Matters Of The Heart
Thanksgiving Then, Thanksgiving Now
by B. J. Robinson
The ten-foot wide trailer couldn’t hold all the dinner guests. The cramped kitchen held only a small table with four chairs. Unexpected guests arrived with the family. “I have plenty of food cooked, but you will have to find somewhere to sit,” I informed them.
By the time the turkey was served, the trailer was bursting with people trying to find plates and utensils for eating. Borrowed ones from my mother-in-law had to suffice. The guests had to take their plates and eat sitting outside on a small front porch. Thank God it was a mild November day in Louisiana.
I had only one more chair than Henry David Thoreau, who wrote in his book Walden that he had only three chairs. He said he had, “. . . one for solitude, two for friendship, and three for society.” If more people happened to visit Thoreau, he said that they had to stand. He thought many houses were, “. . . extravagantly large for their inhabitants.” Personally, I thought my trailer was extravagantly small for all the Thanksgiving dinner guests.
People sat on the hoods of cars parked in the drive and on the front steps of the tiny porch. I sat outside with them and enjoyed the beautiful sunny day the Lord had made and the delicious food. We all enjoyed the food and one another’s company. When the guests began to leave, they thanked me for a great home-cooked meal, not a lovely, impressive dinner. One man with twinkling blue eyes laughed, “It didn’t matter if the dinnerware didn’t match. We didn’t come here for you to impress us. We came for you to feed us.”
A lot has changed over the years. I no longer live in the ten-foot wide trailer or in the same state. I have lost family members over the years. My children are now all grown and have all made me a grandmother multiple times. My first husband, my mother, my father, and my baby sister all live in their heavenly home. Though some of the most loved people in my life are no longer here to share the holidays with me anymore, I still have a traditional turkey each Thanksgiving. We still celebrate Thanksgiving and thank God for our food. Though a lot has changed, some things never change. I thank God for the family who now shares my holidays.
One year, my youngest daughter visited with my grandson and granddaughter for Thanksgiving. She couldn’t get over how my husband drives in all the Florida traffic. My mother-in-law visits some Thanksgivings. She likes ham, so I cook a ham when she comes. One year I was blessed by a Thanksgiving visit from my youngest son, and we had a good laugh when the newly installed garbage disposal ate the eggs for the potato salad.
I have always enjoyed having guests for the holidays. However, for several years I didn’t cook my usual traditional Thanksgiving turkey. Instead, my husband fried the turkey. After my son fried one for us one Christmas, my husband bought a turkey fryer and experimented. Ever since he cooked his first fried turkey, he said we would not have another baked one. So, for several years, we didn’t. I was relieved of one of my Thanksgiving duties, and he cooked the turkey. Last year, he asked me to bake my usual traditional one, and I did. This year, he wants me to bake the turkey again. I guess he grew tired of those fried ones.
No matter how many more Thanksgivings the Lord blesses me with, I will always remember the special Thanksgiving in the tiny ten-foot wide by fifty-two foot long trailer and the Thanksgiving when the garbage disposal ate the eggs. We are a close-knit family group. Fancy plates and utensils do not matter, nor does a fancy setting. What made those holidays so special
had nothing to do with fancy materialistic things. The warmth and friendliness of our family and friends more than made up for whatever trivial items were lacking.
Times change, people change, places change, but the heart of the family and thanking God for His blessings and your family remain the same. I thank God for the Thanksgiving uninvited guests overfilled my tiny trailer and the one when the garbage disposal ate the eggs. These blessed Thanksgiving days will be eternally etched in the pages of my family’s hearts and minds.
Have a blessed Thanksgiving!
Barbara Robinson makes her home in Florida with her husband, a cat, and two dogs. She is a graduate of Christian Writers Guild’s and Long Ridge Writers Group and a published, award-winning author of four novels and numerous short stories, devotionals, articles, and poetry. Visit her at http://barbarajrobinson.blogspot.com.