My Thanksgiving Angel

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Thanksgiving 2010. I didn’t know at the time it would be the last such meal I would prepare. Yet perhaps I did know, at some level, as it was the first time I asked for help.

Adriana was a neighbor I met while perusing her garage sale items. A large oil painting of angels caught my eye. It was exquisite in color and form. So I paid the asking price of fifty dollars, and that is when I met the artist, my new friend, Adriana.

We talked for quite awhile about the painting and other things. Before I left, she agreed, at my request, to spend Thanksgiving at my house, and to help me prepare a meal for Richard and Janet.

I normally needed no assistance, being quite at home in the kitchen. But this year had to be spectacular. It would be my last large meal hurrah. And I wanted the tradition to go out with glory and remembrance.

How did I know it would be the last time? It was just a strong feeling, an inner knowing that I was not totally conscious of, yet paid attention to.

It is said that angels walk among us, and I truly think Adriana was one.  I met her just before she helped me with Thanksgiving dinner, and she moved away a short time after. I thought of her each time I looked at her painting of angels, which was displayed prominently in my home.

Janet arrived after her four-hour drive from Houston.  I was at the sink cleaning fresh vegetables. Adriana was tending the pork loin roast. (I never liked turkey.)  The countertops were filled with ingredients and cookware. The hustle was almost overwhelming.  But thankfully Adriana was managing most of it.

Janet asked what she could help with. I told her to go sit down and relax.  We had this.  I knew she was tired from her drive.  But most of all, I wanted her to enjoy the meal without the work. This would be my last meal gift to her. So she went out with Richard to the back porch. They chatted while Adriana and I cooked.

Adriana stepped out briefly onto the porch to tell Janet how important this meal was to me – and how I wanted it to be perfect for her. And it was perfect. Each dish beautifully presented on my table, which was elegantly dressed with red silk and lace. It was all I had hoped for, and more.

The next Thanksgiving was spent in a rehab, followed by one in a restaurant, followed by more in rehabs or hospital rooms. There was one more meal prepared in my home – the next to last – but it was prepared by Janet and two of my caregivers.

That exquisite meal Adriana and I crafted with excellence and love was my last. And I am happy to know that the memory of that day still springs from Janet’s heart this time each year.  And the angel painting now hangs in her home beneath a sky light.

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