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
4 'Why don't we have twelve this year?*'
"But I've just explained," said grandmoth
"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
"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
"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
"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
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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
It was mother's turn to laugh aloud. "Oh,
David, won't father wish he were here!" she
"T know," said David, a little wistfully.
"Father always does like my friends, doesn't
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
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
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
"That's twelve, counting us," said David,
"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,
"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
"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
"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.
xml | txt