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Giving at Thanksgiving

This year for Thanksgiving we decided to hostess a party
for the homeless. We rented the Grange Hall and set out to
see how many homeless we could find. We could find only
11, nine men and two women, who said they would be
happy to come. “As long as you don’t spend the day prayin’
over us,” said Mike. “Some of them churches are fierce
about prayin’ fer our immortal souls.” We assured him we
would not.

We decided also to rent showers at the grange and that
meant finding towels and clean clothes for everybody. Our
charity shop helped and we were soon in business, but I
had not counted on the mounds of everything for 11
people. Fortunately we were able to take the stuff up the
day before, so all we had to concentrate on was dinner.
Two of our good friends, Hazel and Joanne, came to help
and we assigned them to shower duty. Kate rounded up
our folks while I supervised in the kitchen. We cooked two
turkeys and had all the fixings to go along, but it was all a
tremendous amount of work.

There was great whooping and hollering from the shower
area as our guests were having fun getting clean. I had
picked up dresses for the two women and they loved them.
Soon everyone gathered at the dinner table and I asked
each one to name something they were grateful for. The
weather was a popular topic as we were having a mild fall
so far. I was particularly impressed when Nora said she
was grateful that there were good folks left in the world
who would provide such a happy day for “us down ‘n
outers.”

We had a great meal and afterwards played Bingo. I had
made arrangements with Denny’s to get fifteen meals for
them as prizes, which the homeless appreciated as much
as money. They could get warm and eat and enjoy some
time like regular folks.

The first prize went to Mike for a standard Bingo and he
was delighted. It soon became apparent that he was flirting
with Nora and it was fun to watch. He pretended to be
helping her with her Bingo card, but nudged her and made
eyes at her as they played. At first she brushed him off, but
then became interested and flirted back.

Joanne won the next game and was embarrassed to do so.
“I didn’t mean to call Bingo,” she said. “It just came out. I
don’t want to take the prize.” But our guests insisted that
she had to eat, too, and Ben said he would be glad to go
with her when the time came. With that, Joanne blushed
furiously and said she would see what could be worked out.
Another homeless man named Ben won the next game. He
was so excited he almost fell off his chair and was very
happy to get his prize.

And so it went into the late afternoon. After our Bingo
session, I had left food on the dining table so they could
pick as they wanted and many were happily eating again.
Mike was still putting moves on Nora and stood to make an
announcement. “This has been the best Thanksgiving I
can ever remember,” he said. “We had wonderful food and
good games and fine showers and we are warm and
comfortable. What more could we ask of life?”

Then he cleared his throat, shuffled his feet and continued,
“And I want to say special thanks to our hostesses for
bringing us together for this very happy day.” It seemed he
wanted to say more, but hesitated, then plunged forward.
“And I want to tell you all that Nora and I are getting
together to see how things work out between us.” He
bowed and sat while everyone clapped and cheered.
And no matter where they found to live, it had been a
perfect Thanksgiving.