By Ashley Moffett
Thick beams of sunlight beat down upon me as my eyes hungrily scanned the area for even the most minuscule amount of shade. The air was thick, the atmosphere was muggy, and the breeze that toyed with my hair splashed bursts of heat against my cheeks. With every intake of air, my throat felt parched, and my lungs felt congested. I never did enjoy warm temperatures, and this was pushing me to the limit of my tolerance.
The day: Nov. 25. Yes, it was Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, we were unable to give thanks surrounded by family, friends, and bounteous food. Instead, my mother, father, brother and I found ourselves awaiting the rescue of a bus in the midst of a town in Costa Rica.
As I curled myself up to squeeze into the small amount of shade I had found, my mind left the sun-beaten sidewalk and began to wander. Vibrant images of plump turkeys, creamy mashed potatoes, homemade stuffing, and warm gravy drifted through my mind; I yearned to taste the feast I knew that I was missing, and socialize with my friends and relatives that I knew I would not be seeing this Thanksgiving.
I had eventually grown tired of drooling at meals I conjured up in my mind, and I noticed that my stomach was beginning to protest the lack of food I had received that day. I reluctantly retreated from my shady escape and approached my mother and father to inquire about food.
“Do we have any lunch? I’m really hungry.”
My father looked at me and raised a plastic bag into the space in front of me. “Well, we have this bag of chips!” he replied while laughing at the thought of a bag of chips truly sustaining us for lunch.
My stomach growled loudly so I began to munch on a few of the chips. As I returned to my spot of shade, I thought to myself, What a wonderful Thanksgiving. But as my mind began to wander once again, I found myself looking back to a few days ago, to a distinct image I had seen.
As my family and I were walking to a bus stop a few days ago, I noticed two children across the street, a girl and a younger boy. These children were extremely thin. Both were barefoot. And their clothes were ragged and dirty. The girl was pushing a wheel barrel filled with bags of groceries. I heard my father say, “That’s probably their Thanksgiving dinner.”
After remembering what I had seen those few days ago, I suddenly realized: those children have never had to luxury of tasting steaming turkey, or thick mashed potatoes smothered in gravy, and may never have the chance to. All we had for our Thanksgiving meal was a bag of chips, but that may be more food than those children eat occasionally.
I was extremely fortunate, and by being deprived of my typical Thanksgiving meal I had realized that. I walked over to my father, offered him the bag of chips and as he reached his hand in to grab a handful I smiled at him and said, “Happy Thanksgiving.”