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A Forgettable Thanksgiving


After my discharge from the Marine Corps I went to live with my mother. I had never lived with her and I wanted to get to know her. It was a crowded house with just two bedrooms and four sisters, a brother and nephew. I lived and slept on the sofa.

It was close to Thanksgiving and there was no holiday meal planned. Donna Jean, my younger sister, and I decided to pool our money and cook a holiday meal for the family. Donna Jean and I were just a year apart and were close. She was the sibling I never had.

We went to the market and purchased a big turkey and all the fixings. We got stuff to make three different pies and a cake. We took it all home and told the family that we would be cooking the Thanksgiving meal for the family. Everyone seemed receptive to the idea.

On Thanksgiving morning, we started cooking. We cooked most of the day and the meal came out perfect. We set the table, laid out of the food, and waited for everyone to come to the table. No one came.

While we were waiting, my mother and her husband came downstairs with their coat on. They told everyone to get their coats on and go out to the car. My mother told me that they were going to the church to eat and that I had made the meal for nothing. Shortly after they all walked out the door.

This angered me and made me realize that my mother did not care about me. It reminded me of living with my dad and all the abuse I had to endure. I decided that I could not live there any longer. I was going to leave. It was just a matter of where to.

Three weeks later I was on my way to San Francisco. I had always wanted to live there and it was time to go. I stayed gone forty years. During that time, I lost my sister Donna Jean and my mother. As a younger man I was not forgiving and I held it against them and had no intention of ever returning home.

Time and reflection have a way of softening even the coldest of people. After forty years I realized I needed to go home and mend fences. For the most part I was able to do that. There were some who did not want the fence mended and I obliged them.

© 2022 Don Robbins