To celebrate Thanksgiving properly, you really have to have something to be thankful for first….
Mary didn’t. At least she didn’t think she did. Mary was alone once again, and had no one to eat turkey with. She had no one to go to Thanksgiving services with at church. No family. No friends. No car. Her rent was paid until December first, eight more days of a roof over her head, but after that, “Sayonara” to the scrubby room she’d been hanging onto by the skin of her teeth. Unless she was able to scrape the rent together again like she had for the past four months. ]
How had she done that anyway, she wondered? Every time it got to the end of the month, she thought that within the next week she’d be living with the bag ladies she often saw at the soup kitchens where she ate supper on a regular basis. But just enough money turned up to haul her through another month. In August she got an extra unemployment check after she’d already received the last check she thought she’d been authorized. “Government error in your favor,” was the last thing she expected from her Monopoly-game-ridden life where everybody else owned all the real estate and railroads.
Then, in September, on her birthday, she just happened to go into the restaurant where she always went for a free dinner on that day and chanced into being the “birthday person of the month.” She lucked out and was able to sell all the discount coupons that she got for half their face value for just enough money to cover the rent that month.
How did she pay her rent in October? She had trouble remembering. Oh, yeah, that was right, she had been attending the church around the corner from where she lived. She’d been going to the book study group where they did a “check-in go around” each week. She just happened to mention once that she didn’t know how she’d pay her rent this month. The next week she was handed an envelope. The church had made her the recipient of their weekly tithe. Embarrassed, she never went back; Mary even forgot about their kindness, all she could focus on was the humiliation she felt.
Earlier this month when the rent was already past due and she was sure the landlord was going to come stomping up the stairs and kick her out, she’d received notice that she had been approved for heat assistance from the county. The initial disbursement check had covered November’s rent so she was saved another month. There was no way she was going to be that lucky again she thought. “Well, I can’t think about it now,’ she decided. “I don’t know what I am going to do. I suppose I’ll end up homeless by Christmastime, but I guess I might as well get dressed and go have turkey at the Salvation Army. But she really thought, to celebrate Thanksgiving properly by appreciating all she had to be thankful for.