View Full Version : The Bag Lady and Thanksgiving Dinner

Phantom Blooper
11-22-07, 06:47 PM
It was very cold and a light snow was falling as young Jimmy Dorche
piloted his Ford Escort down the street toward the city park. Snow on
Thanksgiving was a rarity in this part of the country and it caused
almost as much excitement as the traditional turkey dinner, the
traditional afternoon of football, or the Macy's Thanksgiving Day
Parade on television. But none of these things were on 17-year-old
Jimmy's mind at the moment as he carefully maneuvered his car over the
blacktop. He had his own tradition to tend to and what he was looking
for he would probably find in the deserted park.

Usually bustling with activity, even on cold days, the park was
practically empty now. Everyone was home with friends and family
enjoying their Thanksgiving turkey. Jimmy was tempted to have a bit
more dinner himself, but his second helping sat on the car seat beside
him along with a big hunk of Mom's homemade pumpkin pie and a Thermos
bottle of hot coffee. Jimmy wouldn't succumb to temptation and eat
more today.

For the past two years, Jimmy had established a tradition for himself.
He had never suffered a hungry day in his life. The son of an unwed
teenaged mother, he was given up for adoption as an infant and was
taken in by a Christian family. When he was fifteen, to honor his Lord
as well as his parents, he decided to take his second helping of
Thanksgiving dinner to the park to share with a homeless man or woman.

His first year, he had found a man who had been on his own since he
was thirteen. In the summer he worked odd jobs, but in winter he lived
at the local rescue mission where he earned an occasional dollar by
cleaning up the place. The second year, he shared his Thanksgiving
dinner with an elderly man whose wife had died long before and his
children had moved to another city. They never contacted their father
nor offered to help him in any way. "I reckon they're ashamed of me,"
the rheumy old man had said.

Throughout the year, Jimmy often thought about the two men. He had
gone to the mission to try to find them, but they were gone without a
trace. Now Jimmy wondered who he would meet this Thanksgiving.

As soon as he arrived at the park, he saw a ragged woman sitting
hunched over on the bench of one of the heavy concrete picnic tables
provided by the city. She wore an old battered red coat and a dark
wool cap over her matted, graying hair. Close beside her was the
tattered bag that carried all her worldly possessions.

Jimmy pulled the car into a parking place and got out. He took the
covered dishes and the Thermos bottle from the front seat and began
walking toward the bag lady. When he stood in front of her, she jumped
as if she had suddenly been awakened from dozing. She looked up at
Jimmy. Suddenly her eyes brightened and she started to speak but,
instead, she lowered her head and stared at the frozen ground.

"God bless you, ma'am," Jimmy said, smiling. "I have brought you some
Thanksgiving dinner. Would you do me the honor of sharing it with me."

The woman looked at the food. She was very hungry -- she hadn't eaten
since last night's dinner at the mission. She nodded and Jimmy served
her food, uncovered the plates, put a napkin and silverware on the
cold concrete picnic table, and poured her a streaming cup of coffee
from the Thermos. Then he watched her as she ate. Although it was very
cold in the park, he felt warm inside. The God of love was clearly at
work within him. He loved his tradition and he intended to continue it
-- and more -- for the rest of his life.

When the woman had finished, he cleared the table and put the dishes
into a pile. He poured another cup of coffee into her Styrofoam cup
and closed the Thermos. Then he reached into his wallet and pulled out
a twenty dollar bill. He thrust the money into her gnarled hand. Then
he reached over and kissed her lightly on the forehead.

"May God richly bless you, ma'am," he said softly. "And thank you for
giving me the honor of sharing my Thanksgiving dinner with you." With
that, Jimmy picked up his dishes and returned to the car.

She had stayed in the city purposely to see him grow, but remained
carefully in the background and out of sight so she would not
embarrass him or cause him pain. Her own life was a shambles -- time
spent in state mental hospitals and, at other times, living on the
streets. But she had seen him grow into manhood and was very proud of
his many accomplishments. Today, she had longed to tell him who she
was, but could not bring herself to do it. Instead she thanked God
that He had so richly blessed her today, in spite of her trials.

Tears welled up in her eyes. She had seen her son on Thanksgiving
and he had loved his mother. :cry: