The smell of Thanksgiving dinner lured the small boy out of his chair. He tossed the controller of his X-Box onto the cushion. Following the aroma of turkey and fresh baked cookies, Tommy peeked around the corner into the kitchen. With his mother’s back to the archway, he quietly tiptoed over to the countertop, and grabbed two chocolate chip cookies. They were still warm from the oven. Just as his mother turned his direction, he thrust them into the pocket of his hoodie, a few crumbs fell and stuck to his socks.

“Oh, good! I was about to call you. I need you to get on your heavy coat and boots,” his mother said. “It’s cold outside.”

“What? Where are we going? It’s Thanksgiving!” complained Tommy with a frown. “And I haven’t finished my game!”

His mother picked up a roll of tinfoil and covered the turkey. When she finished, she collected all the food to put into boxes. With a patient smile, his mother prodded, “Go on–we don’t want to be late.”

With a final scowl, he let out a large sigh and mumbled, “Don’t see why we gotta go out in the snow. Not when it’s warm inside and we’ve got all this food.” Despite his unhappiness, he did as his mother instructed. Pulling on his snow boots, he stood and zipped his jacket up to the collar. He wobbled back into the kitchen and picked up a box, following his mother into the garage.

Sinking into the front seat of the car, his curiosity got the better of him. He perked up and repeated his earlier question, “Where are we going, Mom?”

His mother backed the car out of the garage and down the snow-lined drive. Her gloved hands holding onto the steering wheel firmly as she navigated the salted streets. Keeping her eyes on the road ahead, she spoke softly. “I know how much you miss you father, and how hard it’s been for you since he left. But he’s serving our country, and I’m proud of him. This Thanksgiving, I think we can best honor your father by doing our part to help the people here at home.”

Tommy’s face softened. He missed his dad. It wasn’t easy having him gone. But his mom was right, if there was something he could do to honor his father, he wanted to help. As they pulled up to a large, run-down building, he noticed the people lined up outside. They huddled with thread-bare blankets, some without coats or boots. He noticed how warm his feet were and how cozy his jacket felt. Suddenly, he felt guilty for the way he had acted earlier in the kitchen.

“Mom, what can I do to help?” he asked.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? YOU DECIDE!

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As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, I am reminded how thankful I am for all the blessings in my life. I have a loving family, a roof over my head, ample food in my belly, and warm clothes to keep away the cold. Our daily routine makes it easy to forget about the little things we take for granted. We shouldn’t. What we see as our basic necessities, others see as luxuries. Thanksgiving is a time to reflect, to give thanks, and to acknowledge the gifts we have been given.

I want to thank all of our military personnel for their service. The sacrifice you make to keep our families and our country safe do not go unnoticed. Your bravery and compassion are appreciated, and I commend you for your selfless act of courage. 

From our family to yours…

Happy Thanksgiving,

K. Lamb