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The Best Thanksgiving of All
by Amy Kenneley

The more Thanksgivings celebrated, the greater our store of memories. Easy for the littlest one at the table to proclaim "This is the BEST Thanksgiving EVER!" What does he have to compare this day to in his little span of time?

We who have a tucked a few more turkey slices under our belts know better. Some we can remember as clearly as if we had just walked away from that long-ago groaning board. This is the one I remember:

On the morning of Thanksgiving 1950, I woke to a wonderland of snow many feet deep. Northeastern Ohio and Cleveland in particular was socked in. I walked to the porch and couldn't see the porch floor or the 5 steps to the sidewalk. I couldn't see the street, either.

Someone had started to shovel a path the exact width of a snow shovel down the street. Mom and I followed it. We turned the corner to another larger street and we followed that street up to Chester Ave., where a Greyhound bus was stalled. The passengers had been sitting all night in the cold and dark, without anything to eat or drink.

Well, Mom wasn't going to let Thanksgiving go by with someone cold and hungry on her doorstep (I guess 3 blocks away counted as her doorstep.) We hurried home and she whipped up a huge big pot full of soup. She emptied every Campbell's soup can she had in the cupboard-chicken noodle, tomato, vegetable, pea, Scotch Broth, tomato rice, beef noodle, mushroom--everything all mixed together and heated so hot the bubbles were spitting out the top.

I pulled my Flexible Flyer onto the path as Mom carried out the huge pot and wrestled it on the sled. She put lots of spoons and bowls in a pillowcase, and lay 3 loaves of bread inside. Off we went, she pulling and me pushing the sled down the narrow opening to the main road.

The snow seemed to tower above me. It was like going through a tunnel with only a little light at the top. No more city noises I was used to-only the scrape- scrape of snow shovels here and there as people woke and began to dig themselves out. It was the silence of the country right in the heart of Cleveland.

We got to the stalled bus, and the soup pot was still hot and bubbly. Mom dished out the soup to the people and they were so glad to have something hot and filling, I guess they didn't mind the strange muddy color of the 8-soups-in-one.

We didn't get any relatives that day for dinner. I can't remember whether we had turkey and all the trimmings. All I know is that my Mom had given me a short lesson in compassion, and the warm glow from that 8-in-one soup lasted all day.

There have been many Thanksgivings since then. Some have been happy ones, some sad ones. Some funny, and some a little tense. The faces at the table have changed as the years pass. A phrase spoken, or a little tune hummed can conjure up the memory of loved ones from long ago.

One year I asked everyone to pick a Thanksgiving they remembered. Each story was a little different, but they all had a common thread-a nostalgia for another time. Sitting back, our belts loosened, with pumpkin pie crumbs scattered around the table and the great prow of turkey picked clean to the ribs, we could enjoy one another's company in small talk. We were together. We were blessed. We were thankful.

So perhaps the littlest one was right-- THIS Thanksgiving is the one that counts. Each Thanksgiving we can be together is the BEST one EVER.

This year, why not ask your dinner guests-family, friends, or strangers-to select a Thanksgiving they remember and tell about it? You might be surprised at the stories you hear. You might be humbled or inspired. You might laugh. You might cry. Whatever you hear, you will be enriched when you share with one another your memories. Happy Thanksgiving!

To start, why not share your own Thanksgiving memory with ClevelandSeniors.com? There are never enough good stories!

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