Effort to begin new Thanksgiving tradition gives way to the old

I am one of those girls who is happiest during the holidays. I think I still believe in Santa and the Easter Bunny. Not like I did when I was a little girl, but I believe that people in general are their kindest during the holidays.


This year, I was extra excited about Thanksgiving. I moved into my first house, and for the first time ever I thought this year I'd be able to fix a nice Thanksgiving dinner for my parents.

For weeks I had been planning the menu -- turkey, dressing, spicy cabbage, cranberry sauces and sweet potato soufflé. Let me be very clear, I am no great cook. In fact, I make a great pot of coffee but burn toast regularly. But that's beside the point. I was excited because this was my chance to play host to Thanksgiving dinner and I was going to go all out. There was one small problem, however.

When I mentioned the menu to my mom she said, "Baby, that sounds fabulous. Who's going to eat all that?"

"What in the Sam Cook are you talking about, Mom, I'm cooking for you and Daddy," I replied.

It was then that she explained to me that she and Daddy were going to the beach for Thanksgiving. Of course, I was invited.

Besides spending Thanksgiving afternoons with my parents, I've spent every Thanksgiving morning for the past 10 years volunteering at a community dinner to feed the homeless.

This year the annual community Thanksgiving dinner will be held at Greater Young Zion Missionary Baptist Church and is sponsored by the Kononia Project.

Over the years the sponsors and the venues have changed, but what has stayed the same is the feeling I get from being a part of the event.

To be sure, I guess I wanted to have my folks for Thanksgiving because I thought it would make them happy and proud. I also just wanted to show them in this small way how grateful I am for all they have done for me.

It was my mother who put the whole thing in perspective for me. When she asked me if I wanted to go to the beach, I reminded her that I had to volunteer at the Thanksgiving dinner and couldn't go. All she said then was, "I'm very proud of the woman you turned out to be." To be quite honest, that was enough for me.

I'm going to miss spending Thanksgiving dinner with my folks this year, but I think I'll still enjoy a special Thanksgiving tradition among friends.

And isn't that what it's all about?