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More than 43 years later

 Many years ago when I was young, i lived in a neighborhood in an old part of the city. Many of the people on my street were gay, and most weren't welcome at their families' dinners. So, we decided as a community to have a potluck dinner that went up and down the block. Everybody pitched in, and we went back and forth and up and down, and we opened our houses and apartments to friends and strangers alike. All were welcome, and it was an unforgettable day.

More than 43 years later, I remember being in my 20s and studying recipes ahead of the progressive feast as I tried to decide what to make.

It was 1988. My husband and I had just closed on our first house the day before Thanksgiving. We were busy moving things into the house. It was around 4pm when one of our best friends, that lived a few blocks away, came to our house and made the case for us to go to his house for a bite to eat. At that point we were getting exhausted from going up 3 flights of stairs and bring boxes down then into our car and once into our new old house up a flight or down a flight to the basement. We wanted to get the boxes all moved in before our friends and family come over the next day to help move the furniture.

Probably the one that's just over. I got to hold my two-month-old grand-niece while her mom got to enjoy dinner. We all consider this baby a miracle as her mother is 40 and this is her first birth. She had three miscarriages (that I know about, maybe more) and she and her husband finally visited a specialist who helped the pregnancy along. My niece has Hashimoto's disease, which may have contributed to her inability to carry a baby to full term prior to this one. Everything seems fine with our tiny newcomer.

We would invite church members to join our family every Thanksgiving if they didn't have another home to visit. Mr. Williams had been a fellow member through a church nursing home ministry. When we found that he had no family to be with, we asked him to join us.

As we sat down to eat, Mr. Williams spoke. He told us of spending Thanksgiving as a POW, being beaten and eating spiders. I think we had eight or nine teenagers living with us, and they were all listening in horror. Some were from troubled homes and had probably gone hungry or been neglected. But they ate that meal soberly and quietly. When we told each other what we were grateful for, I could tell they were feeling thankful for what they did have as they answered.

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