12:59:28 pm on
Wednesday 19 Jun 2024

Thanks for Friends
AJ Robinson

Recently, we celebrated Thanksgiving. That’s nothing new for us. How we celebrated, in 2018, was quite different from usual.

Usually we do the usual.

Over the years, we’ve done all the usually things for Thanksgiving. We stayed home and just had close family. We had extended family come from far away. We went to visit family. We spent the day with friends.

For 2018, we tried something completely different. We got together with friends, but not our usual friends. MJ and Brian are foster parents, as are Jo and I. Their foster girls are very good friends with our foster son, Toni.

We also had a new foster son, Damien. He had literally come to live with us only a week before Thanksgiving, which meant the he was in quite the new to everything and everybody. He was with strangers celebrating a very important family holiday.

To his credit, Damien handled Thanksgiving well. He made a full-out effort to fit in and be friendly. I have to say, I envy him his strength of character, especially as he’s only eleven.

We all decided we would get together at the home of MJ and Brian for the meal, as they have quite the large house. They currently have two foster girls, but certified to have up to six children; yes, I envy their strength.

Cooked, packed the car and drove.

Jo cooked a turkey and ham; she also made some mashed potatoes and gravy. We loaded her hard work into the car and drove over to the home of Brian and MJ. As this Is Thanksgiving in Florida, it was not a cold and blustery day. The kids all went outside to shoot hoops and try their luck on skateboards, while the adults worked to get things ready for the big meal.

As it turned out, MJ and her girls had cooked enough side dishes to feed thirty people. My mom, ever the good Italian mother, would have been proud of their efforts. We, of course, also watched the Macy’s Parade and got to chat about what was new in our lives.

As we are foster parents, our talk drifted to the subject of fostering. Brian and MJ had moved into a larger house specifically to allow them to get the two younger brothers of one of their girls. They also wanted to be able to take two infants or toddlers; they’re dedicated.

At last, the food ready, we sat down to feast. No, we didn’t merely eat; we feasted, as never before. In my life, I never saw so much food. That’s coming from the son of an Italian mother.

Trust me; there was a great deal of food. I tried to sample each dish, but going back for seconds was problematic. I had to limit myself to the items I truly liked. MJ made a great mac and cheese.

Then dessert arrived. MJ complained she had asked Brian and the girls to get a couple pies. They got two pumpkin pies; one sweet potato, apple and blueberry as well as a pecan and a key lime. Oh, the platter of cookies was mouth-watering. I don’t think I ever ate so much in all my life.

It wasn’t merely a fine diner.

At close of day, I something struck me. It wasn’t merely that we’d dined well and shared some time with friends. I thought about how our definition of family had changed and evolved; had grown over time. We are a bunch of unrelated people that shared one thing: a desire to help kids in need. From what I could see that made us one very strong family and that was something for which I am thankful.

Combining the gimlet-eye of Philip Roth with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Working, again, as an engineeer, after years out of the field due to 2009 recession and slow recovery, Robinson finds time to write. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true. His teen vampire adventure novel, "Vampire Vendetta," will publish in 2020. Robinson continues to write books, screenplays and teleplays and keeps hoping for that big break.

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