LONGLEAF STORIES

full circle in the hundred acre wood

I get very emotional on Thanksgiving, and it’s not just onion-induced tears. I am continually staggered by the large scale cruelty and the small, individual acts of petty meanness that occur minute by long minute on our planet.

I am also staggered by resilience and kindness in the face of disease, poverty, and loneliness. This morning, workers on this Thanksgiving morning who helped me at the cash register were cheerful. One young woman this morning was clearly ill, but on deck, working her shift. One of her co-workers rushed to give me a big smile and a hug. I call him the Albertson’s Grocery Ambassador of Goodwill. He has just come back to work after being in the hospital fighting for his life with leukemia. I wasn’t sure he would be coming back, and seeing him took me by surprise. Despite dark circles under his eyes and sweat popping out even in the cold store, he was smiling and triumphant. “Remission,” he said. “That’s where we want to keep it. The doctors have told me the next time it comes back it will kill me, so we’re all trying to keep it pushed away as long as possible,” he gestured way away with his arm.

Buck and Harold came in a little while ago. Neither saw any deer. Buck saw seven turkeys and enjoyed watching the gobblers preen. Harold was eager for some hot coffee and to tell some stories. Busy chopping and sauteing, I caught shards of his sentences as he talked about Thanksgivings past. . . .  “that gun would kick hard, it would kick you into next week, . . .”     “Paw in law run over his shot gun with the tractor and tore it up, . . .” I had Paw’s old long tom gun ’til my brother stole it. . . .”

Some of the kids are coming by soon for a casual lunch: baked ham with a bourbon honey glaze, fresh fruit, miniature quiches, smoked turkey, cranberry sauce, yeast rolls and pie.

Life is too short, and so precious.

 

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