AN EMPTY CHAIR AT THANKSGIVING

I am giving thanks at Thanksgiving despite the “true” history of the holiday. Thankful to be seeing family members I have not seen in far too long. I am thankful for my “steroid driven, humming bird of a wife” …most of the time. My daughter is a neo-natal emergency room nurse and I am thankful the she made the decision to throw away her MBA degree and two “other” careers in order to take courses and become a nurse, all while pregnant and working. Pregnant with Miller Kate, now two, a red-headed little ray of sunshine who has taken after her Grand-mommy Linda in that she is a humming bird on steroids and has stolen her Popi Don’s heart. I also am thankful Miller’s father, Justin, is a father and husband most should aspire to be. Finally I am thankful for my brother, Steve, who saw a need in his community and began a soup kitchen, thereby “walking the walk instead of talking the talk”…something he is quite able to do. “What a mouth that boy has!”

Thankful to, we are still standing as a country despite the “trolling” that goes on. I have actually come in to contact with like-minded people and am thankful to find there are realist still out there who believe “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” should be for all regardless of “race, creed or color.”

Despite the joy I feel at not being served “eel or small bird” at Thanksgiving dinner, I cannot help but feel loss. Lost friends and family members from not only this past year but from a life time. I always lament the loss of parents and grandparents, regardless of holiday, but as I ran this morning it was as if they and others were haunting me…in a good way. Tim Brights’ big grin lighting up the world around him and Jeff Gulley’s much repeated question, “you still love me don’t you?” Brian Kuykendall’s quiet strength and straight path. Bob Crain’s, “Miller come get a liquor drink,” always accompanied by a big smile. They are not the only ones, the list has grown too long. Many I have written about and many I will write about. In some ways even bad memories are good ones.

This Thanksgiving I am going to suggest that we all set a place with an empty chair in memory of our loved ones. Those not in attendance for whatever reason. We want to especially remember those whose physical presence we will never feel again. Those whose memories we will always hold and feel in our hearts until, we to, join them.

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