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Our Boys and Girls
A NEW THANKSGIVING. David Martin and liis mother were spending a year with Grandmotlu-r Gordon while Da vid's father was on a business trip in China. They had left their own Eastern home in the spring, and now it was late fall, almost time for Thanksgiving, though in the Kentucky town where grandmother lived there was yet no hint of winter in the air. "What a different Thanksgiving this will he," sighed grandmother one morning at break fast. "with your father in China, David! It is the first time there hasn't been a home-com ing. but Aunt Isabel writes that she and het family can't possibly come home this year, there are so many of them, and fares are so high. Usually its twelve at the table for Thanksgiving dinner." 4 'Why don't we have twelve this year?*' asked David. "But I've just explained," said grandmoth er. "Oh, yes. the family," said David, helping himself to a hot muffin. "But does it have to be families always that eat dinner together on Thanksgiving!" Without waiting for an an swer he went on: "Why does it have to be families?" "Why?" said grandmother, benignly. "Why because all the families do eat Thanksgiving dinner together, so who would be left over?': Mother remained a silent listener, looking first at grandmother and then at David. "Why," said David, in great surprise, "not everybody eats Thanksgiving dinner with his family. Lots of my friends right here in this town aren't going to have any Thanksgiving dinner at all, not turkey and eranberrt sauce and mince pie and nuts and raisins. How do 1 know? Oh, we talk about everything. Who do you s'pose will invite father to Thanksgiv ing dinner? Do they have any Thanksgiving dinner for Americans in China, mother?" he asked, turning to mother with a new anxiety in his voice. "They might at some hotel," said mother. "Father will remember it's Thanksgiving, any way. He'll think of us here having the nieest Thanksgiving dinner in the world with grand mother." "Let's have a tableful, so when he remem bers what it was like, it will be like it," said David. "Don't you hope somebody nice will ask father to Thanksgiving dinner in China, grandmother?" Though the drift of David's thoughts was not clear, grandmother must have caught it, for she said : "A tableful? Truly, I'd like to, David, but truly I wouldn't know any one to ask on that day." "Oh!" answered David, joyously. "How big ean you make the table, grandmother? JuHt twelve? When may I ask them? To-day's a good day, because it's Saturday, and I can see everybody." Grandmother smiled at his excitement. "Why, David, you've only lived in this town six months, and I've lived here for twenty years. You have friends who .vould be glad to come, when I have none. Who are they? I can't imagine." "Well," began David, eagerly, and hesi tated. " There 'd be only nine I could a?k, wouldn't th<>re? It would be hard to pick. out just nine when there are no many," and he puekered his forehead in a perplexed little frown. Grandmother looked across to smilfc at mother, but mother was smiling straight at David. "Well," began David, "I guess I'd ask old Mr. Parsons first. You know, lie drives the wagon for Howe's Market. Sometimes I ride with him. He lets me drive. And I asked him if he was going to have a turkey for Thanksgiving, and he laughed and said he was going to deliver most of the turkeys in town, and he guessed that was most as good as hav ing one. I'll ask him first, grandmother!" "Oh ? Mr. Parsons," said grandmother, blankly. "Hasn't he a family? He has brought my provisions to the door for years." "Not a family," said David, gayly. "He lives all by himself in a room over the mar ket." "Oh," said grandmother again, and adde<J a little weakly: "Who were the other guests you had in mind?" "1 was thinking," said David. "I think I'd ask the policeman next, the one at the rail road crossing at school-time. He's a particu lar friend of mine. Didn't you know he was in the war? He was. He has a wound stripe. Sometimes when I have two cents I give him cne piece of chocolate. There's a penny-in the-slot machine at his corner. And once he gave me three marbles ? said he found 'em and saved 'em just for me. And once he let me stand on his little island with him for five minutes. Did you ever stand on an island with a policeman, grandmother, and count the au tomobiles that went by, both ways?" Mother, who was quietly drinking coffee, set her cup down hastily and wiped the corners of her mouth with care. "No," said grandmother, "1 never did." "There were one hundred and fifty-nine, ex actly," said David. "It's pretty hard to count them both ways." "Who else?" asked grandmother, tersely. "I suppose he hasn't a family, either?" "Not a family, either. He has