As we traveled out the Pennsylvania Turnpike last week to celebrate Thanksgiving with Grandma, Uncle Brad and Aunt Laura in Johnstown, Bryan kept up a running stream of conversation going for the first leg of our lengthy trip. At first, I tuned out, just wanting to chill and have some quiet time for myself. And, then, I started to really listen to what he was saying.
I questioned the burgundy checked shirt he was wearing for dinner, as I had asked him to wear the Gordon plaid shirt since we were dining with our Gordon clan. He answered that he didn’t want to wear that shirt because he knew it would make his Aunt La sad. Recalling that his dear cousin, Jessie, Brad and Laura’s only child, had died four years ago at Thanksgiving time, he was keenly aware of any triggers that would make his family sad on Thanksgiving Day. At the funeral our whole family was decked in the Gordon tartan to honor our Jessie. That plaid brought back painful memories. Bryan was caring for his family’s well-being.
Usually, Bryan makes up an elaborate and long-winded prayer before we dig in to the delectable and abundant feast. Also thinking of his family, he suggested in the car that he thought this year we should hold hands and sing the Doxology (“so that Aunt La won’t be sad about her daughter.”) And that’s what we did – with four-part harmony on the “Amen”. Not wanting to part with tradition, however, he added “Gobble, gobble Amen” following our musical grace. He and Aunt La also sealed the grace with “baby fives” , which they have done since he was a little tike.
To further enhance our Thanksgiving celebration, Bryan brought along a book he had purchased when he traveled to Plymouth, Massachusetts with his roommate in May. He had also purchased a book from Wegman’s called “1621 – a new look at Thanksgiving” which came in the car as well. He spent the majority of the car trip writing “his studies” on the Pilgrims based on those two books so that he could share what he learned with his family when assembled together.
Part of those writings was a “Pilgrim’s Prayer”. I took a photo of it. Some of it is indecipherable. However, it begins “Heavenly Father, thank you for loving me. I thank you for sending your son our Lord Jesus Christ to the world to save and to set me free…” And I got to thinking – now I know where Bryan learned his caring ways – from both the Father and the Son. I’m thankful for that truth this Thanksgiving-tide!