On Thanksgiving we’d drive miles out of the big bustling city and into the cool calm country. There were cows, woods, fences, railroad tracks, and an old country store attached to an old three story home where family lived and dinner would be served.
There were grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles, and kids all over the place. The kids would worry the cows, hide and seek in the woods, carefully climb over the fences, balance on the railroad rails, and leave a penny on the steel track to be often checked in case an unheard train passed by.
Inside the home, women cooked, men smoked, and all talked and laughed.
Inside the country store all the kids could smell, touch, and look, and learn, and look.
And dinner was the thing. All the smells, all the waiting, all the energy talking and playing, food was the king.
Three card tables setup for the kids, the big table for the adults. Food on plates served to the kids; help yourself on the big table. And, all the time talking, and laughing, and family love.
And came the prayer, heads bowed, hands clasped, warm house, fine food, and family.
Thanks be to the Almighty God.
Afterwards came evening and darkness and the regular train that shook the house, whistled the conversation to quiet, and all the boys squirmed and jumped thinking of a penny check that was too dangerous until the men grabbed flashlights and together took the kids to find the smashed flat copper Lincoln.
And came the night with adults still talking and laughing and the kids draped over the chairs, couches, and floor exhausted and asleep.
To be happy is to have lived a Thanksgiving dinner such as this.
To feel happiness is to remember this dinner and that it is was one of many.
To be happy, even for a single day, is to know God’s love and earthly reward.
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