Thanksgiving Is Any Day

Thanksgiving Dinner—I’m having mine today. It doesn’t matter to me anymore, not celebrating holidays on the designated days. So, today after my fitness class at 8 am, I returned home, rolled up my sleeves, and began the festive dinner preparations. First, the pies. My will join me and has requested two: pumpkin and cherry. I cheat. I buy the frozen pie crusts and the two cans of pie filling. It couldn’t be much simpler and the aroma from the oven is intoxicating. For lunch today I had a piece of both topped off with whipped cream. Guilt-free, I spooned every morsel into my mouth.

As I was chopping celery to add to the stuffing, my cell rang. It was my son. He’s full of life these days. He’s excited about his future and I continue my domestic chores with my cell tucked under my chin, saying: uh huh, really? that’s so great! tell me more! I could listen to his voice for hours. And then he told me he is proud of me and went on about something that I couldn’t quite make out. I asked him to repeat three times before I got it.

“I’m so proud of you, mom. I remember you all those years writing in a ringed notebook. And all your hard work over the years, writing stories. How much you love doing it. And now you belong to this cool writing group and you guys have published a book of all your stories. I’m so proud to tell people you’re a writer!”

This unexpected praise caused me to pause.

I could barely make out the words, “—thanks, honey.”

We talked on for another fifteen minutes and then I had to tell him I needed both hands to stuff the bird. He and his girlfriend would be arriving in four or five hours. I had plenty to do until then. I stuffed the bird and seasoned and foil wrapped it tightly before putting it into the oven.

I went down to get the mail. There was a memorial card from my hometown. I’d been expecting this. My dearest childhood friend died a week ago. Shocking and unexpected. I opened it right there in the mail room. The first line read:

Miss Me-But Let Me Go

Her niece, whom I’ve never met, wrote the following:

Here’s our angel. Take care, Adrienne, Linda always loved you.

I opened the card and there she was smiling that smile of hers. I could hear her laughter, infectious and straight from the belly.  No one can replace her and it does feel like a part of me is missing and maybe I’ll always feel that way. I put the card on my dresser and maybe one day it will go into the cedar box where I’ve put my parents. For now, I can’t let her go just yet.

I returned to my kitchen filled with the aromas of Thanksgiving – oregano, basil, rosemary and thyme. Onions and celery sauteed in butter.  The smell of cranberries simmering on the stove. Cherry and pumpkin pies cooled on the counter top.  Outside the leaves are just beginning their turn to crimson, orange and yellow. It’s chilly enough that I put the fire on and sat next to it.

There is so much to be thankful for and Thanksgiving is a day to take some time and count all the blessings that we have in our lives. For those of us who have lost someone we love, the blessing is that we knew them at all.

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