Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Things I Learned from Dad
I know the signs of Christmas are everywhere but I'd like to talk today about the holiday that is coming first. Thanksgiving. It happens to be my favorite of all the holidays and I just can't let the moment pass without telling you why. Thanksgiving makes me think of home and family and the lessons I learned from my dad. He's not with us anymore which makes the holiday all the more important to me.
I grew up in a super tiny no-stoplight town. It was a place dominated by strictly blue collar folks who lived paycheck to paycheck and I don't believe there was a single wealthy person in the whole place (although I don't think anybody really thought about it one way or another). We were just friends and neighbors. One year, when my sister and I were just little girls, I remember Dad loading up the back of our car with frozen turkeys. There had to be at least twenty of those things. Could have been thirty. I remember his telling my sister and I to grab our coats. We weren't sure where we were going. It was dark outside and very, very cold that year. As we drove through the quiet town, Dad would stop here and there near a house and he'd hand us a turkey and tell us to sit the turkey by the front door and hurry back. Weren't we supposed to knock? we'd ask. Nope, Dad said. We didn't have to do that.
We stopped near one house in particular and Dad told us to each take a turkey. This family, Dad said, needed two. This mother of five had lost her husband a few weeks earlier and there were so many mouths to feed. Dad said leaving them two was the right thing to do and no one should be hungry for Thanksgiving. I remember asking Dad why we never rang the doorbell so the people could at least thank us. Maybe a little part of me wanted these folks to know we'd provided Thanksgiving turkeys to most of the town. Shoot, I was just a kid. But Dad told us both that we don't give gifts or do good things just for a pat on the back. We do it because it's the right thing.
His words reached me even though I was just child and I've never forgotten them. So every Thanksgiving, I think of Dad and the lessons he taught me. I am thankful for my home, my kids and that we are lucky enough to simply be together.
We all have our holiday memories. I've shared one of mine and would love to hear yours.