Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

I've only spent two Thanksgivings away from home in my life. That was November 1971 when I was in radio school at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, and the following year when I was stationed in Panama.

I was short on money to fly home that year, but I did consider hitch-hiking to Alabama. It was during those years when drivers actually picked up hitch-hikers. Soldiers in uniform and an added advantage because people wanted to help servicemen in those days. But I only had four days off and I feared I'd get stuck on the road so I opted to spend Thanksgiving with one of my married classmates who lived off-base.

Thanksgiving is such a special holiday for me. It's always been about family, food, and celebrating all the abundance in my life.

The first Thanksgiving in New Jersey was hard because I wasn't home with my family, but having Thanksgiving with my friends softened the bruise, but the following year in Panama was brutal. It felt as if I were a million miles away.

I could close my eyes and smell the turkey and ham baking in the oven, and hear the din of laughter coming from the living room where my family and friends gathered waiting for the blessing to be said.

Today as my niece said the blessing over the turkey and dressing at our house, I thought about that day in Panama in 1971. It was a short mental journey on to the soldiers serving on active duty around the world today. I wish I could have had them all here at our house today so they would not spend this Thanksgiving feeling like they were a million miles away from home.

Happy Thanksgiving.


  1. It's not quite the same without lots of Family!

    Hope yours was a good one.

  2. It's so good to have family together at any time but holidays are special. Bittersweet emories remind us what we have to be thankful for.

  3. There is no place like home for the holidays. Thoughts and prayers for all those far away. Hopefully they have some good memories to tide them over till they are home again.

  4. I know that my first Thanksgiving after moving to Ohio in 1977 was hard. Even though Jack and I were together with his family, I missed my Mom and siblings and how she cooked her food. It's been almost 40yrs since then and I incorporate both styles that we grew up with but when I call home to wish Mom a Happy Thanksgiving....I'm back to 1977 and missing home! Have a wonderful weekend Rick!

  5. It is good to read someone who can put into words the real feelings of the guy/gal stuck away from home when they have had a good home environment. The feeling of a million miles away.
    Oh, and a picture millions of years ago!! Thanks again for bringing back the mental gymnastics of, 'Should I try to hitch hike or not?' Yeah, been there like millions of others, expressing it though, it different, some cannot.
    The best to you and the sweet lady.

  6. I enjoyed this post so much,all I could think about this year was all the memories of Thanksgivings past. But that song about I will be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams!!
    This is the first year in many we did not have company, but the kids and grand kids that live here. But I lost my voice a couple of days ago and it is completely gone, so I did a lot of listening... I wanted to tell you something; I received an Email this morning from someone that told me that my blog really helped and inspired them to be a better mom and mother, and I was just humbled. But I am telling you this, because your blog inspires me to write... Thank YOU

  7. Anonymous11:51 AM

    You remind me that I have been fortunate enough to ALWAYS have been surrounded by my family!!

  8. How we really miss something when we don't have it. It makes us cherish it all the more when we have it back. I hope your Thanksgiving was a beautiful one and that you are no where near a store today:)

  9. A worthy thought. I imagine this time of year is hardest on our soldiers far from home.

  10. I don't miss the earlier Thanksgivings in my life. We had to go to my oldest sister's house. I had to dress up and have my limp, pathetic hair curled until it was a mass of frizz. I was forced to eat at the children's table. I was the oldest of the children by far. I think I got stuck at that table because no one could stand to have me at the main table, and I was a free babysitter for the youngest kids. I like Thanksgiving much more now.


  11. A lot of people are spread across the nation or overseas and they are thinking about the turkey smell and all the trimmings and the family around the table.
    It was nice of you to have family over for Thanksgiving.

    I've been sick in bed but feeling a bit better today.


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