For most of our 35 years of married life, we’ve had two Thanksgiving dinners on the same day. Since Dave and I are from the same town, we had a mid-day meal with my parents and sisters and their families and an evening meal with Dave’s family. We never had to alternate or choose between families, and it was easier than you might imagine eating two turkey meals in one day. You just had to pace yourself.

This was our first year ever with just our family of four for Thanksgiving, and we established new traditions. I am grateful for sons who will sit down and share not only a meal, but also the stories of their lives. We give thanks for small things like Zach’s pay raise and Jacob’s college experiences. I try to feel grateful for the fact that my mother is safe and well-cared for in Memory Lane, but mostly I still feel sad and scared for her . . . and for me.

Determined to stay away from the impulse shopping of Black Friday and desperate to chase the blues away, I spent the day after Thanksgiving meandering along Route 29, stopping here and there to take pictures, escaping.

And once again, this simple practice saved me.  

Smile. Breathe. Go slowly. –Thich Nhat Hanh
Day 271

Day 271