Ultimately a Thanksgiving Tale, 7 minute read, plus LINKS
Fidgety little Hannah sat by her mother in the center of a BIG church, on a hard pew.
"Your cousin is the girl in the back row, with the big yellow bow on the side of her hair," Mama leaned over and whispered in her small daughter's ear.
The choir of about 20 young people sang accapella, songs that were obviously well practiced. Hannah recognized some, as familiar from her church, where Mrs. Seigel talked to her about Jesus, and let her use glue to make pretty pictures about Bible stories.
Hannah thought the voices sounded very special and sweet. Better than the singing at her church. This singing was special indeed.
"Will we get to talk to her Mama?" Hannah asked her mother.
"I don't know, Honey. We will try to, let her know we are here, but she will have to stay with her group. I will tell you more about it later," Mama answered her smart little girl.
They sang, He's the Lily of the Valley, Our God is Alive, How Great Thou Art, and many more. Hannah saw the curtains covering the baptistry flutter behind the choir, and she knew it was because the singing made the angels happy. Her grannie had told her that angels lived behind there, and made the curtains move...
When the singing was finally over, Hannah held her mother's hand and was lead through the crowded isle into the foyer. Mama followed the yellow bow, and finally got to Diana and gave her a hug.
"You sung beautifully," Mama told Diana. She gave her a hug and kissed her head.
"This is your baby? She's gotten so big. I can't believe you and Uncle Willy have a little girl. I mean I remember seeing the picture of a baby, but she's so big."
"Aunt Mary, I have to leave. Mr. Simmons is calling for us." She casted her eyes towards the tall man in the slick brown suit. "We have to go get on the van to eat, and then go to our next church."
"O.K. Diana. I'm really glad we got to see you. We are so proud of you.
Keep doing what you know is right Honey. Life is going to get better and better..... I love you. Uncle Willy said to give his love, and we look forward to when we see you..."
The choir and Mr. Simmons and some other dressed-up grown-ups, got in three vans, and the crowd cheered and waved as they drove off.
"Mama, why couldn't my cousin come to my house. Why is she with Mr. Simmons?" Hannah asked her mother.
As they walked to the car, Mama explained, "Do you remember meeting Aunt Dulla, and her daughter Dearie?"
Hannah shook her head yes.
"Do you remember Aunt Dulla's daughter that didn't look quite right? The one that sat on the floor and moved her arms around on the floor, and never said sentences?"
"Yes Mama, I remember."
"Well Diana is Aunt Dearie's daughter and Aunt Dulla already has her hands full with Buella, and they just couldn't take care of Diana. They weren't making her go to school, and they got in trouble. She had to go live with the other kids where Mr. Simmons works. He works to take care of all those young people. They live at Brighten Children's Home, and he makes sure they all go to school, and they go to church and learn about the Bible, and they learn to sing really well too don't they?"
On the drive home, Hannah kept hearing the sweet voices sing, and her heart was happy as she fell asleep until Mama said they were home.
...........................fifteen years later:
Hannah walked in the door, after her date walked her to the door (according to her father's rule) and kissed her on the cheek (not her father's rule).
Her mother was on the phone, "Diana, I am so glad you called. It was wonderful talking to you. You stay warm up there in North Dakota! Hopefully you and Ben can get down this way to visit soon, or maybe Uncle Willy and I can take a trip in the summer. I love you dear. Kiss that baby for me. I can't wait to meet him..... Bye." Mama hung up the phone.
"That was Diana?" Hannah inquired, just because she wanted to hear more.
"Yes, it was. It was so wonderful, that she called just to talk. She and Ben are very happy. They had to move to North Dakota for Ben's job, but Diana has a baby boy, and is just loving being a mother. I wish Dulla could have lived to see her grandbaby.
Do you know what else Diana just told me? She told me that living in that Brighten Children's Home was the best thing that ever happened to her. She said that since she has grown up, she realizes that the home gave her stability, structure, and the house parents and Mr. Simmons, were really good people.... Well I never thought otherwise, but it was nice to hear her say it. I know it was hard on her and Aunt Dulla and Dearie, at the time."
Thanksgiving 35 years later.
Hannah has salt and pepper hair.
Mama (Mary) and Daddy (Uncle Willy) have white hair and Uncle Willy uses a walker to get around.
After their grand feast, and some time for their tummies to settle, Mama, Daddy, Hannah, her sister and three of their grown children plus spouses or significant others, gathered around the picnic tables put together in the the crisp Texas fall sunshine, as Charles (Hannah's first born) led a prayer,
"Father, thank you AGAIN for that yummy Turkey that Mom and Mimi and and Aunt Rachel cooked...your provision, and all that delicious food. We thank you again. We thank you for your rich blessings on this family, and our overflowing abundance, and for our opportunity to serve and share in your name.
Please bless these Christmas stockings, and the contents, and the houseparents and workers that distribute them and most of all Father, please bless the children. Father, give them a wonderful Christmas day. I pray that they would know that they are loved by you and that in your church family there will always be a friend. Grow them, and this family Lord, in Your wisdom, love and grace. To you we give all glory and honor. In Jesus's name we pray. Amen."
The family laughed, and told stories like is done with loved ones seldom seen. Jokes were made, compliments and secrets were shared, as the family members, grown-ups young and old, worked to assemble and fill 30 stockings with the assortment of candy, gadgets, games, make-up, lotions, jewelry, socks, puzzles, small art kits, toy cars, were thoughtfully placed to overflowing in stockings, which were then placed in big boxes- three- marked: Brighten Children's Home.
When all was done, and the young couples went to play cards, and Daddy (Uncle Willy) napped in his chair, Hannah hugged Mama from the side, looking at the boxes, her heart was full, and she remembered the angels behind the curtains at the church, and Diana's yellow bow, and the singing.
She leaned down and kissed her mama's head.
"What a great new tradition," she thought.
She took the boxes of red and green, silver and gold, bright and cheery to her truck, and was thrilled to text, Jennifer, "All 30 are done!! Will bring them soon."
Then she got another piece of cherry pie and sat down by the card game-ers, her heart so full, there was almost, almost, almost no room for pie...
Thanks for letting me share this fiction story. Some is truth, with names changed.
It demonstrates Lori's wise advice to create new traditions to keep your changing family RICH in joy and love....https://lorikayziegler.blogspot.com/2017/11/5-simple-ways-to-enjoy-holidays.html?spref=fb
Keisha has an absolutely precious write-up on how we can ALL do our part to make Thanksgiving special:https://kdrussell.net/2017/11/10thankful-giving-ways-to-have-a-happy-thanksgiving/
It is my pleasure to share my thoughts, my dreams, my stories, my journey, and my sister bloggers' blogs.
I am wishing you a WONDERFUL THANKSGIVING CELEBRATION.
May it be rich with Sonshine,
Grandma Mary Martha