I should have known from the way the day started that Thanksgiving would be one for the record books. As I got the turkey out of the refrigerator, it clearly did not thaw out as I had expected. After a quick call back to Ohio, mom's solution involved warm water in the sink and much prayer.
Next, a survey of the ingredients for the various dishes indicated no sour cream for the corn casserole. Fortunately, that could be remedied on my trip to 7-11 for my morning Diet Pepsi. Standing in line, the lady in front of me took the opportunity to explain all the things wrong with a national day of thanksgiving. An avowed atheist, she built up quite a head of steam telling me her opinion.
"That must be difficult for you," I said. "Thankfulness is a very healthy state of mind though. Ten out of ten psychologists agree."
My new atheist friend just shrugged her shoulders, sure I hadn't listened to a word she said.
Back home, I made the stuffing and packed it into the bird. With the turkey ensconced in it's body bag, I turned on the television and watched the final minutes of the parade. One of the NFL match-ups looked good, so I switched to that station in time for kick off.
Between possessions, I ran the sweeper and put my only holiday tablecloth on my smallish dining room table. Melancholy settled in as I thought about my relatives back home. Everyone would be gathering at Mom's house soon and I wouldn't be there to join them. With work crazy busy and Dad recently passed away, it had seemed like a good year to take the holiday off.
As the football game got more interesting, I tried to minimize my time in the kitchen. During commercials, I whipped up the corn casserole, green bean casserole, and Au gratin potatoes.
After getting excited over a particularly spectacular catch, the timer went off in the kitchen. Hopping up, I couldn't take my eyes off the television because they were showing the catch in slow motion.
Wham! As I turned to go through the doorway to the kitchen, my nose slammed into the wall. I'd misjudged where the opening began and the wall ended. Pain shot through my proboscis and I felt stunned.
The bell still ringing on the timer, I gathered myself and went into the kitchen. After retrieving the turkey and momentarily rejoicing that the meat thermometer showed the bird fully cooked, I set the other dishes in the oven to bake.
Finally, I trudged upstairs to the bathroom. My nose looked terrible. Now turning black and blue, it seemed bent a little to one side. Although it hurt, I moved it back into place.
Depression descended. God and I had a talk about my nose, my faith, the atheist, how nothing good ever happens to me, missing Thanksgiving with my family, the friends coming over in an hour, and several other topics.
I decided not to go to the hospital. Why should my friends miss Thanksgiving dinner just because I'm clumsy. A bag of frozen peas applied to my swelling nose, I plopped in front of the television and brooded.
As we all sat down at my table, I asked each person to state something that made them thankful this year. A new job, another year of marriage, and friends got mentioned. Then, it became my turn. I was dreading this moment. My nose still ached. I still felt lonely for home.
"I'm thankful that God is still with us even on a bizarre Thanksgiving like this one. My nose is a mess. I burnt the crescent rolls. My team lost the football game, but He still loves me. He brought me great friends like you guys. I'm feeling thankful despite it all and the nose will eventually heal. I have to try not to blow it."
Friends, I sure hope your Thanksgiving goes better than mine all those years ago. May yours be filled with friends and family, love and joy. Most of all, may it be filled with Thankfulness for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.