November 19, 2012 – Five Kernels of Corn

The local Rotary Club at the Saginaw Valley celebrated Thanksgiving today.  On our table I saw these five kernels of corn with a handmade bookmark courtesy of our club’s patriarch, Jack.  I have never heard of the story of the five kernels before but as soon as I heard it, I knew that I must post it.  This is one of the most interesting Thanksgiving stories I have heard.  Here is the story I found scattered around the internet.  I couldn’t find a trustworthy account to prove or disprove this story, it is a very nice and heartwarming story nonetheless, just take it with a grain of salt.

“It was very cold for the Pilgrims that first winter in 1622. Food was in very short supply. To make matters worse, late in 1622 a ship bound for England held the various provisions that the Pilgrims desperately needed. But the captain of the ship cheated them. This ship did provide the early settlers with the items they would need to trade with the Indians for food. Even with the additional food secured from the Indians, their food supplies were still low and rations continued to be decreased.

At one point in 1623, rations were just five grains of corn each day. Somehow, these brave Pilgrims were surviving on just five kernels of corn a day. As spring came and the planting time for the corn crop there was hope for a bountiful harvest. Sadly, a severe drought struck the area and soon withered the corn crop.

This sounds very familiar to the predicament that many Greene County farmers faced this past growing season with record drought conditions gripping the growing season. The Pilgrims turned to God for help with what they had no control over. They conducted a prayer service to ask God for rain. The prayers were answered the next day as gentle soaking showers were received off and on for two weeks.

The corn soon revived and the crop was spared.

Later that same month another ship of colonists arrived with people and provisions. The harvest of 1623 was the best yet in Plymouth and gave hope that they would never face starvation again. As a reminder of their blessed harvest, every Thanksgiving thereafter, the Pilgrims placed five kernels of corn beside each plate as a remind to each of them of their blessings.

The first kernel was thanks for the Autumn beauty.
The second kernel was to give thanks for loving one another.
The third piece of corn was in thankfulness for their family.
The fourth was in thanks for friendship.
The fifth and final kernel was in gratitude for the freedom that they found in America.

This Thanksgiving, let us all remember the blessings of our own lives. Be thankful for the things that really matter. As you prepare for your Thanksgiving meal, take a few moments to separate five kernels of corn for each person at your table.

Count the kernels, count your real blessings.”

I copied this version from


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