Thursday, November 24, 2011
U Can't stuff this
From Paul, Sonja, David, Jenny, Sandra, Donnie, Bill the Goat, Tommy Boy, Felton John, Poobah, Cletus, Co-Co and La-La...HAPPY THANKSGIVING and GO CARDS!
We offer this story for you today from a reader who tells us about a very special Thanksgiving memory and the aspects of giving.
It was a couple of days before Thanksgiving many years back, and most of the students/frat brothers were making plans to go home for the holidays. Since I was local, it was no big deal for me. Just hop in the car, make the 20 minute drive and I was there.
I saw the building's custodian early that morning and we chatted for awhile. I asked him about his Thanksgiving plans and he told me was going to the downtown Walgreens to have his dinner. Back then, some of them still had luncheonette counters. I asked why he didn't spend time with his family and he point-blank told me
"I don't have any family."
He went on to explain that his parents had been dead for some time, he had been an only child and he hadn't kept up with his dad's brother or mother's brother in years.
I thought about that as I got ready to go sit down with my family for Thanksgiving. How lucky I was to be able to share it with my family. That I wasn't alone in the world.
I made a slight detour before heading out to my parents' house. Went to the Walgreens. Asked the counter waitress if she knew the custodian. She did. I gave her some cash, enough to pay for his dinner, a piece of pie and a tip for her. I asked her not to tell him who did this. She was touched. She promised she wouldn't .
I graduated that next spring, went out of town for a few years on my first job, but made it back down to the frat house for a football homecoming party and asked about the custodian. I was told he had died of a heart attack two years earlier, while on the job. I remembered his lack of family situation and wondered aloud who buried him.
The young man I was talking to said..."We did. He'd do this big deal for us each year...hang Christmas stockings on our doors for us and we'd find them after we returned from Christmas break. Candy, snacks, and gift certificates to Walgreens. So, when we found out he didn't have anybody, we realized that he had US and we took up a collection, talked to a local funeral home who gave us a pretty good rate and we took care of it. Funny, we were the only ones at the viewing except for this lady who showed up late. She was a waitress. She said she knew him from Walgreens. We were just going to have him cremated but she tells us she has these couple of graveyard plots and she'd give one up for him to be buried there. Tells us that she'd been in love with him for years but she was too shy and unconfident to tell him. Tells us that she'd like him to rest next to her when she eventually died. She had enjoyed him coming in most afternoons for lunch and that he had asked her a week before he died if maybe she'd consider going to a movie with him. They never got to do that, but it meant to her that maybe her love wasn't unrequieted."
As you enjoy your Thanksgiving season, remember those less fortunate than you and do what you can. Sometimes, it can set off a wonderful chain of responses.
(Author's name withheld by request)