brought him self up since he was twelve. He said so. Welt, of course, there's the postman. You see him every day. Course you know all about him." "I know him at the door," said grandmoth er, uncertainly. "Tie's just as nice inside the house," said David, literally. "I had him in the kitchen a minute one hot day, and Nora and I gave him iced lemonade. Maybe you were out. He lives with his sister, though, so maybe we couldn't ask him." "We might ask the sister, too," said grand mother, and for the first time she laughed out right and went to her desk for pencil and pad. "David, dear, I'm for it!" she said in a voice new to David. "Isn't that what you and your chums say, 'I'm for it'? You see, I'm not too old to learn. This is your Thanksgiving din ner, and- 1 shall feel honored to receive your guests. We'll have a Thanksgiving dinner such as never v/as, too, to the last frill. Tell me the names and I'll write them down, and then I'll write my prettiest notes, and off you scamper to deliver them. Mind now, I'll not take no for an answer from any of them ? you'll see to that?" It was mother's turn to laugh aloud. "Oh, David, won't father wish he were here!" she said. "T know," said David, a little wistfully. "Father always does like my friends, doesn't he?" Mr. Parsons. Delivers for Howe's Market. Mr. Dan Downing. Soldier-policeman who takes care of school children. Mr. Jones. Postman. Mr. Jones' sister. Didn't know he had one till David told me. Lauretta Fowler. Schoolmate of David's, crippled for the last three months. I never heard of her, but David says he often goes to see her to play checkers. She can come in an automobile. Johnny Fowler. Newsboy. Brother of Lau retta. Helps support the family. David thinKs his earnings would not permit a turkey. He is two years younger than David. Mrs. Fowler. Mother of Lauretta and John ny. She can't go out to work, because Lauretta needs care during the day. She helps Johnny support the family, since the Adeath of Mr. Fowler. Does sewing at home when she can get it. Miss Maria Green. Keeps a tiny shop on the avenue, where the children all buy toys and marbles and pencils and note-books and pop corn. David says he never saw a ^rown-up in the shop. I've never seen her. David says she lives over the shop. M. Francois Dinet. Cobbler. French. Plays the "fiddle." Tells fairy stories to children while they wait if their shoes aren't quite ready. Also a war veteran, and disabled for more active work. Drifted to this country in search of distant relatives, whom he hasn't yet found. "That's twelve, counting us," said David, regretfully. "Do you know more, if the table were larger?" asked grandmother. "Of course!" said David, all enthusiasm. "Lots more! Do you mean ? " "Not this time," said grandmother, gently; then added with a spirit that matched nis own : "But there are more Thanksgivings coming, remember!" "What a Thanksgiving it was, to be sure! Shy at first, David's guests were soon put at case and also put at their best by grandmoth er's charming hospitality and mother's instant friendliness, so that long before they went in to dinner (what Thanksgiving dinner was ever on the dot?) every one was talking and laugh ing around the open fire. And the dinner it self! Was ever a Thanksgiving dinner better? David and mother thought not. The guests thought not. From crisp brown turkey to the last nut and raisin, it was perfect. "My fiddle?" M. Francois Dinet smiled hap pily as grandmother asked the question. "But, yes, David insisted that I bring my fiddle." Songs which every one knew, mother at the piano, the fiddle singing the melody with the voices. "Mercy!" laughed grandmother, after the last guest had gone, "how the family would have loved the fun ! Why, we never had a bet ter time when all the family was here, did we?" "How they will love it!" corrected mother. "I'm going to write to one member of the fam ily in China this minute." Near the end of the bulky letter that next morning sped on its way was: "I never saw my aristocratic mother look so happy; no, not even at a purely fam ily reunion. All unconsciously David has been a daily eye-opener to her, but this Thanksgiv ing dinner was the climax. Of course, she never would have thought of it, but in the end her spirit equaled his ? " In far-away China father's eyes shone boy ishly as he read the letter. A part of hii re ply was: "David is no genius except in one thing, but he is a genius in the matter of friendship. He'd find friends, counties* friends, and interesting all, in the desert of Sahara. And if that's the kind of Thanksgiv ing parties grandmother Gordon is going to have hereafter, I'm never going to miss one! You tell her ? will you? ? that even if I wasn't there, it was the best Thanksgiving I ever had." ? Selected.