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Dependence Day

On Thanksgiving Day we acknowledge our dependence. ~William Jennings Bryan

Since last Thanksgiving, I have been many places.

I’ve been to quiet, deep-carpeted funeral homes, church pews with more Kleenex boxes than hymnals, and cemetaries where if the granite markers were soldiers, there would be no enemies.

I’ve been in a jet aiming at a January sunrise.

I’ve rocked and jostled in a subway, ridden an elevator to the clouds, and bought Dr. Scholl’s boot inserts at a drugstore in Chicago.

I’ve seen my eldest daughter as a young lady.

I’ve stared at two pink lines. I’ve driven to a doctor’s office a few days later and cried outside her building because I wanted to come back again and again and again for the next eight months and I was afraid I wouldn’t.

I’ve sent my best friend, my husband, away for more than a week to a storm-ravaged town so he could help.

I’ve felt a baby inside me roll over and live.

I’ve been terrified it would stop.

I’ve seen a long hot popsicle summer turn into cool sidewalk-chalk autumn—either way, the patio is splashed by the color of my children.

I’ve been numbed, sliced open, and had a daughter lifted from me.

The doors I’ve opened were hung by someone else. The needles which drew my blood and delivered medicine were placed under my skin by kind women wearing gloves. The bank said yes when we said we needed a new car, a big one, please.

My mother dropped everything to help when my husband went to Mississippi and again when our baby’s arrival was sudden and early.

Casseroles in tin arrived in a steady stream during my blurrier and ouch-ier days of recovery.

My computer hums, my dryer hums, my dishwasher hums, my furnace hums—a quartet singing an homage to grey utility poles and wires.

A year later another turkey sits in my refrigerator, defrosting too slowly. I anxiously poke it every time I open the door.

Will it ever be golden brown? In its present condition, we may be eating it for Christmas.

I depend on it to thaw, for the potatoes to fluff just right, for the pie to be sweet under a Cool Whip coat.

I depend on another Thanksgiving to come so I can acknowlege a year of survival.

I couldn’t do it without you, God.

I just couldn’t.

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