Thanksgiving–Being Alone

I remember being alone on Thanksgiving.  Also remember my first plane ride.  And.  Remember my first time in a bar.

Was 1958.  I had flown from San Francisco to Chicago to attend a meeting of the Youth Fellowship Cabinet of the newly formed United Church of Christ, which was birthed June of 1957.

The red-eye flight—price was cheaper that Wednesday night—was a propeller plane with engines that flashed, like a fire.  My life insurance was paid up.

Took a bus from O’Hare Airport to the Chicago downtown YMCA, the least expensive room I could find.  [I could have said cheap or got high-brow with being parsimonious, but decline both options.]

The meeting didn’t start until Friday morning.  The Y’s lobby had old, mostly torn magazines.  And no television.  Well, for an university freshman to not see football on Thanksgiving.  That was no option.  Walked down a few blocks and saw a bar, looked through the window and saw the Detroit Lions game on their 18” television screen.  Went in.

They had a kitchen, so ordered orange juice [just that for those taking notes] and English muffins.  Never was a beer guy and hadn’t yet discovered single malt.

Watched the game.

Walked back to the Y, did have a good coat buffeting the chilly sub-zero wind.  At the time I had heard Chicago was a windy city, which learned even later that had to do with political speeches and not climate.

Went back to the television-less Y room, got ready for my meeting, which took place the next morning.

Flew back to San Francisco Friday afternoon—still daylight so I couldn’t see if the engines were flaming.

Truth?  I decided not to look out the window in case they were.

Thanksgiving.  1958.  Chicago.  Alone.  Not with anyone.  No cell phone.  No computer.  But, starkly, alone.

Fast forward to today.  Not alone.  Blessed to help Diane prepare the fruit salad.  She’s doing the pumpkin pie.  I know my culinary limits.

Not alone.  Faith is with us…and shortly she will go to the front door, look back to me.  The body language is never ambiguous, “Well?  You ready for me to take you on our morning walk?”

This afternoon will be with Paul and Kathie…their invitation.  And other friends.  Being together.  With prayers of gratitude.  Also prayers of healing for a dear colleague who just had major surgery.  And for family and all whom I will name in my own prayers…it won’t be a short prayer…but will be so  gooooood to know God hears and God cares and God’s promise will always be kept, to be with us.  Which brings the deeper verity:  God IS with us.

To each of you:  May you have a good Thanksgiving…and celebrate that thanksgiving can be more than a day…it can be a manner of living.


About Mark H Miller

Diane and I live in Leander, Texas. This past June 17, 2015 I celebrated the 49th anniversary of my ordination. We returned to Texas after three years in Washington, during which I served as interim minister in Bellevue/Eastgate and Mercer Island. Am planning to begin a 5th novel that will have my protagonist, Tricia Gleason, serve a year in licensed ministry in Snoqualmie, Washington. The novel, "The Lemon Drop Didn't Melt," will find Tricia wrestling with ministry challenges. None of which more daunting than someone wanting her breathing to stop. All the published novels are available on Amazon and Amazon Kindle under Mark Henry Miller. A primary goal in our return to Texas is to make sure grandchildren get lots of attention--here and in Chicago and Washington, D.C. Traveling is definitely an activity that will not slow down. With that, of course, fishing will happen. To that the t-shirt is apt, "I fish; therefore I am." In addition to novels, the book of Blogs, "Voice Of My Heart," is also available on Amazon.
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