Life’s Outtakes » Sharing Thanksgiving

My parents found out that Mr. Tawson not only refused to hold a job, but took most of his wife’s pay check for himself, leaving almost nothing for her to purchase food to feed herself and their children. There were few things in life that disgusted my father more than a man who would not take care of his family.

Although our family had had some financial setbacks, and had very little in the way of money, we had plenty of food from our farm. My parents started providing the Tawson children with food, and, in return, they helped us with our chores.

But Thanksgiving was coming, and the thought of Mrs. Tawson and her family not having a Thanksgiving feast bothered my father. We didn’t grow turkeys on our farm, and we couldn’t afford to purchase one for them. But my father was a good hunter, so the day before Thanksgiving he had a talk with my mother.

“I am going down to the river and shoot a goose,” my father said. “I plan to stop on the way home and invite the Tawsons over for Thanksgiving dinner. We may not have turkey, but we will have plenty.”

“Won’t it bother you having Mr. Tawson over?” my mother asked. “I know how he disgusts you.”

My father shrugged. “It’s Thanksgiving, and he needs to eat, too.”

My father left with his gun, and a couple hours later he returned with one of the biggest geese we had ever seen. He gave it to my mother to clean and prepare.

“How did it go at the Tawson’s home?” my mother asked.

He smiled. “Mr. Tawson scowled, but the rest of the family was so excited to have a place to go for dinner that they could hardly contain themselves.”

There was always lots of farm work to do, and the Tawson boys came over that afternoon to help. They ate with us, and, as usual, took food home as pay. The whole time, the only thing they could talk about was coming for Thanksgiving dinner.

The next day, as was usual for Thanksgiving, we worked until noon. From that point on the day was ours to enjoy. About then the Tawson family showed up. At least, they all did except for Mr. Tawson. He chose to head in to the local bar.

Our home, by that time, smelled better than the finest restaurant. The smell of the roasting goose permeated the air, interspersed with the sweet aroma of apple, gooseberry, pumpkin, and mincemeat pies. On the counter, my mother had tray after tray of homemade rolls ready to go in the oven when the goose came out.

Mrs. Tawson rolled up her sleeves and started helping my mother. The aroma kept enticing the children from both families into the kitchen, but those who weren’t old enough to help were quickly shooed away.

When the goose came out and the rolls were put in, the smell made it almost irresistible. My mother made gravy from the drippings of the meat, and by the time the first rolls were done, dinner was ready.

We sat at the table, a prayer of thanks was offered, and as everyone started to eat, the noisy chatter died down. The youngest Tawson was a three-year-old girl named Melanie. She was a wisp of a child. She sat on a pile of books on a chair, bringing her chin just above the table. From that level she scooped the food off of her plate right into her mouth. My father’s eyes sparkled as he watched her. She ate multiple platefuls until she couldn’t hold another bite. When she finished, she smiled happily.

When Mrs. Tawson thanked my parents for the meal, my father smiled as he replied, “Thanksgiving always tastes better when it is shared.”

© Copyright 2013 – Daris Howard. All rights Reserved. No part of this commentary may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.

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