A brief story for Thanksgiving
|Thanksgiving was just another day to George Cooper. Like any other day, he had to lug the garbage out to the alley. No holiday miracle was going to make it walk out there by itself.
The weather was rather bland. It was the time of year between fall and winter, when the leaves had all gone and the snow had not yet come. The sky was a light, overcast gray, not heavy enough for there to be any change of rain. The wind was cool, but George was not uncomfortable in the sweater he had on.
Jenny did not believe in fussing a lot over meals, so their dinner had been simple. She had picked up some turkey yesterday from the deli. The only accommodation for the holiday was having it sliced somewhat thicker than it normally was for sandwiches. She had also gotten a big container of potato salad, so there had been no mashed potatoes and gravy. Nobody really liked cranberries and pumpkin pie had lost out to double-fudge brownie ice cream topped with almonds.
It was not like the Thanksgiving dinners George remembered coming here for when he was small. The house had belonged to his grandparents then and it had always been packed full of people. Today, it had just been him, Jenny, their two kids and his parents. Even having his parents over did not keep the day from feeling ordinary. It was not far to those new senior apartments by the river and they ate together at least two or three times a week.
As usual, his dad was in the kitchen, washing dishes for Kyle to dry and telling his grandson stories from his days as a video game developer. It was hardly surprising the boy found that more interesting than George's job as an x-ray technician. His mother was still at the dining table with Jenny and Ruthie. The three of them would probably spend most of the afternoon chattering about who was and was not a couple and how long they expected them to stay that way.
It was a short walk to the alley. Their home was in the older part of town where the houses were close and the lots were small. There was a time when they had planned to get a place with a big yard for the kids, but it took years to save enough for anything like that. By then, George's parents were getting old and finding it hard to take care of their house. Even so, they could not bear the thought of strangers living in the home they loved, so when they moved out, George and his family moved in.
George did not even have the whole day off to spend with his family. In a couple hours, he would be back at the hospital for his shift. People still got hurt on holidays and somebody had to be there to take care of them when they did.
Just as he tossed the bag of garbage into the trash can, the big bells in the steeple of St. Felicity's started to ring. They reminded George to be grateful for all he had, his family, his home, his job, the town he lived in. As the last echoes of the bells faded away, he stopped to thank God for all the blessings in his life. There was nothing unusual about that. For George Cooper, it was just another, ordinary day.