It is Saturday the 19th of November, and Thanksgiving Day is a few days away. This is the first year I will be home for Thanksgiving since 2009. Of course like many of you i too am thinking about the things in my life I have to be thankful for. And even though I am not working and living at my mom’s house again, I know that I am grateful to just have a family who is able to take me in when I needed a place to go. I know that it is not everyone who has family that would be willing to do such a thing. This year I also find myself thinking about all the unlikely sources I have had in my life that have brought through the different times trouble I have seen in my life.
A couple of days ago I woke up thinking about what my next blog post should be about, and my grandpa Chuck came to mind. He is a warm-hearted man who I admire, someone who has shown me how a man should love his wife and family. He came into the family when he married my Grandma when I was around the age of fourteen. I was a bridesmaid in their wedding. The first impression he left as I was getting to know this new person who joined my family, was one I will never forget. We had gone up to visit my mom’s mother and new step-father a little after they had been married. Grandpa Chuck came into the kitchen and said he wanted to go to get some clam chowder and chicken. I was a little confused and just followed along as one by one we loaded into the mini van and headed of to get some clam chowdre. We were quite squashed in the van since there were so many of us, eight actually. I wasn’t really buckled in but just kind of sandwhiched against the window. We lef tthe house and hit the freeway, getting off an exit near Brusten Mills. As I was watching out the window all i could see where more and more trees. We just kept going deeper into the country. When the road turned into gravel you could hear all the adults start to question “where we lost? “. Well, sort of we were but all grandpa kept saying was it shouldn’t be much farther. Finally, we saw a sign and turned into the parking lot of an old white country church, They were having a church gather and serving as you may guess clam chowder and chicken. We went into the building and grandpa paid for us all as we stood in line. We then proceed to go along a buffet served by a bunch of the ladies from the church, and least that is what I guessed. I followed my new grandfather as he took a seat in the middle of the middle of rows of tables and chairs set up in the church hall. I felt so akward not knowing a single soul, I felt so out of place. Yet, as I watched Grandpa Chuck just started talking to eat of the people seated around our family. I just thought that surely he must have been here before or known some of the people he was speaking with. It wasn;t until on the ride home that I found out that he had never been to that church, nor did he know anyone there. Instead it was just something he had read was happening in the paper and thought it would be nice to have some of that clam chowder. Well, grandpa got his clam chowder, and I learned about the kind of man who had become my new grandfather. He is just like that, you can take him anywhere and he is going to start a conversation with a complete stranger, not one of those superficial conversation where you talk about trivial things like the weather. No my Grandpa Chuck will speak to you like you are best friends and he just hasn’t seen you in years and wants to catch up. It’s funny to watch and I have never been so bold. When I enter into a room, instead I must access the situation before I even attemt to speak……especially if I don’t know many people. You wouldn’t find me driving to the middle of the country to attend an event where I don’t know a single soul. Over the years I have relized what great value Grandpa Chuck brought into our family. He showed us each how to be just a liitle more adventurous when it comes to daily life. I think about this now, I think mostly because Thanksgiving was my favorite holiday to spend with my grandparents. My grandmother would be cooking hard in the kitchen, as Grandpa Chuck would be in the living room watching football in the after noon. He would later put on some western movie or christmas special. My great grandmother would be sitting on the couch going on about something or another, and he would always have a joke about anything she said. Then she would start singing in german and he would just ignore it and smile. Yet, that is him. He always has a joke up his sleave and never takes anything to seriously. A character you might describe a the comedic relief. I guess like most families the holidays were never without the drama, like the time grandma thought she ordered a precooked turkey but it only turned out that it was only thawed. The man who had not always been apart of my family came in and lightened the mood. I love my granpa and am so thankful for the joy and love he rbouhgt into my life over the years. I look forward to seeing him this year. And maybe even watching one of those John Wayne films again.
I find thanksgiving in simple things like the people who have contributed to my life. I can’t help but also think about last year this time and where I was. It was August and the sublet I had been renting was up, and I had just found a great contract job with a pharma company that I was excited about. Yet, I just didn’t have enough money to put down on a new apartment yet and needed a place to stay for the transistion. So, I reached out to my church family and spoke to the assistant pastor to see if anyone could help. To my surprise a famliy was going to be gone on vacation for three weeks in August and offered to let me stay in the guest bedroom they had in there attic. I had never met then before, but was greatful for the offer. It seemed like the perfect solution and I was trying to trust God more in my life so I agreed. I moved in with a couple of suitcases and my tiny poodle Sophie. The family was a family of four , two kids Andrew ( age 8) and Suzanna ( age 4). They first week I was there it was fun getting to know the family before they left for vacation. Of course we went over what plants needed watered and when trash day was. The kids really loved having a dog to play with. Then after a week they left to visit family in California. I went about the next could weeks working and the family checked in on me a couple times by phone just to see how I was doing. It was towards the end of the month and they would be getting back in a couple of days when the unthinkable happened. My contract job ended abruptly. I was out looking at apartments, when the agency who ahd assigned me called. I was shocked and didn’t know what I was going to do now. I had been able to save the money I needed for a new apartment but after the first month without a job I wasn’t going to be able to pay for it. I called the family emediatly, and the mother, Sophia told me not to worry. We would figure something out. I can never pay them back for allowing me to live with them until i found my next job. For six months I lived with them, and they became my family. I would sometimes help out with dinner, and I would always help clean whenever I could. The best part was the kids, and how they even would call me Auntie sometimes. I know that no matter how many times I say the words thank you, I will never be able to repay them for allowing me to stay in Boston that last year. I would have never thought that after eight months at my last job I would get laid off once again. I know that because of the open hearts that the family of four had for a complete stranger. I was able to grow and become a stronger person. I was able to grow in my faith in God and people. Just like the open heart my grandpa has for any stranger he meets, I hope that I too can change the life of one unlikly person who comes into my life. That is what I am thankful for today and this thanksgiving, the unlikley people that come into your life who end up family. If circumstances were different and my grandmother had never met and married Chuck, I would not have such a great example to live by. If I had kept working at that pharma company and moved out I might never have really gotten to know such a wonderful family who I love. And the gratitude I find for this brings tears of joy and love.
Who are the unlikely people who will come into your life that you can someday find gratitude for? Thay are out there, I am sure. You just have to look past your circumstances and the situtation……then look up. I am confident you will see them or meet them soon.