Thursday, November 27, 2008

Sometimes Memories Don't Fail Us

I can't remember the last time we had Thanksgiving just as a family. In Hawaii? In Florida? The details escape me. I have some vague childhood recollection of eating turkey and stuffing off of plastic trays in the hospital cafeteria; it was important to Dad to support the folks who had to work there over the holiday. In my memory, he would disappear for a few hours every Thanksgiving and Christmas to make hospital rounds -- but my memory is spotty. Perhaps I just want to think our Thanksgivings were built on an example of service. It's not a bad memory, if I have the indulgence of choosing one.

The train to Norfolk is completely full, every seat. One woman, hefting a frayed red bag down the aisle, surveys the crowd approvingly. "Look at all these people!" she croons. "All these people, and y'all going to see somebody who loves you!" Her bag proceeds her like a circus elephant, swinging. "They gonna feed you and hug you -- ain't nothin' better than that, nothin' better." I catch her eye and smile as she passes. Her bright voice carries back through the car as she continues bestowing 'Happy Thanksgiving's like benedictions. The family next to me is playing cards as the sun stripes the passing river scenery.

Thanksgiving morning, and Dad finds me in the kitchen rifling through the cereal cabinet; he's in uniform, bouncing a bit as he walks. "Do you want to join me?" His voice is quiet so as not to wake the others, but in the same bright tone as the woman from the train. "I'm going to have breakfast in the hospital galley and then make a few rounds." "Sure!" I return the box of cereal to the shelf and close the cabinet. "You know, I was just thinking about that very thing on the train ride down."

7 comments:

Ellen said...

thanks for this! i definitely remember the caf experience, but at the time i was confused about why we did it.

are you really into the bird and the bee?? i bought an album of theirs recently and i listened to it almost exclusively while i was in iowa this past time. heh :)

Katie said...

I'm into one particular song, which Karyn will share with you.

Geraldine said...

You guys are so goofy. We went out on Thanksgiving because I just could not get it together enough to cook turkey and all the trimmings! It's all my fault.

But do you remember when we had fajitas instead? 8^)

June said...

It doesn't matter what you ate or did all that counts are the memories that were made and the ones you remember. Those memories are the ones you tell to friends and and dwell on when you want to remember the happy times. Just think a lot of people will thank your experiences are great and theirs were blah! June

Ellen said...

i really, really hope it's the song i'm thinking of.

fsowalla said...

Hey, congrats on tenure btw.

Katie said...

Thanks. I was honestly surprised.