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Alonzo Weston

Alonzo Weston

In Thanksgiving days of my youth, I’d wake to the smells of turkey, pies, collard greens and yams coming from our kitchen. My grandmother, great-grandmother and mother toiled in the hot kitchen creating the culinary incense. The beckoning smells wafted through the whole house, stoking my appetite as I watched the Macy’s parade on our black-and-white TV.

Soon uncles, aunts, cousins and family friends would crowd inside our drafty old two-story house on 16th Street to give thanks and partake in the homemade feast.

The unbuckling of belts, after-meal naps and football would come later.

Each year there would be another empty plate at the dining room table. The plate sat in memory of those who either passed on or couldn’t come.

As the years passed, more empty plates were set. Each vacancy was a reminder of family and friends who truly made it a grand holiday.

Today the old house on 16th Street is a vacant weedy lot. Memories of past Thanksgivings still come to mind and fill the empty lot when I drive by. I can see and hear it all again. The smells are just as pungent and the laughter just as jovial as when they were created.

How I miss those days and get caught up in misty-eyed memories when I look back.

Today my grandmother, aunts, uncles and dad have passed on to sit at the Lord’s grownup table in heaven.

Mom is in a nursing home, and no turkey smells float through my house. We, like many people, eat Thanksgiving dinner in a restaurant because there aren’t that many to cook for and sit at our table. The dog won’t get his yearly floor-dropping feast of turkey, mac and cheese and dressing. He might get a doggie bag or an extra dollop of dog food, but no football and a house full of people to greet and jump on.

No matter what I don’t have, I still give thanks for all I do have. I have my health, my family and my dog.

I’m thankful to even have Thanksgiving this year as the COVID virus snatched it away last year.

I’m thankful for the Open Door Food Kitchen, which feeds the homeless and destitute a Thanksgiving meal.

We can all give thanks for something.

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