50 States Happy Thanksgiving!
Thanksgiving morning, 2:00 a.m., 1986
The turkey was in the oven, ready and waiting to be baked. Other dishes sat in the refrigerator and on the counter. The place was neat and clean, ready for family and guests.
And our house stood in flames.
Outside, standing in eight inches of snow, stood my family; Sherri, the four children and me. DG and Linda, two single women who lived with us stood too, watching the inferno, reflecting orange on the snow like birthday candles on icing.
"Come on, where is the fire truck?" I muttered as the fire got larger. I looked at my family, shivering in the snow. I turned to Sherri. "You're freezing. Go to the Skovron's house."
"I can't wake them up," she said, "it's two in the morning."
"Of course we can," I replied in my irritating, patient tone, "Our house is on fire. It's okay." We trooped over to their front door and I rang the bell. Mike and Patty took us in right away.
The firemen arrived and got right to work. While they used hoses to douse the flames, they used chainsaws to cut wood off and tossed it into the snow. Sherri heard the saws and said, "Are those chainsaws I hear? Are they cutting up my house?" The house we built and moved into six months ago. "Yep."
Occasionally a firefighter would throw roofing or a smoldering roof truss into the snow. Soon neighbors assembled, the firefighting activity startling them awake. Each family offered assistance, any way they could. The Vicknairs took Linda, the Hulberts made room for DG, and our family got to squeeze into the Newton's home before the sunrise appeared over the ashes.
I remember standing in front of the pyre, my feet in untied boots with no socks, the kids and girls next door safe and warm and my heart overflowed with thanksgiving.
"Thank you God."
The house? Who cares? We could rebuild. After they extinguished the fire, a marshall took us aside. "We can offer you
assistance for shelter, courtesy of the Red Cross."
"Thanks," I said, "But we're covered. I dwell among my people."
The people I referred to were neighbors that attended our church. Willing to lend a hand and do what it took to get us through a tough time.
Later that long day, seated at my brother's and his wife's house-they too pulled together and got the celebration moved-I sat on the couch, watched the kids at play and got all choked up.
Best Thanksgiving ever.
Keep it in perspective.
* Not our house. Sample house only. Do not attempt. Should you set your house on fire, similar results are not guaranteed. Should you set your house on fire and you have the following conditions; burns, heat rash, smoky clothing, trashed belongings or furnishings, stop the fire immediately and call the fire department. The Parsons' results are no guarantee that you or others will achieve similar results.
Not our Thanksgiving Dinner. Sample only. Do not attempt. Should you make a Thanksgiving Dinner, similar results are not guaranteed. Should you eat a Thanksgiving Dinner and experience the following conditions; stomach ache, bloated, sleepy, tired, contented or full, stop the Thanksgiving Dinner immediately and retire to the closest couch until conditions abate. Note; Kevin and QG actually ate at IHOP.