Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Memories

When I was a child, one of the best Thanksgiving’s ever for me was the one I spent at the Salvation Army.

Yes, the Salvation Army. My parents decided one year instead of feeding our own faces we would help feed others. They signed up to participate in the Thanksgiving dinner offered to the homeless, the poor, and any others that could not manage to have a Thanksgiving dinner.

I knew from watching television that many places would do events such as these and you could see people standing in a line serving the community of people that would file past each one receiving a spoonful of this, a helping of that.

So when we got there I was excited to think this is what we would be doing. Instead, there were already too many volunteers there that had secured the front seat positions in serving. They had no interest in doing the cooking, the cleaning, busing the tables. And they were not shy about vocalizing that point. But my father said to the woman in charge “we’re here to work, just put us where you need us”. At first I was disappointed. I wanted to be one of those in the line serving people. You know, show up randomly on TV looking like a great humanitarian. But that wasn’t to be.

It didn’t take long for me to realize no matter what job they put me to do it was really a gift, a blessing. What I saw and experienced that day has not left me. I learned the beauty of helping others by stringing green beans by washing dishes, by mopping the floor and by taking out the trash.

Each person served there that day had a story to tell only not by voice but upon their faces. I was touched by each one and hoped in some small way the work we did there that day would bless them in the way I felt blessed.

As we finished up and the line of people slowed to a trickle, the woman in charge told us we were welcome to take plates for ourselves. As a kid, I didn’t have to be told twice, I hurried up and loaded up on each item and carefully wrapped my plate in Saran Wrap to take my treasure home with me.

Soon a new wave of people showed up, yes they were late to the party but it was obvious they were cold, and hungry. The workers had all taken plates and the line servers had left. There was very little food remaining. All but three of those people got served and the food ran out. My family and I each had a plate. My father didn’t hesitate to hand over his plate to the man, my mother gave hers to his son. Seeing this I looked at my prize I had so carefully collected and with a slight pang I handed over my plate to the woman with them. I’m not a good enough writer to describe the looks on their faces. The gratefulness in which they were so obviously filled with. I only know for certain, it did make a difference.

It was by far the best Thanksgiving I have ever had in my life. I am thankful for many things and I am blessed in many ways. Thank you mom and dad, you guys are the best examples of fine human beings and I love you both dearly.

In closing, it is my hope, my wish and my most sincere desire that you have all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your families today.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your wonderful story. You had great parents who obviously taught you all the really important things and loved you a lot. My Mom always said that when someone asks for help, you should give it because they who need our help are the angels and they give us the gift of charity and love of our fellow man.

Fricker Fraker said...

This describes you perfectly in everything you do. I have never met another person that has affected me in more positive ways than you have. If someone was to ask me to describe you, I would have to say…. Caring, Loving, Intelligent and the kindest woman I have ever met. (Which is good since you are the keeper of my heart.) On this day of thanks, I am most thankful for finding you and for the little moments that we share. Happy Thanksgiving mon Cherie :)(:

Tiffer GG said...

That was such a beautiful story. So many of us forget what Thanksgiving is about, and no longer bother to even think about being thankful for all their blessings. Your story made me stop and reflect on all I have to be thankful for. Thank you for sharing it!

Chalice Carling said...

Oh what a beautifully written story. Thank you so much for sharing it on the feed to remind us all that when you give you get it back ten-fold. We don't celebrate Thankesgiving in Australia and I wish we did because it seems like such a beautiful day. I really enjoyed reading it and was again reminded that there are some awesome people in this world, your family being no exception. Hope you had a lovely Thankesgiving day :-)