three sons and a daughter. They moved in their single wide trailer in early fall, Thanksgiving week came, and I became worried that they might not have food. On Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I went to the grocery store and bought a turkey and all the trimmings for them, thinking that I would deliver the food that afternoon so they could cook it on Thanksgiving Day.
Now other neighbors had begun to make rumblings about this family.......they were dirty, they didn't work, etc. But the neighbor nearest to them had told me their story. None of them could read or write, none of them knew how to use a phone. The mom and older brother were both ill.
The father was dead.
I drove up in the driveway, knocked on the door and told the youngest son that I had groceries for them. ........that they could cook their Thanksgiving dinner. He looked at me, and shook his head, at first I thought that they didn't want the food, but finally what he was saying made sense. They had never had a turkey, his mother didn't know how to cook it.
I took a deep breath, and told him not to worry that I would cook their meal and bring it to them the next day. So on Thanksgiving morning, I cooked two of everything, including two turkeys.
They lived down the road from us for five or six years, every Thanksgiving, every Christmas
I cooked two meals, one for us, one for them.
I learned a lot from these neighbors. I learned that we have people in this country who are invisible, who because of the cards that life has dealt them, we walk by them and turn our heads.
They were dirty, because they could not afford running water. They fell through the cracks of the system and were lost. They had nothing, but you could hear them laugh daily.
It was interesting, this family........while they lived in our neighborhood, we had several storms.
After one storm, there were limbs and trees down everywhere on our property. The boys came over and helped Rick clear every bit of the debris. One of the boys died helping a motorist who was broken down on the side of the road. As he helped them with their car, a passing car struck
him and killed him.
As the years passed the elder son who was ill died, and then the mother died. The son and daughter who were left, moved away. As far as worldly goods, this family had nothing.
But they were always there to lend a helping hand, and any time they were helped, their gratitude was amazing.
I think about them every Thanksgiving and Christmas, the lessons I learned from them.
I was just as guilty as any of the other neighbors when they moved in, passing judgement on them.........but my life was changed by knowing them, I was humbled by knowing them. I am grateful that my life was touched by them.