s “Recessional” was read by Gay Hannah.
The history of Thanksgiving was explained, and several members of the class gave information as to how different peoples celebrate the holidays. Meanwhile, characters representing Greeks, Pilgrims, Jews, Indians, Old New Yorkers, and modern-day Americans took their places on the stage around a Thanksgiving altar.
But the most notable event surrounding Thanksgiving in Buford during this quaint period was the annual Community-Wide Thanksgiving Service, which was usually the morning of Thanksgiving. In the spirit of unity, one of the larger churches would host the service, while the preachers and representatives from the other churches would deliver the message and provide the back-office services to produce such an event. The accompanying newspaper caption reads as follows:
“The annual Community-Wide Thanksgiving Service will be held at 8 a.m. at the Buford Methodist Church on Thanksgiving morning. The Rev. Ira B. Faglier, pastor of the First Baptist Church, will bring the inspirational message, the subject being ‘Our Duty of Thanksgiving.’” Dr. Harry Hutchins will render special music. It is hoped that a large crowd will attend the special Thanksgiving service. A cordial welcome awaits everyone.” The Buford Advertiser, November 28, 1963
Growing up in Buford, people felt a true sense of community. These were simpler times, no doubt. Happy Thanksgiving.