Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving Over the Years

I wrote before about my Thanksgiving in sixth grade at the hospital. Another Thanksgiving at the same hospital was in 2000 with my mother. The transitional care unit at Shenango Valley Medical Center, aka Farrell, on the third floor became the place for our dinner. David and the girls traveled three hours to his parents where the Lyon gang gathers for the long weekend. I felt such a peace at that dinner. I wore a new gray suit with a pink long sleeve shirt, feeling fashionable with my pearls. That year, I felt would be my mother's last on this earth, so the urge overpowered me to be with her. Besides, I couldn't leave her alone on Thanksgiving Day in a hospital. Proved she had seven more Thanksgivings and some made my brother mad, as she went with friends to the Salvation Army, because we were obligated to be with the in-laws.
Thanksgiving as a kid most times was a big affair at our home. We had Grandma Evans and our own family. Diane attending Sterling College in Kansas prevented her from coming home for Thanksgiving, but Christmas break provided more time to travel.
Different years we went to New Jersey. This picture of Debbie was from one of those years. Pennsylvania, or at least rural PA, schools are closed the first day of buck season, so conveniently the Monday after Thanksgiving. The trip made longer for us to get away. City schools did not have the "Buck" holiday. Even in nursing school I lost that day. That was very strange the first year.
I remember learning about the Pilgrims, desiring to have some semblance of their holiday, like the games.
The year Dan came home in this picture, I believe I was in fourth grade, a snow storm delayed his arrival. I have another picture, but it isn't one of the slides of my grandmother and I forlorn that our Danny-boy wasn't there. We anticipated his joining us for the big meal. He did make it later. I believe this was his leave before he shipped off to Guam for over a year.
When we had the home Thanksgivings, Dad usually had a roaring fire in the fireplace. Football on the TV. Relaxing after the glorious meal and deserts my mom made.
One year, my mom came home on a Thanksgiving Day from St. Elizabeth's after her I 131 treatments for thyroid cancer and the fiasco of finding she had a tumor on her spine and surgery to relieve the pressure and an infected wound. My cat was given away and my dog went to New Jersey with Thom and Gerri. Mom had a urinary catheter. We were thankful she was alive, even though she couldn't walk and wouldn't for over a year.
The last Thanksgiving at my home, I had gotten over my morning sickness, which as anyone who has been pregnant knows isn't always relegated to morning. David and I walked into that dining room, as Dad put that turkey on the table. Nothing ever smelled so good in my life. I got my appetite back that day. I wore my Ceil blue scrubs because I worked that afternoon in CCU. I was thankful for a healthy baby and wonderful food.
The next year was my dad's last, but we didn't know that. David, baby Katie Beth and I joined the Lyon family in Emporium. Mom and Dad spent it with Dan, Jody and Megan in their new home. This year, Jody was pregnant.
Many years when David and I lived in Connecticut, my parents fit in with the confusion in Emporium when the parents of the third generation now were babies and small children. An ice storm one year cut off the electricity, the turkey finished on the gas grill. My mother described the trees as a fairy land with the ice on the branches.
Thanksgiving over the years. Definitely good food and too much. Some times at restaurants away from home, and no leftovers. Sometimes sad, sometimes glad. But I hope always with a grateful heart for all our Lord has done for me. If He did nothing else, I'm thankful He died for me to give me everlasting life with Him. Yet, Jesus offers so much more. He gives us life and more abundantly.
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