Monday, November 19, 2018

A COOL THANKSGIVING


Thanksgiving is a family and friends time. Usually in my opinion it is better than Christmas for there is no holiday stress, just a great meal, family and being thankful.

One year was not such a good one for me. My Dad had died the year before and the thought of Thanksgiving with out him hurt. As he often did the cooking, his presence would be painfully felt.

I lived 100 miles from my family so that year, I decided to stay home but still celebrate the day.  I planned to help feed the homeless. It was something I had never done but had always wanted to. Besides, there would be nothing to remind me of my Dad not  being around

I showed up at the Church not sure what to expect but was put right to work setting up the serving table. We had everything, turkey and all the sides. It all looked wonderful and I was given a big spoon and a huge dish of green beans to serve when the doors opened.

My goodness what a mob came in. I had no idea we had so many homeless but then this was Florida with its mild climate.  Like the tourists, the homeless flocked to Florida seeking warmth.

We had them all served when a poor fellow in the table right before us could no longer hold it all in.  He  upchucked both liquor and food with some of it landing near my shoes.

Now I am someone who reacts to throw up by wanting to respond in a similar manner. I was struggling when a young homeless woman stepped up and said, "If you get me some rags and bucket, I will clean this up."

She saved all of us on the front lines a grisly task. When she left to wash her hands several of her friends couldn't wait to tell us she was a favorite. They came forward to brag that she was highly intelligent, a really good poet and they all thought highly of  her. She was their rock star and had their backs. 

Too often when we  pass someone on the street who needs help and perhaps toss some money their way, seldom do we look into their eyes and see them. That day we all got a glimpse into the depths of a classy yet homeless woman. Homelessness is a place where invisibility too often rules. That day we all saw her.

I will never forget that cool Thanksgiving day. It brought home in a big way to be thankful that not I nor anyone I know have never slipped into the abyss of homelessness. I have always had a safety net.

If you ever have the chance to serve the forgotten ones a holiday meal, I highly recommend it. It will leave you warm for a long time.

May you all have a wonderful and memorable Thanksgiving.

43 comments :

  1. We don't celebrate Thanksgiving in the UK. That was a wonderful story, and I hope you have a memorable time this year too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Joey,
      Thank you so much. Sorry you don't have the holiday, it is such a nice time of year.

      Delete
  2. What a heart warming story, Patti. Seeing how quickly the people in California have become homeless should remind us all that it could happen to any of us, at any time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jean R,
      Yes, it was seeing all those poor folks in California living in tents that reminded me of this story. I hope none of them fall thru the cracks.

      Delete
  3. I agree, Patti, that often we don't see the humanity in people forced to live on the streets. I think I might do that myself, help to feed them a wonderful Thanksgiving meal. I haven't yet, but it's in my future, I can feel it. Thank you for this wonderful story. And Happy Thanksgiving. I'm grateful for YOU! :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Djan,
      I hope you get the chance. You will get much more than they will and remember to look.
      You too have a great Thanksgiving and right back at ya.

      Delete
  4. what a great story, and reminder. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Silver Willow,
      Thank you and I needed the reminder as well.

      Delete
  5. What a wonderful experience! Even with the vomit.

    I have never volunteered at a food event, but did have an opportunity to work with Homes for Humanity. There is something truly gratifying and a good reminder that not everyone has the same opportunities.

    Happy Thanksgiving!
    Eileen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Eileen,
      I almost lost it at the barf. The poetess saved me. The tent cities after floods and fires remind us that circumstances can change on a dime.

      Delete
  6. This is such a wonderful story, Patti. Truly the spirit of the holiday. My brother sent me a song that one of his neighbors wrote and performed. Your post reminded me of it, so here's a link. The song is called "I've Got A Dollar" and it starts at 7:07 minutes into the track. http://www.newslanglubbock.com/the-new-slang-podcast-episode-062-the-blue-light-finals/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. robin,
      Thank you so much for that link. Juliet McConkey has a lovely voice and her song fit right into my post.

      Delete
  7. I agree. Thanksgiving is the best. I've never done the homeless thing but I have heard that from people that went there to help. Nice story to share.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Barbara,
      Outside of seeing people in often dire straights, the rewards are priceless.

      Delete
  8. Wonderful blog post sweet Patti. I have not served meals to the homeless. I have delivered gifts and meals to the poor at Thanksgiving and Christmas though,..very humbling and hear warming. Hugs and have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maggie,
      Kudos to you for giving during the holidays. It can be heartbreaking and heart-mending at the same time.

      Delete
    2. You are right about that. I wish I could give them all a safe and warm place to live.

