A Time To Be Thankful

This morning I woke up thinking about all the things in my life that I am truly thankful for, and what I've learned in life so far. I mention, "so far", because I'm still learning and I hope all of you are too. One of the things that I will always be thankful for is the way my mom and dad brought me up, the way they raised me. My mom grew up in Temple, Texas during the Depression. She always told my sister and myself stories of poor people coming to their back door begging for food. And although my mom's family didn't have a lot, they gave what they could. This spirit of giving, caring and being thankful was instilled in me at an early age. When I was in high school and college I had the opportunity to spend a great deal of time on the Cocopah Indian reservation. It was in Somerton, Arizona, not far from Yuma. The poverty and living conditions were horrible. Especially when you consider the weather. It is so cold in the winters, and was hotter than hell in the summers. At the time, the Cocopah's were living in cardboard homes with tin roofs. The floors were dirt. I remember having dinner one night with one of the families. Everything was as spotless as could be except the walls were cardboard, some wood, and the floors were dirt. And when a big rat was on the stove, the youngest son calmly got up from the table, grabbed a big butcher knife, stabbed it, tossed the dead rat out the door, then sat back down and continued to dinner. That was their life, that was just what you dealt with.

Each Christmas, this church would collect donations to bring Christmas to the Cocopah's. That's what these picture are from. I look at myself in these pictures and I realize as I write this, I was younger than my own kids are today. At that time, this was a "poverty," a group of people, that our government ignored. I say this because right across the levy was rich, fertile farm land. It always amazed me. And I remember as I handed out presents at Christmas time, there wasn't one child that didn't forget to say "thank you". Two simple words that melted my heart each time they were spoken, "thank you"!

As I got older, and was in college, I went with two guys that had also been involved with the Cocopah Indian tribe over all these years as I had. We sent an entire summer in a cement building that was used as a farm labor camp. It was an experience, along with my mom and dad's concern for others, that I believe has made me the person that I am today. I look at the little boy above, and it's Christmas, and he's smiling. Those smiles were always the best gift I could ever receive.

The picture above is all the clothes that were collected for the families for that year. You may wonder why these women were so large if they had so little. Basically their diets consisted of beans, tortillas, and sometimes rice. And I have to tell you, those tortillas were SO good.  I'm writing this today because I think we all get so caught up in every day life that sometimes we just forget that there are people, especially now, that really need help! Please, take the time to care, to give, to make eye contact with those that need a smile. And most important, just be thankful, especially today, for not only what you have in your life but "who" you have in your life! Please remember as you sit  down to celebrate Thanksgiving today, it's not about what's "on" the table, but "who" is at the table! Happy Thanksgiving to you all!


Vintage Market Place said...

Happy Thanksgiving Sue!
You have the most giving spirit and big heart.
I adore how you inspire others to be their best and make us all think of how we can lend a hand to help others.
I noticed it the first time ever in your shop when you had the can on the counter to collect for the homeless animals.
So thank you for all you give to us here in blogland

Pent-Up Photos said...

Heartwarming...as usual. I totally think that your upbringing and your experiences have made you into the person you are today. I am so glad that you brought your kids up with the same social concerns. I appreciate you reminding us all to help others. You are so right about the eye contact and a smile. Those small things can make a huge difference when you are down and out. May you and your family be blessed today and throughout the year!


Irma@CosasBellas said...

On this Thanksgiving day, I am thankful for having been "adopted" into your Country Roads family.
Thank you for sharing this beautiful post and I pray blessings for you and your family as you enjoy this day together...together.

Hugs to you all,

Kate said...

Happy Thanksgiving Sue

I am so thankful to be part of your CR family what a beautiful blessing.


Mary said...

Happy Thanksgiving! What an awesome post! What a blessing it is to have wonderful parents who taught you the right values. And what an awesome experience it was for you at a young age to help those people. Thank you for sharing this.

blossoms vintage chic said...

Happy Thanksgiving Sue!
Your post brought to mind so many things that are close to my heart.
It is a wondeful thing to help others and to take time out of our everyday lives to be thankful for our family and friends.
Hope you had a great day with your family!

marcela cavaglieri said...

A special day that one that gives us the opportunity to realize how much we have. Happy Thanksgiving to you and the family!