Monday, November 25, 2013

The Last Thanksgiving

A little something different today from One Ringing Bell.
The year 2033

Somewhere in the United States of America

On a fall day, as Kara  stands in the kitchen working turkey flavored textured protein dough into bars, her ten-year-old daughter Leia pulls on her sweater, “Mama, let’s look at pictures from when you were little.”

Kara places a bar on a cookie sheet for baking. “Old pictures? Sounds a little boring.”

Leia leans against her mom, “I love hearing about the good old days.”


Kara smiles. “All right, but my hands are covered in dough. Pull my computer from my back pocket and plug it into the refrigerator port. We can look at pictures while I finish the turkey bars.”

As the device seats in the port, the refrigerator screen springs to life. “Good morning, how can I help you today, Kara?”

“Well, Hiri, can you finish making these protein bars?” Kara laughs.

“I wish I could. I have a fondness for those bars, because my mother, Siri, first stored the recipe for them.” Hiri lets go an electronic giggle. “Is there something I can do that’s more compatible with my features?”

“Leia wants to look at old pictures--maybe from around 2012 or 2013.”

“Searching the nebula for data,” Hiri says. The screen dances with digital photos.

“Those are great,” Kara squeals.

“You’re welcome,” Hiri responds.

Leia points to a picture of Kara in a school uniform. “Mom, what’s that on your back?”

“A backpack--we put our books in it for school.”

Leia appears incredulous and asks, “You didn’t have books on your computer?”

Kara's forgotten how much life has changed as she places the last protein bar on the cookie sheet. “We had eBooks, but not many textbooks on computer. Computers are so much smaller now. You have everything you need in your pocket."

Leia enlarges a photo of a group of people gathered around a table. “Is that your family? And what’s that in the middle of the table?”

Kara laughs as she wipes her hands on a bamboo towel. “That’s a real baked turkey, and that’s our family at Thanksgiving dinner.” Bittersweet feelings creep over her as the memories return.

“Thanksgiving dinner?” Leia asks.

Kara eases onto a kitchen stool as she explains. “All the family gathered together on a special day to thank God for our blessings as the first settlers did back in the 1600’s. But, I believe 2013 was our last Thanksgiving.”

Leia appears puzzled.

“Up until that point, stores had closed on Thanksgiving, because it was such a special holiday. That last year they started opening for business part of the day. As usual, your grandmother cooked a big meal for the whole family, but your great Aunt Susan pushed back from the table before she even took a bite of her turkey because she dashed out to get in line to buy an Xbox for Christmas for my cousin, Jeff.”

“What’s an Xbox, and why didn’t they just visit a virtual store?”

Kara shakes her head. “Xbox was a gaming system, and virtual stores weren’t like they are today.” Kara sighs. “Your Great Uncle Mike announced he saw a cheap flat screen at a discount store, so he tore out right after Susan.”

Leia’s brow furrows. “If houses didn’t come with screens in the walls, where did Hiri live?”

“Hiri wasn’t around then, so she didn’t need a place to live,” Kara responds. “Anyway, your grandmother grew sad because everyone left so quickly, and the next year, most of them said they’d rather shop than get together because the stores were open all day on Thanksgiving. Your grandmother died a couple of years later.”

Leia appears stunned. “Your family skipped Thanksgiving so they could go Christmas shopping, but why couldn’t they wait till after Thanksgiving to shop?”

Tears well in Kara’s eyes as she thinks about what they’d done. “Just trying to get more stuff for less money supposedly to give at Christmas to celebrate the birth of Jesus.”

“That doesn’t make sense,” Leia says. “I don’t think Jesus wants us to celebrate his birth by not making time to offer thanks and enjoy our family.”

As Kara pulls Leia close, she nods at her daughter’s truthful summation. “And now they’re all gone, and so is that special Thanksgiving celebration. It’s just you and I and my cousin Jeff, wherever he is.”

“I wish I had a big family,” Leia says sadly. Then she brightens. “But we can still give thanks to God, and we can make our own Thanksgiving.” She points to Kara’s turkey bars. “We can have those for our celebration and invite cousin Jeff.”

From the refrigerator, Hiri says, “My mother told me about the  Thanksgiving tradition. Can I come?”

“Sure, Hiri,” Kara says. “But you’ll need to find a pumpkin pie.”

“Searching the nebula,” Hiri declares.

“And see if you can locate cousin Jeff,” Kara adds.

“Will do, but just so you know,” Hiri says. “He’s not bringing that Xbox. I’m totally incompatible.”

"Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Ephesians 5:19-20).


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