This Thanksgiving held changes for my family.
My mom has been putting in long hours for a while now, caring for her own mother, so that my 93-year-old Nana can continue to enjoy the familiarity and comfort of living in her home of more than 60 years.
In addition to being plumb tuckered out most days, mom was also sick heading into Thanksgiving day.
So for the first time ever, we had our small family Thanksgiving out at a local restaurant instead of at my mom’s house. No preparation. No dishes to do afterward. No leftovers to wrap and store. However odd it felt to set aside tradition this year, no one could refute the sense in it.
We were seated at a spacious, horseshoe booth at about 12:30. The meal was catered, buffet style.
Our server was a young woman named Kim. After making introductions around the table, I asked Kim if she would have any time after her shift ended to join her own family for Thanksgiving meal or desert. She paused, smiled in that way people so often do when they are trying to sound positive about something negative, and said, “All of my family has passed away.”
“Oh no…” I replied. “All of them? Or do you mean there’s just no one local?”
Kim sighed, though her half-smile stayed in place. “Well, I have some distant relatives, cousins. But my own family are all gone now. I figured I’d work today so that people who do have families could be with them.”
I took a moment to just hold Kim’s gaze and let that heavy disclosure stand in silence. Then I said, “Well, we will be your family for today. Let us be your comfortable table, no stress, OK?”
Kim was genuinely appreciative as she explained the buffet setup, then went to fill our drink order.
The meal was good. Plenty of offerings. And I was glad for my mother’s reprieve.
Kim stopped by many times to check on us. She was pleasant and did seem to relax and just be herself when she came to our table. After serving dessert, she brought the bill.
“Kim,” I said, “would you consider yourself an open person?”
Her eyes were curious. She nodded. “Yes, I think I am.”
I stood up to face her. “Good to know. Because… [click link below to continue reading this post]