Post #194 – Women’s Memoirs, ScrapMoir – Matilda Butler and Kendra Bonnett
Honorable Mention Winner in Women’s Memoirs Contest – Gratitude is Evergreen Category
Today, Kendra and I continue with the publication of the next Honorable Mention in our Gratitude is Evergreen category of the Gratitude Contest.
Francine Garson is today’s winner with her story The Turkey Hat.
Congratulations Francine on your award-winning story. Your story just may inspire all of us to create our own traditions for giving thanks and expressing gratitude.
The Turkey Hat
By Francine Garson
The plush brown turkey hat boasts a red velvet head, dangling legs, and a zigzagged fantail. A tilted Pilgrim stovepipe rests above its heavy-lidded plastic eyes.
Taking a seat in the center of the multi-table approximation of a rectangle, Bill pushes the turkey hat onto his head and welcomes us into his home. Talk of food, weather, and distances traveled stops as all eyes turn toward the smiling man wearing a cushiony turkey crown. And once again, we honor the yearly Thanksgiving ritual that has become a tradition in the Helfrey home.
Bill is thankful for his wife, Judy, his new granddaughter, Erica, and the love of family and friends. Removing the hat, he passes it to Judy. She remembers loved ones who are not here and gives thanks for those who are. As the wobbly turkey moves from guest to guest, it perches on heads, flattens bangs, crushes curls, and dips into eyes. At least once, it lands on the floor. But each of us wears the turkey hat, and we give thanks.
As close friends and longtime Thanksgiving guests of the Helfreys, my family and I begin to prepare shortly before piling into the car.
“Somebody take the broccoli soufflé. And don’t forget the cake,” I call out.
“Make sure the door is locked,” my husband says. “And did anyone bring a cell phone?”
What kind of question is that for a pair of twenty-somethings?
“I did!” Jenna and Michael chorus and roll their eyes.
“So?” Michael asks.
“Sew buttons.” I give my stock answer.
“So, what are you thankful for?” Jenna asks. “Mom? Dad? Michael?”
“I’m thankful that the Giants won the World Series,” my husband says. “Although this year was…well, never mind.”
“You said that last year, Mitch,” I sigh.
“And you sure can’t talk about the football Giants, Dad,” Michael groans. “Not this year anyway.”
“Dad can always pull out his ‘thankful for lasagna on Thanksgiving’ line,” Jenna laughs.
Three pairs of eyes turn toward Mitch.
“Well, it’s true!” he insists.
As we begin our drive, the conversation moves from sports and lasagna to a serious assessment of all the things that we truly are thankful for…a loving family, dear friends, good health, fulfilling careers, and financial security. It’s a long list, and it’s a good talk.
Mitch slides our car between two SUVs positioned in the Helfreys’ driveway. In a flurry of coats, bags, and dishes, we move into the warm kitchen where we are greeted with firm hugs and bright smiles. Platters are uncovered, drinks are poured, and we settle into seats at one of the long tables. We are surrounded with and embraced by friends who feel like family.
As the turkey hat circles the table, expressions of thanks for friends and family is a common theme. Yet it means something different and uniquely personal to each of us. When it is my turn to wear the hat, I pull it snugly onto my head. Its velvety legs dance around my cheeks.
“I’m thankful for…” I look at Mitch, Jenna, Michael, Judy, Bill, and the many friends gathered around us. “…all of this!”