The first time I ever spent Thanksgiving by myself, I was working at the Foley House Inn on Chippewa Square in 1997. I’d had to walk away from my first job the year before at another bed and breakfast because my parents told me I was coming home for the holidays. I stressed the fact that I needed to keep this job and am still surprised that I won that battle.
After making the stand, I still ended up crying my way through the shift. I’ll never forget my manager was a really great chef and ended up bringing in a plate of food for me to have for dinner, including ribs. One of my mother’s friends was home visiting family in South Carolina and drove me into town to drop off a plate and to check on me to make sure I was OK.
So to be honest, I’ve never really spent it alone.
I spent yesterday reflecting on all of the years since then, recalling the folks who’d come over, those who’d invited me into their homes and just what I had to be thankful for for these past thirteen years. There were phone calls from Tybee Island home to family and friends; lots of fried turkey; learning how to cook certain types of food and all the different ways you learn how to walk it off so you can fit in some dessert. I’ve already shared a couple of those stories before.
We aren’t supposed to live in the past, but we can reach back into it to remember the blessings we’ve received and the way it felt to be surrounded by those we love and who love us to help us get through tough times.
Yesterday Bets and I got to sit at home with the cats and remember that we’ve still got a roof over our heads, access to food to eat and a family that reaches farther than either of us ever imagined. Plus, Bets made an apple pie.
You realize that being first or working until you can barely keep your head up isn’t as important as simply finding time to enjoy life and those that help make it worth while.
It’s a shame that many people seem to skip by the message or at least only acknowledge it a couple of times a year only to return to the same old habits after a while.
It’s a wonderful life indeed, now to enjoy it and remember that we should be giving thanks everyday instead of only once a year. That would be a great gift to mankind.
Enjoy the day!
Photo: Thanksgiving dinner 2010. acnatta/Flickr.