Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024 |
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I decided to wander the world on Thanksgiving and ask whoever I met what they were thankful for.
I came upon a little boy in Gaza in the terrible war, his clothes were tattered and his face was dirty. Bombs were booming all around. I asked him what he was thankful for. He smiled and said with all the fighting he was glad to be alive and had a piece of bread to eat.
I wandered to the war in Ukraine and found a mother clutching her young daughter. I asked her what she was thankful for and she said she was thankful she still had her daughter and a blanket to keep them warm in the freezing nights.
On I went to far away Africa. In the middle of a dusty plain there was a proud-looking Black woman standing on a dusty road with a pitcher on her head.
I asked her what she was thankful for and she said she was glad she only had to walk five miles a day to fill her pitcher with water to keep her six children alive.
I then traveled to India. On the muddy banks of the Ganges River was a skinny man wearing only a loin cloth and a white cloth around his head. He was sitting cross-legged in the mud. He had nothing. I asked him what he was thankful for. He looked up at me and said, “Anything.”
I traveled to the Mexican border and met a Mexican man and his young son. I asked him the question and he said he was thankful he had three tortillas and some butter to feed his son and him. He said they always hurt from being hungry.
Finally landing in Kona, I walked up to a homeless man lying on the sidewalk and asked him what he was thankful for. He said he’d be thankful if I gave him a dollar because he hadn’t eaten anything all day long and his stomach was growling.
Then I was sitting down at Thanksgiving looking at the big succulent turkey gleaming on a platter, the mountain of fluffy mash potatoes spilling over with sweet gravy, the jiggling round of cranberry sauce, the delicious stuffing and pumpkin pies melting with vanilla ice cream.
At the table was the whole family, uncles and aunties, sisters and brothers. We sat through the usual Thanksgiving speech someone gives before we eat. A nice dinner but just another fancy meal to us. Sister said she couldn’t stand pumpkin pie, and brother complained the stuffing was too cold to eat. No one liked white meat.
Then I looked up and standing behind us were the starving souls I’d met in the world. There was the little boy from Gaza, and the mother and daughter from Ukraine, the African woman and her starving children. There was the skinny man from India, the Mexican man and his little boy, and the Kona homeless man.
They were all gazing at our Thanksgiving dinner with their mouths open, wishing, almost crying to have one tiny bite or smell of that glorious food.
Be thankful. We have so much. Happy Thanksgiving.
Dennis Gregory writes a bi-monthly column for West Hawaii Today and welcomes your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org