by M. J. Joachim
It was 1999, if I remember right, Thanksgiving Day. This was no ordinary Thanksgiving. This was the day our little nuclear unit of five moved into our very first home, all the way across town. The U-haul was ready for the weekend, when all the furniture would follow. Several small trips with cars loaded to their gills had been made throughout the week, providing necessities, without large furniture items. Everything was either in boxes, stripped, packaged or taken apart. Sleeping bags were ready for all of us to sleep in the living room or our new home.
The kids were little – ages 4, 5 and 9 respectively. They couldn’t have been more excited. We were moving to a house with a big tree and a pool in the backyard. It’s an older home, a “fixer-upper,” one where mom wouldn’t freak when kids were being kids, because this house was pretty much kid-proof, if you know what I mean. No worries about grape juice staining carpet with tile floors, type thing.
As we sat on boxes in the kitchen area, exhausted after moving all day, I looked at my husband and said, “I saw a grocery store around the corner. I’ll bet I can get us something a little better than fast food for Thanksgiving dinner tonight.” He looked at me and said, “I don’t know. It is Thanksgiving. They probably close early today.”
The kids were clearly hungry, and I needed a moment to collect myself anyway, so I took the car and headed to the store. Once there, I went straight to the deli section. It was almost 6 p.m., which is when the store closed. I must have looked a sight. The lady behind the counter took one look at me and said, “You must have had a busy Thanksgiving today, dear.” I nodded, told her we just moved to the neighborhood and had three little ones with no furniture or electricity yet. We were having a campout tonight and I needed to come up with our first meal in our new home.
She smiled and said, “I’ll be right back.” A few minutes later, she came back out with a box. Inside was a fresh, hot Thanksgiving dinner, complete with all the trimmings. She even tossed in paper plates, napkins and plastic silverware for us. Then she slapped a half price sticker on it and told me the family who had ordered it, cancelled their order at the last minute.
You can’t imagine my family’s surprise when they saw me bring the biggest and best Thanksgiving feast we’ve ever had through the door. We all sat down on a big blanket in the center of the kitchen floor and ate like kings. It’s one of my very favorite Thanksgiving memories, one I’ll treasure forever.
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