Thanksgiving 2015: A Sweet Story, Pudgy Hands, and an Invitation

Are you a thankful person? Do you ever think about what your life would be like without certain blessings? Robert Emmons, touted as one of the world’s leading experts on the science of gratitude, says that “one effective way of stimulating gratitude” is to reflect on what you would be missing without the people, places, or possessions you value.

A Sweet Story

Some people are simply grateful for daily bread, like the two brothers cited in a Random Act of Kindness story published in AARP November 2015 issue. But then they got the surprise of their lives!


David Parsons, then age 5, remembers a time when his Dad on the way to share a Thanksgiving dinner with him at school stumbled upon two brothers whose parents couldn’t afford the quarter for each of them to enjoy turkey and pumpkin pie. David’s dad noticed the boys on the steps of the lunchroom, trying to hide their humble sandwiches wrapped in wax paper, looking down at their feet in embarrassment.

Dad stopped with his hand on my shoulder. The expression on his face softened. He dug into his trouser pockets and found two shiny quarters. He called the boys by name and said, “We will all eat turkey and dressing today.” He gently pressed a quarter into each of their hands and opened the lunchroom door.

David remarks, “On that day compassion was given and received. I saw it in the eyes of those two boys. It was a lesson I’ve never forgotten.”

Powerful Posture

Gratitude can be expressed with our eyes open, our hands relaxed, looking straight ahead. But during this season of thanksgiving, it is lovely to contemplate eyes closed in gratitude, hands clasped in praise.


Pudgy hands and some slightly older hands held in gratitude . . .

Grace before the ham loaf dinner, circa 2010 Patrick, Curtis, and Sarah
Grace before the ham loaf dinner, circa 2010
Patrick, Curtis, and Sarah

For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.  Psalm 100:4  KJV

Two Invitations: Write a short story (250 words) or simply tell one


  • Why not connect with someone from a younger (or older) generation. Here is a link that will get you to the audio interview:
  •  If David Parsons’ story in the introduction sparked an incident you can recount from your own experience, tell your good-deed experience in 250 words or less and submit it to (Please cut and paste this link into your own browser.) You may be chosen to feature in a future publication!


I am thankful for you, dear reader, who appear here often, sometimes once a week to read and comment. Whether you read and respond or just stop by to read the postings, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.   ♥


Coming next: Learning 101: Role Reversal




45 thoughts on “Thanksgiving 2015: A Sweet Story, Pudgy Hands, and an Invitation

  1. Flip, Marian, a tear or three or four and a big lump in my throat as I read this. Lord knows, there is so so much to be grateful for. Bless David’s father for teaching his son and the receivers, the two other boys, in a moment of ‘ordinary kindness’ the value of compassion. Thank you. May you and your family enjoy the best Thanksgiving ever …


    1. I wonder whether this day is celebrated in South Africa – and how. One thing for sure, you are moving into warmer weather, probably with spring & summer flowers abounding, another thing to be thankful for! Thanks for showing up here often, Susan. 😉


      1. No, we don’t have Thanksgiving in SA Marian. We’ve got into the Halloween story. The big day is Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Crackers, tables groaning with food, braaivleis (barbecue), hot hot weather … swimming pools if we’re fortunate to have them… and right now it is seriously hot. 🙂


  2. Good morning, Marian!
    Thank you for this sweet post, and for the reminder of the Storycorps Thanksgiving project. I had posted something on FB about it, but then forgot about it. 😉
    Wishing you and your family a very happy Thanksgiving!


    1. Me too! I’ll be a hypocrite if I don’t “practice what I preach” here.

      I know you will enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving with your extended family, and we’ll probably hear a litany of praise on Monday – enjoy!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Marian, you are such a good weaver of stories and opportunities to tell and preserve them. This post is wonderful. When I worked at the Fetzer Institute, Robert Emmons and David Issay, the founder of Story Corps, both came to my attention. There is so much to be grateful for in our troubled world. Today I am grateful for you and this lovely blog.


    1. You are have connections to people with powerful and positive messages. World news feels worse these days simply because we hear all about it sooner and with much more force because of media attention + the vitriol attached to how viewers respond. The Fetzer Institute dedicated as it is to a message of hope and peace does much to counteract that.

      I have been following the excitement at your most recent writers’ retreat on Facebook. You are living life to the hilt!

      Bless you for your expressions of gratitude. I accept that, Shirley. And Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!


      1. Canadian Thanksgiving is the second Sunday in October. I wished everyone in Spain a Happy Thanksgiving and they loved it. They had heard of American Thanksgiving but not the Canadian celebration. I tend to be thankful everyday!!


  4. Happy Thanksgiving Marian. Our celebrations are mid-October, but I don’t mind celebrating again. I have friends -he’s Canadian and she’s American…so they celebrate both with all the trimmings! Yum!
    Thankful for you!


    1. Thanks for setting me straight on the Canadian Thanksgiving date, Jenn. I like your friends’ response to the double holiday – celebrate twice!

      Thanks for the compliment, Jenn. Sure thing!


  5. What a wonderful post. It’s amazing the love one can show with such a small gesture. Although that was a huge thing for those boys that day. I praise God for so many things in my life. A great one is the blessing to have and am a part of your family being my family.

    Last night Mark called me at 9:00pm. You know it’s 10:00pm in PA. Worried about me because he saw the shooting on the streets if Chicago. I assured him I’m an hour away in a very safe town, so he was relieved. I feeling so happy that he love and worries about me. What a wonderful moment for me my eyes got teary. My friend that was over asked is everything all right . I smiled said yes my spiritual brother was worried about us . God is solid good to for all the wonderful people he has placed in my life. May you my wonderful spiritual sister have a lovely Thanksgiving.


