CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith and Life for the Years of Winter…
This is the first Thanksgiving Day [TD] that Helen and I have spent alone in 59 years of marriage. We are thankful for that, both to spend the day alone, together, and for all those TDs we spent with family and friends.
Until our daughters were grown, of course, TD was at our house-often with my parents and my brother and his wife-or at one of the grandparent houses. After they married, Katie and her family have always gone to her husband’s family on TD, and since we always lived where they lived, once grandchildren were available, nobody was home for TD with us, so we usually spent TD with older daughter, Mary Beth, either at our house or hers, in Chicago, usually in the company of her friends.
Sometimes, though, MB would be at the Cleveland home of old friend Chris Rander, who is a marvelous TD cook and often came to Chicago to cook TD dinner for her and us. On her Cleveland TDs we would work community Thanksgiving meals for the hungry and homeless, usually delivering meals to shut-ins, because we were good at finding obscure places. Now anybody can find an obscure place, because of the GPS voice in the dashboard, but navigation was a skill then.
We weren’t alone, together, on those community meal TDs. We were in the midst of a bustling bunch of do-gooders, with whom we would finally sit down in a church basement or hospital cafeteria and eat the food we had not delivered or served up earlier. Helen would talk recipes with the women. I would talk football with the teen-age boys.
When I was a student at Perkins School of Theology at SMU, it was too far to go home for TD, so we hosted the other misplaced students from IN, and their children, at Rankin, the community center that we directed, in a Dallas barrio. Merle and Judy Lehman and little daughter, Debbie, Jack and Cora Divine, Doug and Helen Gatton, Bob Parsons. We were a long way from home, but we were not alone.
All those were good TDs, days for which to be thankful, to be with family or friends. This is a different sort of day. No bustling, because Helen has done most of the cooking ahead of time. No little dog to sit patiently for hours in the middle of the kitchen, watching through the oven’s steamy glass window as the turkey cooks. No one with whom to bend over the new jigsaw puzzle-one of our TD traditions-until we can’t straighten up. No grandchildren with red cheeks and happy faces.
A different sort of day, for which I am thankful.
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