Giving at Thanksgiving
I don’t usually write personal stories for this blog, but I hope this is an appropriate Thanksgiving story.
Due to the fear of spreading Covid-19, none of my relatives wanted to get together this year for Thanksgiving. They were following our governor’s mandates to not gather this year. My wife and I do not share these concerns. We understand that we have a 99.98% chance of surviving Covid and our kids have a 99.99% survival rate (per the CDC). So, this year we were invited to a close family friend’s house some 17 hours from home. Not one to stay home, we graciously accepted and made the trek. My wife, four daughters and myself loaded up the mini-van and drove south for the week.
It was fun. It was relaxing. Warm weather. A little golf. Great company too. No family drama, no weird uncles, no awkward conversations. It was also the first time in 15 years that my wife didn’t have to prepare the Thanksgiving dinner. It was a nice change of pace. On Wednesday, the host family that we stayed with declared, “On Thanksgiving morning, we will be delivering meals to needy families via the First Baptist Church.” Who were we to argue, right?
When we arrived at the church at 8:15 on Thanksgiving morning, our host politely told the volunteer at the table, “We want the route that goes far out in the county, so that we can show our guests the beauty of our community.” The volunteer lady smiled and said, “Oh, we have the perfect route for you. Are you okay with delivering 53 dinners?” I wanted to interject, “Now, hold the phone here, Jimmy!…No one said anything about wanting to see this barren-land,” but I just smiled and nodded my head in agreement. As our host happily accepted this offer, I knew the next four hours of our collective lives were spoken for. Like it or not, we were going to drive from one end of the county to the other.
That morning we preceded to drive some 150 miles, crisscrossing the land. We got lost at least twice. On one occasion, we had to move downed-trees in the middle of the road just to get through. We even saw an armadillo (a first for all) on the side of this barren country road in the middle of nowheresville. We visited family after family. In the van, we started to bicker about routes. Patience were tested. Nothing was open, so we (okay “I”) could not get water, coffee or pop (northern term).
And yet, at each house that we arrived, we were greeted with warm smiles and we were parted with hearty “thank you’s” from each family member. We quickly began to realize that if we did not deliver those meals, these needy families would not have a Thanksgiving meal. At each house, my kids got out of the car, smiled and said, “Happy Thanksgiving.” In many ways, my kids learned how fortunate they were to be on the giving end that day. They were also reminded of what it feels like to lend a helping hand. It’s not glamorous work and there is no public recognition. It’s just an inner-satisfaction of helping your fellow human whenever you can. It truly was a great way to spend Thanksgiving. There were over 500 meals delivered that day by that one church, and I am pleased to know that I helped deliver 53 of those dinners.
I truly hope you and your family had a great Thanksgiving Day. I also hope that you will someday sacrifice some of your time and/or money to help others who truly need it.
Your Turn: When you sat down for Thanksgiving Dinner, what were you truly thankful for this year?