    1. I had to smile when I read about Mark’s response to what he saw on TV. That is SO like him! He used to call us when he saw a hurricane heading toward Jacksonville. Usually the press made it worse than it was, as far as our city was affected. Still, he cared!

      Yes, it is such a blessing that we share “family” in more ways than one, Gloria. Happy Thanksgiving!


  6. Marian — Thank you for this lovely post and links to the Storycorps Thanksgiving project. What better harvest could there be than consciously gathering awareness of all the good in our midst. . . collectively giving thanks for all we have, all we have to give, and all we receive.

    Thanksgiving blessings to you and yours.


  7. Thank you, Marian, for including us in your enjoyable ‘harvests.’ I love to find how you gather thoughts and memories and quotes and share them with us.


    1. I’m always on the lookout for grist for the blog mill. Much of what you see here comes from what I read. Much of today’s post came from the AARP bulletin (American Association of Retired Persons). Maybe you are not old enough to subscribe – teehee! 🙂

      I’m glad we have three connections right now: Facebook, this blog, and our writing class. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, Dolores! And of course, happy writing.


      1. I love our connections too, including the writing class. (I got interested in the class from your posting about it.)


  8. Ah, the difference two shiny quarters–and a good heart–can make in the lives of so many. We take AARP and yet reading this in your post, followed by beautiful pudgy hands clasped in prayer, gave thankfulness new meaning. Thank you, Marian, and Thanksgiving blessings for you and your family.


    1. We both know that the best way to counter the vitriolic exchanges in this sad world is to broadcast the good. I have read so many examples of that on your own blog post, particularly excerpts from your mother’s teaching life.

      Love, joy, peace to you and yours during this happy season, Marylin.


  9. Happy thanksgiving Marian such a delightful post thank you for the link . We obviously don’t celebrate thanksgiving over here in the UK but I think we should because we have so much to be thankful for .
    You might be grateful to us for responding but we are grateful for such inspiring posts from you every week . I have learnt so much about your life and wonderful county …thank you .
    🌽🍗🍽 Cherryx


  10. I love reading these heartwarming stories. Thanks Marian. I hope you’re enjoying a wonderful Thanksgiving with all of your loved ones. I’m thankful for the wonderful friends I’ve made right here in the blogosphere and writing world. I often feel more comfortable with my friends here who share my world than I do with the people in my actual life. It’s truly amazing that the people in my real life don’t even read books! ❤


    1. I can certainly relate to your last two sentences. Yes, we have enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving together. When I got back home, I downloaded your new book on my Kindle/Mac – great reading for a semi-lazy weekend. Brava, Debby!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks so much for your friendship and support Marian. I’m glad you had a lovely day. And oh, I’m very surprised to hear that you also don’t have a circle of readers. Where on earth did we come from? LOL 🙂


  11. Yes to the power of love and giving. Thanksgiving gets my vote for best holiday. I loved driving through Ithaca on the way to a friend’s house and seeing quiet roads, empty parking lots at a shopping mall, and dark storefronts. I’m sure today is a mad house (I’m staying home), but I love the pause. For just a few hours, most of a day, praise is more important than commerce.

    One of my sons was in California. The other with in-laws in North Carolina. They’ll be here for December holidays and to mark the 100th birthday of their grandma. I stayed close to home which I often do and feasted with friends. It was vegetarian. My mother-in-law wants turkey and doesn’t want to go out, so she feasted with friends at her residence. My friends and I held hands and said a prayer before every course. It was the seventh Thanksgiving without Vic so I also took time to cry.,


    1. Thank you for this pause for praise. It seems everyone was happy with Thanksgiving arrangements including your mother in law. Cliff’s brother and our sister-in-law joined us for the celebration for their first time ever on the East coast. (They’re from Washington state.)

      Today my sister Jan and niece invited me to the Town Center, a jagunda-size mall, for lunch and shopping. I acquiesced just so we could spend time together. I like pretty things, but I hate shopping, particularly on Black Friday. I can’t tell you the last time I ventured out on this maddening day. Still, I came back with some charcoal-toned tights (1/2 price) that will keep me warm as I sit on my writing chair. The bag it came in spelled in large letters WANT/FIND, LOVE/KEEP :-/

      Yes, I think our losses come in to sharper focus on holidays. My heart ached this week for my mother who has been gone now for two Thanksgivings. My condolences to you as your mark the 7th year without Vic. Crying doesn’t fix things, but it helps us vent.

      Thanks for listening, Elaine.


  12. Thank you for sharing David Parsons’ story. A little kindness goes a long way. His Dad really handled the situation with compassion.

    We had a wonderful Thanksgiving here at home with our daughters, their husbands and our grands. It sounds like yours also was a grand day, including the mini-shopping spree the day after. We didn’t venture toward a mall until after dinner on Friday. By then, the crowds had thinned out considerably. 😉


  13. We are blessed with fine families – and the occasional snafu. I can tell you are enjoying this last year of teaching, savoring each month as it passes by. Your stories about students on Facebook are gems. Thanks for stopping by again for a visit, Judy.


        1. When I think of Normandy, I think of its beaches and history classes about the 2nd World War. But there is also the mythical castle there too, Mont St. Michel. If you have friends there, you have a good excuse to go again.

          Liked by 1 person

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