Thanksgiving for those lost to 9/11



Let’s invite them all to the apartment for Thanksgiving. The first one they missed. That Thanksgiving we had when we were all so very young.


All of them who flew from the crumbling towers and the dust and the smell of chalky death. All of them who slammed into the Pennsylvania field. All of them who burned to fiery fear in the five sided building.


Let’s invite them all to share that turkey dinner, in the bright yellow kitchen. Sitting at that tiny round table while it snows and the Chicago wind howls. Pour a little wine. Pass the turkey and the stuffing.


There will be enough.


I know it might get crowded. Spill out into the living room. Cheap pine stand for the record player. Bookshelves and rocking chair. Bathroom where your Wella Balsam shampoo beaded wet in the shower next to my cheap young boy shampoo. And then the bedroom. Then the bedroom.


I know it might get crowded. But in the golden sparkling sight of you across the room, that power you have to help me keep my feet on the ground, in your laughter like a song of a healing balm in Gilead: I’m sure we’ll find the room.


Then when all the years pass. When we remember how we helped dish out the meal that Thanksgiving, without a clue as to where it came from, how it was cooked or why that turkey ended up tasting just so good; we will both remember —wasn’t that a time?


Our guests all fed. A poet from that crowd we helped feed will whisper “Lost, by the wind grieved ghost, come back!”


But the courses have been set. Decisions made. And our guests have all moved on.


Happy with the turkey. Laughing with the wine.


By then we’ll both know, what we didn’t know then. We’re a part of a story that started long before us and will go on when we’re gone.


Come the end of the meal—on any given day—will come new songs. The mischief and the grin in a wondrous little girl’s eyes. Then stories like rewards at the end of hard long days.


We will remember all of them, remember all of them we tried to feed that first Thanksgiving.


We will set some more places at a table of tomorrow.


And try once more to feed the world’s lost souls taken way too fast.


A smile turning sad for just a moment. But it passes. Just like a boat. That can carry two.


There is lots more work to do.

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