The old Mabey Homestead was the backdrop for this Thanksgiving story.
The Thanksgiving Story, Part Three
By Richard James Mabey Jr.
Our story so far: Grandma is upset with Grandpa for wanting to take a walk down to the old canal. Grandpa’s doctor recently told him that he needed to take it easy.
With Grandpa insisting upon taking a walk down to the old canal, on Thanksgiving morning, Grandma knows that she has lost the battle. However, Grandpa agrees to let me walk down to the canal with him.
“Dicky Jim, you see that your Grandpa rests along the way. At that old fallen pine tree along the path, you make him sit down there for a spell and rest real good. Promise me boy!” Grandma told me, with a most solemn look in her eye.
“I promise Grandma. I’ll make sure Grandpa sits down on the old fallen pine for a while,” I assured my grandmother.
“Dicky Jim, I’m serious now. You make sure that your Grandpa stops to rest along the path. That old fallen pine tree is just about the half-way mark. You hear me son,” Grandma rather sternly told me.
“I will Grandma. I promise,” I again assured my grandmother.
“Bertha, you don’t worry no never mind about us. I’ll be back in time to put on a white shirt and a tie for the proper carving of that there Tom Turkey,” Grandpa firmly stated to Grandma.
Grandpa grabbed his hat from the kitchen cabinet. Buttoned up his jacket.
“Dicky Jim, get your coat boy,” Grandpa told me.
“Be right there Grandpa,” I called as I left the kitchen to grab my coat from the hall closet.
Grandpa and I then walked out the kitchen door, walked out toward the covered porch and on to the backyard of the old Mabey Homestead. We then began walking down Mabey Lane, the road that once connected Route 202 to the old Morris Canal. However, now it only went halfway down to the canal. The rest of the way, one had to walk the path that was the remnant of old Mabey Lane.
As we walked the last portion of Mabey Lane and began walking the forest path, it occurred to me that this walk down to the old canal would probably be Grandpa’s last foot journey to see the old Morris Canal. There was something very different about Grandpa’s stride. It was obvious that Grandpa was in pain. He did his best to hide the pain from me. Still, it was obvious that Grandpa was in a lot of pain. However, his determination to see the old Morris Canal just one more time, outweighed enduring the pain he felt. We soon came to the fallen pine tree.
“Grandma says that we should take a rest here, Grandpa,” I sheepishly told my grandfather.
“Well then, I reckon we better rest up a spell before moving on,” Grandpa sternly said.
Grandpa and I sat up on the old fallen pine tree. A silence fell upon us. Grandpa looked up to the blue sky. Big, fluffy clouds rolled by. Tears began falling down Grandpa’s face. I had never seen the beloved patriarch ever cry before.
To be continued.