My brother advised me to not go out. It was the night before Thanksgiving, and he said there would be too many people out partying after work who might be drunk. It was freezing, and snowing lightly. “Stay home,” he said, “be grateful you are home and warm and safe”. I considered sitting home alone, drinking wine and watching a movie. There was a party going on at the Tavern with a band that I like. It was a tough call: out for social energy, or home, quiet and warm…
I made myself a simple dinner, and decided I would have dessert at the Tavern. I bundled up, and took the quick drive there. The snow had stopped, and it was still 32 degrees out.
The Tavern was warm and full of partiers and families eating dinner. The bar was packed so I sat at a table. The band was rocking songs from the 80’s and 90’s. The last time I’d seen the band I wasn’t with anyone who wanted to dance.
I sat by myself and enjoyed a piece of pumpkin cake while listening to the music. It was a true Thanksgiving Eve party. Many were dancing on the dance floor, and those who weren’t had a hard time sitting still in their chairs including me.
I finished my cake, and took my cane and walked over to a couple who were seated but dancing. I asked them to come dance. They noticed the cane, and made a remark about me getting up to dance with it, but they were sitting. I joined the crowd of dancers out on the floor, rested my cane on a nearby banquette, and got moving. In short order, the seated dancers were up on their feet moving and grooving with the crowd. It felt good to be in the middle of such revelry even if I was by myself. I purposely avoided alcohol because I had to drive.
As I unlocked my car in the frigid air, I was struck by gratitude at being able to enjoy so much. I don’t take simple things like driving, dancing, walking or thinking for granted having spent a morning in the ER on February 14, 1999 with a bleeding brain that had done so much damage that my pupils were fixed and dilated. That kind of damage means that my brain stem functions that control things like respiration and my heartbeat were starting to shut down.
I was saved by emergency brain surgery. I was 6 months pregnant. I came out of the surgery with total paralysis of the entire left side of my body. I gave birth 6 weeks later to a healthy boy.
Nearly 20 years later, I am living a full life.
Rather than staying home safe and warm on Thanksgiving Eve, I took a simple trip that reminded me to be thankful for much more than all of the everyday comforts and pleasures that most of us enjoy. I am so thankful.
Happy Thanksgiving, and thank you for reading :)