A not-so different Thanksgiving

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 2, 2007

I expected this year’s Thanksgiving to be much different from Thanksgivings in the past. A lot of change has taken place in my family’s life this past year that will affect the holiday season.

The most obvious change is the change in location, of course. It seemed as though it took an act of Congress for my family and I to get plans set for this Thanksgiving. You would think I had moved across country or something, the way we all toyed back and forth on who was going where.

The second change, one not so obvious, was that this was the first Thanksgiving following the death of my grandmother. Each year the holidays revolved around my only living grandparent and what she wanted to do for Thanksgiving and Christmas. The past five or so years, she kept very close to home and wanted to enjoy those holidays at home. My parents and I lived with and were the caregivers for my grandmother until the time of her death this past September. And we planned our Thanksgiving and other holidays around her desires. So, not having &8220;Mammaw&8221; to make the plans for this holiday season was a huge change for my family and I.

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Another change for this year’s holiday was that normally a group of my family members get together a couple of times around Thanksgiving for various dinners. I am fortunate to come from a huge family that loves to gather together and spend time with one another. But, this year my family did not have any plans, and I expected it to be more of an uneventful holiday.

After much discussion, my family and I decided I should return home for Turkey Day. I arrived late Wednesday night to be informed that additional family would join us for Thanksgiving dinner the next day. On Thanksgiving Day, I got up early and followed the normal Thanksgiving ritual of cooking the turkey, casseroles and yams. My aunt and cousins joined my family and me to eat Thanksgiving dinner. We ate the meal in grandmother’s old bedroom, which we have converted into a dining room.

So, in the end, Thanksgiving was much the same as it has been in years past. Although my grandmother was not with us this year, I felt her presence and knew she would have been pleased with the plans we made for the holiday.

Thanksgiving is the time to give thanks for the blessings you have received. I am thankful for a Thanksgiving being not to far from the norm and knowing my grandmother was still with us in spirit. I am thankful for the time I shared with her and the security of knowing were her spirit rests today. I am also thankful for the opportunities I have been given in my life and for having the resources that I have.

I am thankful for being blessed with such a supportive and loving family and friends. And I am thankful to be in Demopolis and to have the opportunity to get to know the city and its people.

This year I also have to add a thank you on the day after Thanksgiving. On my way back to Demopolis from my hometown, Forest, Miss., we had a blow-out.

Yes, there we were on the side of Hwy. 80 just after dark with a blown-out tire. While we were trying to change the tire, a kind Demopolian stopped to offer help. The gentleman went out of his way to assist us in our time of need. We were unable to remove the tire and get it changed with the tools we had. So, we went into town to a local store to purchase what we needed. Not only did the Good Samaritan go to the store with us, but he also went ahead of us and held open the store, which was closing.

Of course, as my luck would have it, the store did not have the tool we needed, so we had to try another store. Low and behold upon arriving at the store we found the kind man had gone there as well to assist us. This act of kindness reminded me of the true meaning of Thanksgiving and how it should be; trying to help your fellow neighbor and giving thanks for the acts of kindness that are bestowed upon you.

So, this day after Thanksgiving, I am thankful for my Good Samaritan and even more thankful that there are still people in this world that show kindness to their fellow neighbor.

And to finish the tire story, we were unable to get the tire changed. Hopefully today I will have better luck.

Thanks again to my Good Samaritan for not driving past. I truly believe your act of kindness will be returned to you one day, and I hope to show someone the kindness you bestowed upon me.

Gennie Phillips is managing editor of The Times. She can be reached at (334) 289-4017 or by e-mail to gennie.phillips@demopolistimes.com.