brown wooden board

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite hol­i­day. It’s like Christmas with­out the com­mer­cial­ism — a time to enjoy the com­pa­ny of oth­ers and be grate­ful for what we already have.

What I’m most thank­ful for this hol­i­day sea­son is my family.

Most of my boy­hood mem­o­ries of Thanksgiving are of din­ners with Dad’s fam­i­ly at my grand­par­ents’ house on Lee Street. Mamaw Patrick, with help from Mom and my aunts, would pre­pare a feast that includ­ed everyone’s favorites, and she wouldn’t sit until every­one else was seat­ed. It was great to tell sto­ries and catch up with rel­a­tives we didn’t see often.

One Thanksgiving with Mom’s fam­i­ly, though, is espe­cial­ly mem­o­rable. I was 13 years old. It was an unsea­son­ably warm and bright autumn day. After din­ner, the fam­i­ly played touch foot­ball in the vacant lot on Hilltop Drive that served as a neigh­bor­hood park.

I thought it hilar­i­ous that my cousin Eddie, who was like a big broth­er to me, played the game with his shoul­der-length locks in pigtails.

Watching the fun and hear­ing the laugh­ter, our neigh­bors across the street, Raymond and Elwanda Allen, said it was what fam­i­ly should be.

Patrick fam­i­ly Thanksgiving.

For us, how­ev­er, it was bittersweet.

Mamaw Collins was bat­tling can­cer. She was the first loved one I knew who had a seri­ous ill­ness. But it was one of her good days, and that night, she jot­ted down her thoughts about it.

Nov. 22, 1973

This is Thanksgiving Night. We all went to Nett’s [Jeannette, my moth­er] for din­ner except for Edwina and her fam­i­ly. We had the most won­der­ful time we ever had.

After din­ner, all the younger ones played foot­ball and pitched horse shoes. It was a beau­ti­ful day, and the lit­tle kids played out.

All day long, I couldn’t help but won­der whether we would ever spend anoth­er Thanksgiving Day like this. All it lacked being per­fect was if Winkie [Aunt Edwina] and her clan had been there.

I have to go into the hos­pi­tal Thursday and have surgery, but I’m pray­ing to God that I’ll be home so that we can have anoth­er get-togeth­er for Christmas.

I thank God for the fine fam­i­ly he has giv­en us. He has been so good to all of us and not let any­thing bad hap­pen to us. I would like to stay around awhile longer to make sure that they all find the Lord before it’s too late.

My grand­moth­er, Eva Collins, did get to spend Christmas with her fam­i­ly. She lived until the sum­mer of ’75, and soon after she died, my grand­fa­ther, Walter, suf­fered a stroke. He lived with us for a while, but need­ed around-the-clock care and was placed in the near­by nurs­ing home, where my mom vis­it­ed and cared for him every day, and my sis­ter Kim and I often accom­pa­nied her.

Mamaw was only 60 when she passed away — a year younger than I am now and 20 years younger than Mom is.

It must seem strange to be so much old­er than a par­ent ever was.

I was for­tu­nate to have had Mamaw and Papaw Patrick until they were in their mid-80s, and I’m blessed to have Mom and Dad, who are now near­ly as old as my grand­par­ents lived to be. They are still in good health and independent.

This sea­son, I’m grate­ful to have my fam­i­ly close.

In January of last year, I left Bardstown and the best news­pa­per job I ever had because I want­ed to be with my par­ents, my sis­ter, her hus­band and my sweet niece, who is like a daugh­ter to me, and oth­er fam­i­ly mem­bers. I could not have known that with­in weeks, what has become the dead­liest plague in more than a cen­tu­ry would turn our world upside down and make us even more aware of how fleet­ing our time togeth­er is and of the impor­tance of stay­ing close.

I’m thank­ful that last year I was able to live with my par­ents at their coun­try home in Clark County for sev­er­al months and work from there doing what I love — telling people’s sto­ries through writ­ing and pho­tog­ra­phy. And I’m thank­ful that, when being the only reporter for two news­pa­pers became too great a bur­den, the job I have now at the cour­t­house came to me unex­pect­ed­ly the same week I resigned. It’s the kind of work that allows me to spend more evenings, week­ends and hol­i­days with my family.

I’m not the kind of Christian who believes that “every­thing hap­pens for a rea­son.” Sometimes things just hap­pen. My grand­moth­er didn’t suf­fer because God willed it. In this world, Jesus said, we will have trou­bles, but we should take heart because he has over­come the world, and so may we if we are loy­al to him. The Scriptures say that “God is light, and in him there is no dark­ness at all,” (1 John 1:15) and that every­thing good is a gift from God, who does not change.

In the full­ness of time, the Enemy will be defeat­ed, every­thing wrong will be made right, there will be no more death or mourn­ing for the old things will have passed away, and God will make “all things new.”

That is the res­ur­rec­tion hope my grand­moth­er had and that I have, and for which I am most thankful.

  • Randy Patrick

    Randy Patrick is a deputy coun­ty clerk for elec­tions and vot­er reg­is­tra­tion and a for­mer reporter and edi­tor of The Winchester Sun.