A Thankful Thanksgiving
The Sunday before Thanksgiving was a cold snowy day that made you think of the previous summer,
and wonder if the sunshine would come out before another week passed. I guess it was one of
things that made living in Michigan a challenge. The ever changeable weather! As we gathered
around the table to eat that afternoon we were making our plans for Thanksgiving dinner, and who
was bringing what. We always tried to invite a new family from church over, thinking perhaps they
would be alone on Thanksgiving in a new area.
"Mom, our youngest son said, did you notice Mrs. Mitchell sitting in church today? She was
blowing into her handkerchief and wiping her eyes."
Our daughter said she thought it must be because her son had just passed away. I was stunned. My
husband and I looked at one another and asked how she knew about this, we hadn't heard a thing!
We knew about her son; but only that he had been wounded in the war, and didn’t live in the area.
"I guess she hasn't seen him for a while, he lived some place in another state, and I only knew
about it because René’s Dad was helping her with the burial arrangements." Our daughter finished.
I thought about the prayer chain that was used for everything from an illness with a newborn to
someone who had been diagnosed with cancer, and yet nobody had shared a thing about Mrs. Mitchell
and her son. As the meal ended I spoke with my husband, and he said he would call René’s Dad and
talk with him.
I knew Mrs. Mitchell wouldn't be at the evening service that night, she hardly ever ventured out
after dark, but something was telling me I should stop by to see her. My husband agreed, he said
his telephone conversation had assured him that her son had been in and out of the hospital a
number of times; and last week Mrs. Mitchell received a call from the authorities that he had
fought his last battle.
"Oh dear, I exclaimed! How could she handle this alone? I'm going over to see her right now." I
told my husband as I reached for my keys, purse and coat. "I'll take some of these brownies and
tell her I was thinking of her and just wanted to stop by."
The snow was still coming down as I rang the front door bell of the old Victorian house on Main
Street. Mrs. Mitchell had been widowed for over ten years, and yet she was a sweet and loving
lady, always ready to help out when she could.
"Hello dear,” a smile appeared on the kindly wrinkled older face. “What on earth are you doing
out on this cold night?” She asked ushering me into the foyer.
"I was thinking about you today and one of the boys said he saw you in church and thought you
might have a cold, I just wanted to bring some brownies by to see how you were feeling." I gently
She invited me in for some hot tea and we talked about some of the coming church functions and
then she said she'd like to share something with me. I prepared myself to listen to a Mother’s
heart as she bravely spoke.
Her son had been a Vietnam veteran and was battling some type of disease and emotional problems
from his years during the War. He was in and out of the VA Hospital in the state where he
resided. She had sent him a card inviting him to have Thanksgiving and Christmas with her, as she
was all alone. And then she received the call from the hospital about his death. She knew she
couldn't make the trip, and she and René’s father made the arrangements with the Veterans
Administration the week before. She said he had been to see her a few months ago, and they spoke
on the telephone often, but his battle had been a hard one and she remembered their last
conversation, and how he looked when he had been home. She would carry that memory of him in her
heart. He would be laid to rest next to her late husband.
"I'm so very sorry, Mrs. Mitchell. I only wish you had told us, we would have been over to help
you in anyway we could." I felt it seemed like such a weak thing to say in view of the situation.
"I do want you to plan to be with us on Thanksgiving, this Thursday, please plan to come. I don't
want you to be alone at this special time of year."
"You know," the silver haired lady smiled happily. "I would love it if you and your family would
be my guest and come over and have dinner with me on Thursday. When my husband was alive we used
to have several families from the area share that day with us, and I would enjoy thinking about
the dinner, making pies, salads, cakes and the turkey. Will you say 'yes', it would make me so
happy," She was practically gleaming with excitement. I could see her mind was reliving memories
that were special to her.
"Well, we have invited a new family from the church to come to our house for dinner, but I know
they'd enjoy sharing the day with you too, and we certainly would, but are you sure you're up to
this crowd?" I was thoughtful of her doing too much.
"Of course I am. I've entertained all my life, and will enjoy doing this too.
And it will give me something happy to think about. Actually, I'll be "thankful" to you for
joining me on Thanksgiving." I knew what she was saying and after talking a few minutes more I
said "goodnight", and told her I'd be in touch.
When I arrived home and told the children about going to Mrs. Mitchell's for Thanksgiving dinner,
they were all happy. Our oldest son said she had a great hill for sledding, and our daughter
loved her big old house and Mrs. Mitchell was like a grandmother, she said. I thought about our
small home, but always happy to share with anyone who could come, and how happy Mrs. Mitchell
looked when thinking about her Thanksgiving plans.
Later that evening as my husband and I were talking, I said it would be different not to get up
early in the morning and put a turkey in the oven, but how Mrs. Mitchell had actually said she
would be "thankful" if she could host the dinner at her home. I was grateful that at a sad time
in someone's life, that having a crowd for Thanksgiving dinner would help. Even in the cold snowy
weather I felt the warmth from an older woman who in the face of loss, was reaching out to share
© Diane Dean White 2005
Diane is a freelance writer and author. She has shared her stories with a wide range of
publications as well as websites online. She is a weekly columnist for the newspaper
FrankTalk, and Editor of HeartCatchers, a weekly mailing on the Internet. She is married to
Stephen and they are the parents of three grown children and three grand-gals. They make
their home on the Carolina Coast. Diane is the author of Beach Walks and recently released
Carolina in the Morning, a moving Christian story set in present day near Charleston, SC
introducing adventure, history and romance into the lives of some unsuspecting visitors. To
read more, click on the link below to visit Diane's website.
[ By: Diane Dean White Copyright © 2004 -- submitted by: Diane Dean White (Thelamb212 @ aol.com) ]
All Rights Reserved.