Our Echo
Title, story type, location, year, person or writer
 
Add a Post
View Posts
Popular Posts
Hall of Fame
Projects
Visitors
Contests
Search

There is a Thankgiving

Story ID:4556
Written by:Michael Timothy Smith (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Story
Writers Conference:My Favorite Holiday Story
Location:Caldwell Idaho USA
Year:2008
Person:Me
View Comments (11)   |   Add a Comment Add a Comment   |   Print Print   |     |   Visitors
There is a Thanksgiving

“Mike, we’ve been invited to Nathan’s
parent’s home for Thanksgiving.” Ginny looked at
me. “Do you want to go?” Nathan is my
stepdaughter’s husband. His parents live five
hours north of us, across the Idaho border in the
state of Washington.

I saw my long weekend spiral away from
me. I had plans to relax and watch
football. I thought of past Thanksgivings and
remembered my dad drinking, family
arguments, and few friends sharing the holiday.

There were few good times. For a couple
of years, my best friend, Jack, joined us.
He’d lost his wife and was alone. I invited him
for dinner. Georgia and our children loved
him. We ate well and laughed often.

We moved. Georgia and our two children
were alone. We had a nice dinner, but
Thanksgiving was just a day off. It wasn’t
special – just another dinner.

Georgia passed away. My daughter lived in
another city. My son and I celebrated
Thanksgiving alone. I cooked a turkey dinner. He
took his plate to his room. I ate in front of the
television.

Ginny became my wife. The first year of
our marriage, her daughter and children were with
us for Thanksgiving. Another year, my daughter
and Ginny’s son joined us. They were good times,
because we were home. I was in my own environment
and where I was comfortable.

I didn’t want to take a five hour trip to
Washington State. I wanted to be home.

“Well?” Ginny looked at me. “Do you want
to go? It will be a beautiful drive through the
mountains.”

She hit my soft spot. I love mountains.
“You’re right, Hun.” I gave in. “I bet it will be
a beautiful drive. Let’s go. It will be fun.” I paused. “Do they watch football?”

“They love football. You know Nathan!
He’s a sports fanatic. You’ll get all the
football you want.”

“Now you’re talking.”

Ginny called her daughter and told them
we were coming. A few minutes later, Nathan
called me to say he was so happy I decided to
join his family for the holiday. While I talked
to him, Ginny’s phone rang. It was Nathan’s
mother calling to tell her how excited she was to
have us as guests.

Apparently, a lot of things hinged on my
decision. If I didn’t go, then Ginny would stay
home with me. If Ginny stayed home, her daughter
would too, which meant Nathan would not be with
his family for Thanksgiving. I would have become
the man who ruined Thanksgiving.

On Thanksgiving Day, family arrived at
Nathan’s brother’s house. They filled the tables
with trays of food and snacks. The aroma of
turkey made everyone’s mouth water. Children ran
through the house – some laughed and some cried –
a normal family.

Ginny and I sat at different ends of the
children’s table. The noise in the room faded as
eighteen people settled into their chairs to give
thanks for the year’s blessing.

I looked around the room. The family ate,
smiled, and laughed. “So this is what a
Thanksgiving is supposed to be.” I thought to
myself. Ginny stared at me, smiled, and said, “I
love you!”

“I love you too!”

“More!” She laughed and returned to her
meal.

I had never experienced a Thanksgiving
like this.

The plates emptied. Our host yelled out.
“Ok! We’re going to go around the table. I want
everyone to say what we are thankful for.”

“You can’t say family. That’s too easy!
Try to think of something else.” Heather said.

One-by-one, they gave thanks for their
jobs, their spouses, their children, and for
being able to be together as one. The children
were thankful for the food, their school, or
their toys. The baby Elizabeth said, “Gubba,
gubba!” Then she screamed and clapped her hands.

They turned to me. I sat at the end of
the children’s table and was the last to give
thanks. This huge family stared at me. It was my
turn. I grabbed my napkin, wiped my mouth and
brushed the small tear that trickled down my
cheek.

“I know we’re not supposed to say we’re
thankful for family, but I’m going to. My family
is thousands of miles away on the east coast of
Canada. I haven’t seen them in more than six
years. You invited Ginny and me to join you for
Thanksgiving. You accepted us, allowed us to stay
in your home, and made us feel welcome.”

I continued with quivering voice. “I’m
thankful for family.”

I raised my glass and toasted them.
“Thank you! There really is a Thanksgiving!”


Michael T. Smith