      Delete
  9. Rick and I did this for 26 years. Then we moved and things changed. volunteering of any kind is a bit selfish because it always makes you feel far better than those you helped. I must say I never had any of the throw up on me but I always heard wonderful stories albeit sad. And Rick was in his glory because he made food by the vat and that is his style. :-) Happy Thanksgiving Patti.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Peggy,
      Absolutely it is a selfish act but so worthwhile for both parties. Congrats to you and Rick for making it for so many years.

      Delete
  10. Not bing Homeless is the first thing I am thankful for every...actually all year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. joeh,
      Most people don't realize it could possibly happen to them or someone they know. Stay tucked in each night Joe.

      Delete
  11. We here in the United States are so blessed. I was talking to a lady from Haiti who told me that the people who live out of the cities into the country have a hard time even finding clothes and shoes to wear. So many need our help. I'm going to give more to charity this year to help those in need. A very blessed Thanksgiving to you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Snickelfritz,
      Until we leave the U S, we don't realize how lucky we are. Even our homeless have options. Giving will help so many, including ourselves. Thanks for caring. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

      Delete
  12. It is so true. Anyone could be homeless at any time. Right now so many are do to fires , floods, volcanic eruptions and of course mental illness. My family in past has been homeless and I was a refugee baby buy all got better and I try always to be giving. Sharing and caring are just very important for me. Enjoy this special holiday Patti.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Heidrun,
      You understand how homelessness can affect anyone and how far a little help goes. So glad you are safe now and can give back.

      Delete
  13. We don't do Thanksgiving here, but at Christmas many of the churches put on lunches with all the usual Christmas foods, for the homeless. I've never been homeless myself, but recently had a son "sleeping rough" for several months. He has a home now, but came to my home for hot dinners and showers when he could.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. River,
      We do the same for Christmas also. So glad your son had your support and made it through the "rough" spell. It makes one realize all the things we take for granted.

      Delete
  14. We have much to be thankful for living in this country.
    Happy Thanksgiving to you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Joared,
      Yes, there is no better place to live where even those in need can find help. Hope you have a fine Thanksgiving also.

      Delete
  15. Lovely post, Patti. Our church does both a huge Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner, not just for the homeless but for anyone who doesn't want to be alone. It's always jammed and we are so fortunate in having volunteers that the volunteer "shifts" are only for an hour, including the cleanup detail.

    The church provides the cooking pans and utensils and the turkeys. Volunteers cook the turkeys and fill the pans with homemade goodies and there are an endless variety of pies.

    It started years ago when the priest did not want to eat alone but so many people invited him to dinner he feared hurting their feelings. So he suggested that everyone come and feast together and all are welcome. So poor and rich, affluent and homeless all sit and eat together and often then wash dishes together as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Carolyn,
      What a neat, compassionate man and I am sure he has made so many lives brighter. Actually, I remember the dish washing to be the fun part. That was when we got to know eachother.

      Delete
  16. As an immigrant, I grew up without the Thanksgiving holiday, but how good it is to be reminded of all we have to be grateful for. I have adopted it as a special day, just for me. A day to reflect and to be thankful. I did this when I was alone earlier in my life and I am doing it now again. You are right though, it would be even better to go out and help out those who are not as fortunate. Happy Thanksgiving, my friend. And thanks for this post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Inger,
      Thank you Inger. You don't have to have pilgrims in your back ground to enjoy Thanksgiving. It is a time for gratitude. You have it right.

      Delete
  17. I haven't done anything quite that amazing but every time I attend a Thanksgiving or Xmas dinner put on by our AA community it gives me a lift. So many of our members are struggling financially and it is a chance to bring their children and make sure that they get a complete meal and all the love that goes along with it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ginnie,
      What a lovely thing to do. Even it they can afford it, holidays are often tough on those who are struggling.

      Delete
  18. Thank you and we will. I hope your holiday will be a good one too. Thank you for reminding us to think of other's this holiday. We are taking Captain Poolies best friend to dinner tomorrow. Having Pam with us will be good for all of us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mage,
      I am sure Pam will need your good company as she spends this holiday with out Captain Poolie. Very sweet of you.

      Delete
  19. Dear Patti, I've never served a meal although a friend of mine has done so for nearly 50 years, and like you, she discovers year in and year out the deep down beauty of each human being who has been able to keep his or her heart open to possibility.

    I used to ring the bell for the Salvation army red kettle and so enjoyed doing that because of the generosity others and the joy of children. I would sing Christmas carols as I rang the bell and the children loved it and would sing along.

    I know what you mean about suddenly realizing the humanity of those around us. Often I look at others, but I don't see the deep-down burden they may carry or the joy that may light their lives. Thank you for the reminder. I hope your Thanksgiving was a lovely one. Peace now and forever.

    ReplyDelete
  20. What a story! And so true about not looking to really "see" a person who happens to be homeless. Next year we are thinking of running over to Fayetteville and serving the veterans in need.

    ReplyDelete

Due to massive abuse I will be using comment moderation for a while.