This year, Billy Flood’s Thanksgiving was defined by his father’s wisdom.
We did something different for Thanksgiving, as a family. I’ve been very blessed growing up and have had a home cooked day of thanks meal ever since I can remember. My parents being in their 70s and with chronic ailments, we decided to go out for today’s meal. We ordered a whole turkey dinner with all the fixings from a store (to have the traditional turkey leftovers for weeks lol) and put it in the fridge, put on fancy clothes and went to Claudia Sanders.
Yup. That’s the one. The Thanksgiving buffet was everything you could imagine, from scratch. The place was packed as always, but we didn’t have to wait long for a seat, as we only had 3 in our party. After we went through the line, we said our prayers and sat down for the main event, eating. Picture KFC, but with the REAL original recipe, made ACTUALLY from scratch. Now that your jaw is on the floor, you get the quality of the bounty that set before us.
I am convinced that when good food and love meet at a table, the best conversations are had. My father, a Vietnam vet, despite having been a sports writer, is a man of few words. However when I asked his opinion on what he was thankful for, he spoke wisdom.
He said he was thankful to be alive. That was to be expected after his ICD put him into V-tach earlier this year. It malfunctioned and almost killed him. So I expected that. What he said next was powerful. He said, “I am thankful for this family, and I am thankful to have raised sons that are interested in making things better for all of us. I am thankful for all of our health. I am thankful that right now, at this moment we are together, and happy. I am thankful that God has blessed me to be here to say this.”
And he went back to eating. He basically dropped the mic by wiping his mouth with the green linen napkin, and went back to his corn pudding, sweet potato casserole, buttermilk biscuits, fresh fried original recipe chicken, steamed peas, and tea. My mother just looked at me and smiled. We all later spoke of usual things, politics, religion, the new minister at so and so church etc, but as we got back into the car to leave, my fathers earlier words stayed with me. Just being thankful. Looking at what is bad often and constantly trying to fix it, can allow you not to recognize the good. What a lesson on this day of thanks.
I will always work to dismantle oppression and give a voice to the voiceless. However that doesn’t mean I cannot stop and be thankful about being surrounded by love today. I have a full stomach of home cooked Kentucky cuisine, and a heart as full as the bluegrass is wild.
Originally published at Billy Flood’s Blog.
Photo courtesy of the author.