Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Katie and Jake bummed that there are no Thanksgiving drippings to fight over.

Our friends Karen and Sam visited for our first Thanksgiving breakfast.

This year we did something a little different which worked out marvelously. My original intent was to make a traditional thanksgiving dinner but that did not work out and it would have been too much work anyhow. My friend Karen suggested having a breakfast which was so much easier and really a pleasant way to start the day visiting with our friends.

We had pumpkin pancakes, chicken apple sausages, baked bartlet pears with apricots, raisens, and almonds, and hot spiced apple cider.

The night before I peeled all the pears to bake in the oven the next day, the sausages I just had to throw on the grilling machine, and the pancakes were easy to make. A half hour or less afterward my kitchen was clean and we were ready to head to Seattle.

I was actually feeling great that day and the weather was clear and sunny which was an added bonus.

This year we had decided to volunteer somewhere but we apparently did not plan far enough ahead. A week and a half before Thanksgiving I scoured the internet and local papers for an opportunity where we could contribute. Surprisingly, it was not as easy to find as I had anticipated. I assumed I would just open the paper to find an ad for volunteer opportunities for thanksgiving day or a master list on the web.

I did run across a Seattle Times article online that said you must reserve early for holiday volunteer activities as they fill up fast. With the article was a link to a few places needing volunteers. Not all of them happened on Thanksgiving and not all of them were close. I found one near us but when I got an email back to my inquiry they no longer needed help.

Another friend I asked had suggested the Union Gospel Mission in Seattle. When I checked out the website it mentioned they serve 3 meals a day 7 days a week. I thought they would surely need help and when I called I was pleased to learn from the intern on the line that they could use us.

So Harley and I were all excited. We were set to volunteer Thanksgiving afternoon at the women's and children's shelter. However, when we got there our names had not been added to the volunteer list! They did not need us. So we walked over the the men's shelter to see if we could chip in there.

When we arrived were many volunteers there also. We were given the task of waiting at the front door for any donations generous people dropped off. After sitting there for close to 2 hours there was only one group who dropped off things for us to help carry in. There was not any other tasks for us to do so we left and enjoyed that last bit of the nice day and setting sun over Elliot Bay.

It was interesting because after all this we had only eaten breakfast and a cheese stick. We did not stop at the open restaurants on the water front as we were in the mood to eat turkey instead of fish. We were sure there would be something open in Redmond so we waited to drive there even though we were famished.

Now here is a thing about gratitude and not fully being able to appreciate it until you are able to experience the other side. When we were down in Seattle we saw the homeless waiting to get out of the cold and enjoy a hot meal. They had no families and on Thanksgiving day they were waiting out on the street with their backpacks or bags of their only belongings. Some were young and some were old. One had to wonder about their lives and how they got there. One boy had to be 16 or 17, maybe even 15. He clearly was a run away. Wow! Can you imagine being a kid and not having a safe home and refuge to go?

So back to my story. I don't think there ever was a Thanksgiving day where I became that hungry. I always had things provided for me and I never witnessed what it was like for people who did not have that. I grew up in Upper Michigan so I never truly was exposed to homeless in the big city.

Like those waiting for a thanksgiving meal, we had to wait for whatever was available. When we got to Redmond (the closet town to our home) we were disappointed to find that none of the restaurants were open. We sure had our bellies set on the Claim Jumper which served turkey meals.

Of course by this time (6 pm or later at night) we were pretty hungry after only having breakfast and wanted something quick and convenient (although I have to say even though McDonald's was the only thing open we were not that desperately hungry). Fortunately Safeway was open where we were able to put together already prepared dishes and a hunk of precooked lunch meat turkey.

So even being hungry we were fortunate to have options: A)McDonald's B)An open grocery store and C) A warm and safe home stocked full of food we could prepare. We were able to afford food and had a shelter.

Experiencing it that way and seeing it that way, I would have to say it was one of the most meaningful thanksgiving's I have known.

1 comment:

Kim said...

WOW!! This is great to see a picture of Karen and Sam!! I haven't seen her in a long time!

What a wonderful idea to volunteer on Thanksgiving. We often have homeless stop into the library to sleep during the day. Some of them are **very** young. It does make one stop and reflect. I would like to take some of these kids home with me if I could.