Many Thanksgivings ago

I drove brief rides with my parents and sisters

through a small town

to meet a large family

to eat large meals

on a holiday of cool Georgia weather with

football indoors and

football outdoors and

football opinions while

enjoying the

discussions of memories

and the

creations of memories,

as more memories were in the process of

crafting and designing.

The smells of turkey and desserts, of bread and tea.

The cool Georgia air and warm family hearts.

The smiles.

The conversations.

Memoirs discussed:

those days, those times, those ways, those stories,

those songs, those wounds,

those questions,

those opinions,

those decisions.

Those, these, then, us.

There, then, here, now.

Relatives eating and discussing

relative issues, or issues assumed

to be such but proven otherwise during dialogue,

which was okay because in some cases

conversations themselves were worth the words

and smiles and disagreements and laughter

and amount of calories enjoyed for Thanksgiving.


Many Thanksgivings ago

I drove with my wife and sons from Florida to Georgia

year after year

for a week of giving thanks and receiving food,

and giving and reviewing

Christmas presents as our one-month-early-because-we-are-together-now

holiday celebration.

The drives, the music, the conversations.

The gatherings, the gifts,

the good times had by all.

Debbie’s fall underground,

pain still felt decades later,

a story still being told.

Ball games played together.

Ball games watched together.

Injuries, laughter, feasting, singing, pain, pleasure.

Stories from then still being told.



A Mama so

distant for too long;

a story remembered, honored,

and still being told.

Memories and pictures and

more meals and more conversations,

more stories

still being told.

Of history. Of hope.

Of then and now.

Of is and isn’t.

Of us and them.

Of life and death.

Of vehicles breaking down and

brains breaking down and

relationships breaking down,

but Jesus somehow meeting us in those places

of broken days and broken lives and broken families.

Eat, and be still.

Love, and be still.

Remember, if you can,

and be still.


A Thanksgiving like this one, on these days.

Life, again, though different, in northeast Georgia,

living, again, where I never expected to return,

and seeing seasons and their colors beside me,

and feeling seasons and their temperatures beside me,

as I type with chilled fingers and smile with a face

of true joy and glance at a rabbit toward the east

and a chipmunk having what resembles

a panic attack toward the west.

I guess we can call this life.

In a fallen world, yes, we can call it life.

But this is, as I may say too often, a world of wonder.

I give thanks.

Of family before me.

Of family beside me.

Of wife and sons, of their siblings and their children.

Of father and sisters and friends and strangers.

Of that Mama so distant and close

on a Thanksgiving week for meals and memories

and mysteries,

And me remembering again that this moment

is of value,

that all people are of value,

that I am to be thankful

as I love those who hate,

as I forgive those who view their lives

as having done no wrong,

as I realized my

damaged brain and damaged life and damaged everything

is not everything.

There is more.

It is near.

I smile.

I eat.

And I give thanks.