As immigrants from Norway, it took many years for my parents to embrace the American tradition of Thanksgiving. “Every day should be Thanksgiving Day,” said my mother. “How is it showing thankfulness to have you stuff yourself on this certain Thursday in November?”
By the time we were old enough to insist on the traditions we learned about in school and from our friends, our mom had begun full-time work at St. Anthony’s Hospital cafeteria. She volunteered to work the long shift on holidays, knowing she’d earn time and a half.
In the evening, when the hospital staff trickled down to a few, my family would troop in to have dinner with mom at work. My mother introduced us to some of the doctors as they passed through the line. Some nodded their heads and said, “Pleased to meet you.” One doctor, however, stooped down to tell us what a hard worker our mom was. He said she always made the meal better by serving it with a smile. Then he handed us each smiley face keychains and went back to work.
Smiles do count. Who have you smiled at today?
Today we observe the Day of Thanksgiving (U.S.). Give thanks for all that is good in your life. This message was adapted from “Hospitality and the Kids’ Table” written by Christa von Zychlin that first appeared in the November 2008 issue of Lutheran Woman Today (now Gather) magazine.
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