The Friday before Thanksgiving my friend’s daughter and granddaughter moved back in with her after having moved out several months earlier. The daughter was concerned that the place they had been sharing with her friend and her two sons had such bad wiring that it was dangerous.
Oh, sure. Right. As if. My friend was not thrilled and assumed this was just another excuse to avoid responsibility.
That very night the house in which they had been living burned! The friend and her two sons got out safely, although one of their dogs didn’t. But they’ve lost pretty much everything they owned except for the clothes they stood up in. The keepsakes and photos have been lost, but the good memories they represent have not.
Every one has rallied round to salvage what could be salvaged and replace what couldn’t. Parents found school uniforms their daughters had outgrown, so the granddaughter wouldn’t have to go back to school looking different. We all know how hard that is for a kid.
Talk about a memorable Thanksgiving celebration!
This year I decided that it really didn’t matter that I didn’t get the silver polished, and that we ate off placemats rather than the white linen cloth I have to iron every year. The food was good, the company was excellent, and we had much to give thanks for.
What matters in the end is love. In my family we always hold hands around the table while someone blesses the food. My mother always included thanks that “we made it one more year.” I do the same. This year we had a couple of close calls.
Last week was my husband’s birthday—two days after Thanksgiving. Several times last year I worried that he wouldn’t be around for it. His presence at the table was reason enough for my thanks. I don’t have much actual family left, but I do have chosen family, the dear friends that I have managed to accumulate over the years and who are as dear to me as any blood kin could ever be.
I am hopelessly old fashioned, but even if the men in the family spend most of Thanksgiving afternoon snoring in front of the television set while the women cook and serve and clean (and gossip) in the kitchen, to my mind that’s better than standing in endless lines in front of some big box store in the freezing cold in hopes of scoring a deal on a big screen television.
These days we see so little of one another because of jobs and school and scouts and soccer and baseball and football and ballet and Zumba classes. We seldom sit down together over a meal. When I was a child (in the Pleistocene era) we ate every night at the dining room table together. Roget’s Thesaurus and the Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary lived on stands in the corner of the room to settle the arguments we got into.
So here’s to Thanksgiving. There have been years when I ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich alone and thousands of miles from home. Yet I felt the love across the miles.
Who cares about silver polish?