A Thanksgiving Blessing
At long last, Thanksgiving had arrived and I was excited. Always my favorite holiday, just the thought of a golden, brown turkey with all the trimmings set my mouth watering. I swear I could smell and even taste stuffing and gravy, candied yams and oh my, a slice of pumpkin pie sporting a big dollop of whipped cream. My stomach gurgled in anticipation.
Too far to travel to be home with my family, I was pleased Jane invited me to join her for Thanksgiving dinner with her parents. We hadn’t known each other long, and I was anxious to meet her mother and father. She seldom spoke about them, but I felt sure they were nice, because she was. Being surrounded by a family, relaxing and enjoying plenty of good food and conversation would help lessen missing my own.
It only took a few minutes to drive, and when we arrived, I marveled at their lovely, cottage style home. It reminded me of one I had seen in a child’s story book; painted sky blue and trimmed in red, with a small yard enclosed by a white, picket fence barely able to support the mountains of flowering shrubs. Compared to the other homes on the street, it was enchanting.
“Jane! Your parent's house is utterly charming, and the flowers...well..., I've just never seen so many colors in bloom this time of year. It's amazing!
Jane smiled, and motioned for me to pass through the gate. As we entered the house, I sniffed the air for a hint of what was to come, but didn’t smell anything I associated with Thanksgiving. In the small foyer, we hung our coats on the hooks of an oak, hall tree; a massive, well-oiled, antique in perfect condition. It was a thing of beauty.
We made our way toward the kitchen where I met Jane's parents, Malcom and Linda. Curious, I offered to help Linda in the kitchen, hoping for a sneak peek at what we were having for dinner, but she assured me there was nothing left to do, and sent me to the dining room. There again, I was astounded by a huge dining table, able to seat eight or ten people and an ornate cabinet filled with crystal and fine china. Looking at this home from the outside, it was unimaginable that it would have a room this size, fit for a banquet, and decorated with expensive linen. It was hard to take it all in.
The large dining table was smartly set for convenience, with paper plates and plastic utensils. Several types of fruit, lounging in a simple wicker basket, made a lovely, colorful centerpiece. Placed around the table were trays of sliced bread, fresh vegetables, deviled eggs, an assortment of cheese, and a small platter of sliced meat. I assumed these were the appetizers, and could hardly wait for what was to come.
We all sat down, joined hands, and Malcom led a prayer giving thanks for all that they had and expressing gratitude for the harvest of food placed before us. I listened as he recounted the blessings of being led to find so many things they could never have afforded on his salary; discarded furniture, home furnishings and more. Realizing that what these good people had, was not the result of wealth, but of making use of someone's cast-offs, lead me to feel a little sheepish about my initial opinion. What I saw as grand and expensive, was actually the result of turning trash into treasure.
Linda beamed as she passed the plate of meat and tray of bread. “We were lucky to find this food” she said, “considering the competition with scavengers is getting more difficult every day.”
I took a few slices of meat and bread and passed it on to Jane. “What do you mean?” I asked.
“So much food is wasted in our city. People eat part of their meals and then toss out the rest, and the grocery stores and restaurants throw out perfectly good fruit and groceries at the end of the day.”
“I suppose that’s true,” I said, helping myself to the cheese and veggies and a few more slices of meat. The cheese and veggies were good, but the meat had a peculiar taste I couldn't place.
“It’s amazing how much money you can save when you take the time to go through the dumpsters and get the good stuff, but you have to wait until after the stores and restaurants have closed or they’ll call the police.”
Malcom added, “We also have a problem with raccoons breaking into the trash cans and dumpsters, and making a mess everywhere. That meat you just put on that slice of bread was from a raccoon I caught in a dumpster one night. In fact, everything on the table tonight came from a dumpster somewhere in town. Isn’t that something?”
Yes, it was.
Jane asked, “Would you care for some dessert?”
Originally written for a Writer's Cramp entry, but has since been rewritten.
(Word count: 831, including title)