One More Christmas Past (Annie Acorn’s Christmas) by Annie Acorn
“Thanksgiving angels?” I can hear you all saying it, but believe me, they’re real. Unfortunately, though, I’m getting ahead of myself, because this story started way back in August…
It was hot, it was humid, and so, naturally, my thoughts turned to Thanksgiving. Talk about wishful thinking!
I had just returned from a trip to Birmingham where I had spent a day with the members of BAWG and the southern contingent of From Women’s Pens, while enjoying a nice visit with Son #1. Now, it was time to think in terms of a trip to see Son #2 and the best daughter-in-law in the world. Hence, my focus on Thanksgiving – it would be my next reasonable opportunity.
Southwest, my airline of choice, had a great deal on flights both going and coming, and I took advantage of the tailor-made opportunity. Labor Day was just a few days away, and with it would come the cooler weather that always portends the beginning of fall.
My tickets were purchased. The sun shone brightly. The birds were singing. All was right with the world. And then, on Sunday, October 30, disaster struck, putting all of my well made plans into jeopardy. One minute I was fine, and the next minute I had two broken bones in my foot.
In the intervening weeks since I had purchased my tickets, further plans had been made around a short research trip for a mystery I had written along the eastern shore of Puget Sound, and hotel reservations had been confirmed. What had seemed like a lovely Thanksgiving captured between two fun-filled weekends was now looking more like a nightmare. How was I ever going to travel solo from the D.C. area to Seattle with two suitcases, a pair of crutches, a moon boot look-a-like air cast, a coat, a purse, a computer, and the umbrella that is required whenever one goes to Seattle?
The answer, when it came to me, was quite simple. All I really needed was a bevy of Thanksgiving angels.
No, no, I am not crazy, and neither had I received a hit on the head. Hang in there for another minute!
For a week prior to my departure, I carefully prepared, unable to get as much done as I usually would have. The day before take-off, From Women’s Pens author, Beverly J. Crawford, came to my house and extended a hand, lugging my suitcases from storage and helping me pack. I began to feel a little bit nervous as she closed the last zipper on ten day’s worth of clothes. What was I thinking?
Friday dawned bright and sunny. My sister and niece arrived a few minutes early to assist with final preparations and wheel my suitcases to the car, before returning to carry my coat, purse, and computer that I couldn’t manage with the crutches. Forty minutes later, when we stopped at the curb by the Southwest Departure Desk, I was having fourth thoughts.
“This is either the bravest or dumbest thing that I’ve ever attempted,” I stated before opening the door.
“Let us know that you’ve gotten there safely,” was their response as they gazed back at me with faces full of concern.
The check-in agent behind the counter took one look in my direction as I approached, picked up the phone, and called my first angel, whose name was Michael. No, seriously, Michael. Would I lie to you?
Michael, I soon learned was seventy-six years old. Dapper and wiry, he had been helping passengers in similar positions to mine for well over twenty years. In a matter of seconds, he loaded me and all of my accoutrements onto a wheelchair and maneuvered me towards security, where he dropped to one knee on the floor and began untying my left sneaker. When I protested that if he would hold the computer I could take off my shoe by myself, he shook his head, “No.”
“A queen,” he stated solemnly, “should never have to wait on herself.”
Was it any wonder that as we worked our way along the concourse every female member of the airport staff flirted with him? As he waved and smiled at all we passed, I could easily have believed that I was indeed a queen on parade.
Expertly, Michael handled the purchase of a bottle of water and a snack for me to take on the plane and secured my preboarding pass. When we shook hands, we parted as friends, and I was wheeled along the ramp towards the plane much more confident than when my journey began.
Other angels waited to assist my entry onto the plane, and the young man who sat next to me insisted on getting my moon boot and crutches out of the overhead compartment before leaving to catch his own flight connection. My wheelchair assistant at Midway introduced me to the wonders of a Chicago hot dog with all of the toppings and still rolled me into the preboarding line at my connecting flight’s gate with well over ten minutes to spare.
My son met me at Seattle, and he and my daughter-in-law took over the angel role as we headed up the coast. The next morning at the Bishop Hotel in Port Townsend, I realized that my breakfast would be left outside my door. How was I going to manage a large tray, when my son and daughter-in-law were still sleeping in?
Enter the night porter, we’ll call him Gabriel, who responded to my call to the front desk immediately. When he saw that I was reading a history of the area purchased the evening before, he provided further information that I will draw on to enhance my second mystery series. Unhurried and understanding, he arranged a time to pick up the tray, brought me a bottled water, and left a Washington grown apple in case I needed a snack. What a treasure!
Thanksgiving Day arrived, and my DIL’s family welcomed me into their family circle, crutches and all. Not once was I made to feel in the way with all of the attachments necessitated by my injury, and needless to say, the food was delicious. I couldn’t have designed a more special day if I had tried. To say I was thankful to be where I was with those who surrounded me, would’ve been one of the world’s greatest understatements.
As conversation flowed easily around our table, I couldn’t help but think of those early Pilgrims. Theirs would’ve been a much different gathering so far from their original homes and families, facing a long winter and an uncertain future. How grateful I was at that moment for their having made that first journey for without it I would not have been enjoying such a wonderful day. Had they, too, felt the presence of Thanksgiving angels?
What had started out as a concern had now gone full circle, and I was no longer worried about my return trip to the D.C. area. At this time of thanks giving, I had been reminded of a very important lesson by all those, who had been there for me. Next year I’m going to focus on being an angel for someone else who is in need, so that they, too, can be thankful for Thanksgiving angels. Won’t you join me?
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