Thanksgiving Restored

A woman finding it difficult to feel gratitude is reminded that blessings abide, even in tough times.

By Gail Tucker, Louisville, Kentucky

As appeared in

Normally, I’m the first one to be in the Thanksgiving spirit, but as I pushed my cart through the grocery store I wished we could skip it this year. I passed the turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie without a glance. Mom wouldn’t be with us, and neither would anyone else. What kind of Thanksgiving was that?

Mom was in the hospital and not doing well. Our two sons were living out of state and wouldn’t be able to make the long drive. Friends had invited us over, but I wasn’t feeling up to it. “I’m just not very good company right now,” I’d told them. Distraught was more like it, with not much to feel thankful for.

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I tossed a head of lettuce into my cart to go with the roast I had at home. Turkey and fixings could wait till next year. With just Dale and me to cook for, why make a feast?

I wheeled my cart into the checkout line. The woman bagging groceries chatted with the couple in front of me. “Y’all havin’ guests?” She sounded genuinely interested. Friendly and warm. For a minute, she almost made me forget about my troubles.

“Hi, there!” she said, smiling when it was my turn. “You plannin’ on cookin’ at home today?”

“Yes...yes, I am,” I said.

“Hmmm...say, do you like turkey?”

“Love it,” I answered.

“How ’bout cranberry salad?”

“Yes, that too.”

“And pumpkin pie?”

I nodded. “My favorite.” She was describing one of my usual Thanksgiving spreads to a tee. But I won’t be having any of that this year, I thought.

“Well, how would you like to have all of those things and more, already cooked—ready for you to eat and enjoy? And it’s on the house!”

Huh? “Why me?” I asked.

“Just come this way,” she said, avoiding my question entirely. Together we walked over to the manager’s office. “I’ve got a taker!” she shouted. Into my cart went two large boxes brimming with food. Dale and I would have a feast after all.

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“I didn’t mean to make you cry,” she said.

The words tumbled out before I could stop them. I told her all about Mom. How Dale and I would be eating alone and that I just wasn’t up to cooking a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. And worst of all, how I’d lost sight of the fact that we can always find something to be thankful for, even in tough times.

“Aww, c’mon now,” she said, wrapping me in a big hug. “Obviously, you needed this gift today. And I’ll be sure to say some prayers for your mama.”

By the time I got back home, I was so excited about our dinner that I practically ran through the front door. “Dale! Dale! You won’t believe what I’ve got!”

I told him all about the woman bagging groceries at the supermarket. We fixed ourselves a couple of plates. I said the grace before we dug in: “Lord, thank you for this food and for the kindness of strangers.”

A few weeks later, I drove to the same supermarket to tell the woman what a delicious Thanksgiving we’d had. She wasn’t there. I tried describing her to the manager, but he didn’t seem to know who I was talking about. In fact, I’ve shopped there nearly every week since, and I’ve yet to see her again.

I like to think of her as my supermarket angel. She filled more than my cart that Thanksgiving. She filled my heart with thanksgiving.


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Your Comments (13)

I found the "Angel in the Supermarket" story and the replies very inspirational. Re:mackelaura's reply, I have doing some research on the Stalin years and Siberia and the suffering was unbelievable. I am sorry Mackelaura's ancestors had to go through that. Our country is indeed "peaches and cream" in comparison. God bless you.

Thank you for the wonderful stories.Like you all I have so much to be thankful for .I had a Devine healing 7 years ago I was diagnosed with Ms in 1993 and had suffered so much but God is amazing at the time I was taken 15 meds I take nothing what so ever.I work a fulltime job with special needs children.would not want to do anything else.God is awesome all the time.

There is so much to be thankful for everyday but sometimes we forget to take the time to say Thank you to God, so it is good to have a special day to remind us of how much we do have to be thankful for.

It is a blessing to have a special day when we can stop and remember all of the blessings we have. I feel that this is necessary because we might become too wrapped up in the next holiday. I love to pause with my family and hold hands and say what I am thankful after blessing our food. I am so blessed to have a healthy family, good friends and plenty to eat. I also have a job which has lead to some additional training which will mean steady work for me. I see people all around who are suffering. It is up to each of us to reach out and lift where we stand.

Thank you for this story as I lost a very dear friend 2009 on Thanksgiving Day.

Always be kind to strangers, you never know when you may be entertaining Angles.

Thank you for sharing..this is my first thanksgiving without my mom in 65 years..she went to Heaven in February and I miss her soooo much. I had considered staying home alone, but my mom would not want me doing that. I have a family to be so grateful we will join together and moms spirit will be with all of us.
Blessings to all

Thank you for that wonderful story. See there is still angels that watch over us. We are so blessed. Thank you again!

We do need to be reminded to give thanks during hard times. I find it interesting that not only is this week Thanksgiving week, it's also a week of remembrance for the Holodomor. My ancestors lived through this "Holocaust" created by Stalin. We have it so good here. We complain about our government and compared to the Soviet government, ours is pretty much peaches and cream. We do need to count our blessings.

(I know most folks don't know anything about the Holodomor. Here's a blogpost that talks about it. They even have a movie about it. A great message on "Love your enemies."

I am so grateful to have read this story as I have been a little depressed this holiday season as I have been most holiday seasons. This year not only am I not financially able to contribute to our family gathering, it seems as if our family is split and seems to be going their seperate ways and not in a good way. This story has given me hope and faith that all will work out according to God's will. Once again, thank you.

I would like to sent out a Praise to our heavenly father for all he has done for me my entire life. For being alive, for having a roof over my head and for the food to eat, the shoe on my feet. Thank You Jesus for walking with me each and everyday. Keeping me safe, watching over my children and grandchildren for generations to come. I give praise to him in all things. Even my enemies who come against me, who simply make me stronger in the Lord. Thank Him for his healing powers through the hospital, taking care of the homeless, the who feel hopeless that they realize that their hope is in Christ Jesus and simply calling on him can bring about changes. Thank him for not being a have not but being graceful for the smallest of things that we have, for it is a blessing from him. Amen

What a beautiful Thank you. In times like today, when the country seems so divided, we need to stop and truly be thankful for all the Lord has done for us. He has provided, food, shelter, and most of all his love. If only each one of us would reach out to another with that love, how beautiful and wonderful this world would be.

What a lovely story. I needed to read something like this tonight. Thank you so much!