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Making Choices On the Holidays

I’ve been thinking of our family’s past Thanksgivings. For a number of years, the grandparents on both sides were relatively healthy, and we’d have them over for Thanksgiving. They could climb the steps – sometimes with help – but they managed.

At the time, my boys were in grade school. We had “adopted” our neighbor, Joe. He was a widower in his eighties and was totally deaf. His deafness made him uncomfortable in groups, so he chose not to come to our house for holiday meals. Therefore, my sons and I took the meals to him.

One of my sons would carry the salad, one would carry the pumpkin pie with whipped cream (they traded, because pie was more fun than salad), and I carried a plate heaped with turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes and rolls.

If it was really cold – below zero cold – we’d have to throw on a jacket. Usually, it was – oh – maybe fifteen above zero, so we’d just slip on some shoes and scurry over from our porch to Joe’s. We’d burst through the door, waving at him to get to the table, since he couldn’t hear us come in. We wanted him to eat while the food was hot. I’d poor him something to drink, we’d wave and race back home to get the meal on for the grandparents. It was busy, but very satisfying.

I did, more than once, try to talk Joe into coming over to join the group, but he made it clear he truly didn’t want to. So, we deviated from the “big, happy gathering” tradition and made our own little tradition. That’s where flexibility comes into play. People enjoy things in different ways. There is no “have to” about it.

Some may have thought Joe should have been nagged into coming into the gathering. I knew him well, and also respected his right to make his own decisions. I believe he still had a fun holiday. Earlier in the day – before I was too busy cooking – I would have had my daily visit with Joe, so he wasn’t alone all day. He enjoyed his meal the way he wanted it. He was content.

I am aware, that in this wonderful, diverse world technology has created for us, some readers won’t be celebrating this day as we in Fargo, North Dakota, do. Heck, these days, even a lot of people in Fargo have different traditions and aren’t celebrating a “traditional Thanksgiving.” 

I am hoping whatever and whenever you, my readers, celebrate, you have a wonderful time.  As I said, there is no “have to” about celebrations. We each must decide what is important to us, and respect the other’s choice. Peace be with you.


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