I wrote this story, back in the fall of 1972. My girlfriend, Penny, had just left for Rutgers University. I began my second year at County College of Morris. I found myself reflecting on days past. At the time, I submitted it to several small press publications. Sadly, it never made the grade for any of those publications.
The Thanksgiving Story, Part One
By Richard Mabey Jr.
Within each of us is the infinite heritage of our ancestors. Of those who have come before us, who have held the same earth in their hands, felt the same sun’s warmth on their shoulders, and felt joy, pain and life’s tenderness in their hearts and souls. There are moments in our lives when the awareness, the knowledge, the wisdom, the folklore of the heritage of where we have come from, is handed to us. It often comes without fanfare, without parades or celebrations; but rather in simplest of means. So simple that at the time of the event, the profound significance of the moment escapes us. It isn’t until later in reflection that the importance settles into the marrow of our being. Such a time, such a moment, did come to me. It came to me in earthly simplicity in my fourteenth year.
Thanksgiving marked a special marker on the calendar for my family, as it does for most families. For it was a time to reflect, to consider, to remember, to appreciate, to be thankful. It was a time of fellowship for the family. A time of story telling, a time of feast, and a time of looking within.
One special Thanksgiving comes to mind for me, when I was 14 years old. It started as any other Thanksgiving morning. There was the anxiety of waiting for my aunts and uncles to come to the old Mabey Homestead for this magical and wonderful annual feast.
As we sat in the kitchen, my sister Patti and I would be busy doing various chores needed for the preparation of this big day. It would be early in the morning and I can still see my paternal grandmother peeling apples, cutting them and preparing apple pies. Sitting on the old rocking chair in the kitchen, Grandma would look out of the back window of the old farmhouse and reminisce of her youth.
The old apple tree still stood in the back yard, where Grandpa had carved a heart with their initials in it. It was under that old apple tree where Grandpa nervously proposed to Grandma; so many, many years ago.
My mom would be preparing the turkey in the early morning hours. Dad would be standing by the stove, pouring a steaming hot cup of coffee into his white porcelain cup. Dad would be looking out the back window as he sipped his hot coffee.
“Dad must be sleeping in late today,” my father would say to Grandma.
“I can’t tell no misconceived lies about it son, I’m worried sick about him. I don’t think he’s had himself one good night of sleep since he’s been back out of that old hospital,” Grandma replied.
“Dad’s tough Mom! Don’t worry. In no time flat, he’ll be out there going our for walks and being back to his old self. You just wait and see,” my father reassured his mother.
To be continued.