So you will understand why Thanksgiving has such deep meaning for me let me give you a little history about my father. He lived in Tennessee and when he was a little boy of six years old, in the year 1924, his mother the local town tramp, told him to take his two little brothers and sister and find a way to survive. My father did by working on farms doing any thing they asked, and took care of those little kids; they slept in barns until he became old enough to provide a rented home. He never went to school because he worked any type of job on farms he could and was grateful for the work. Eventually he was able to buy land and had his own farm.
World War Two came along and he was drafted into the army. He was shipped to the Philippines and fought in the Pacific. On one mission his entire platoon was killed and he was shot repeatedly, but played dead and was the only survivor of his platoon.
After the army he returned to farming, but the government had shown him there was better ways to make money and offered him education. He went into the aerospace industry, which was a booming business. He became so skilled at making aircraft engine bolts that eventually he formed his own company. Every Thanksgiving he gave a turkey to his employees. He told me, “If I give them money they might not bring home food to their children, this way I know the kids will get something to eat.” He understood poverty and being hungry.
The last Thanksgiving that we had as a family before my mother passed away my father made a little prayer and blessed the food. That was the first time I had ever seen him do that and I realized the deep gratitude he felt. Every year along with giving his employees frozen turkeys he donated a truckload of frozen turkeys to the local homeless shelter.
My health became bad in my late thirties and after an accident I was unable to drive and my father always brought me a Thanksgiving dinner. He personally would bring it to me even though his own health was failing from Parkinson’s disease. Eventually he became bedridden, but he made sure that somebody delivered a Thanksgiving dinner to me every year.
My father passed away December 27, 1994. But to this day Thanksgiving has more meaning to me than any other holiday because it’s about being grateful for what ever you have no matter if you are rich or poor.
Celebrate this time and be thankful for everything you have. Be thankful for the people that are in your life and care about you. Be grateful for our little furry and feathered friends that love us no matter what. Be thankful that you have a roof over your head and a table filled with food. Pray for those who have no food and to show your true gratitude volunteer at a homeless shelter or church this year to help serve the meals on Thanksgiving.
I’m thankful that I had the most wonderful father anyone could ever ask for whom always loved me and took care of me.
For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)