Never does the last week of
November arrive
that I don’t tell this story once again
so great was the impact.

We begin with this young mommy
so homesick and ready
to show off their infant son and two-year-old
daughter that she didn’t think

twice before boarding a plane
that had at least one
stopover, if not two.

When we set off on this journey
we couldn’t have known
this year would be sealed in our memories

stuffing five adults and
two children into mom’s pale
blue Cutlass Oldsmobile.

All was well and good until the
blizzard came forging
across the sandhills, wind causing an inch of
snow to become a foot

or two, and the weight in the
back seat no longer
provided enough traction to move us
through that depth of snow.

Lucky for us, Eddie, our
little brother, who
was a winner of cross-country races
bravely set off towards
a nearby farmhouse even
though he could barely
see in front of his youthful face.

We’ll always remember this
kind man on a rugged
farm tractor pulling us to their home when
even snowplows weren’t running.

With other stranded folks, we
played UNO by candlelight,
ate ham and cheese on white slices and snuggled
precious Matthew to keep

him warm while older sister
Shannon danced and sang.

Looking back, even though the
passage was rough, we
felt safe in this little white farmhouse
near Crofton, Nebraska

where the wood stove was burning,
and our hearts were warmed.

You can imagine that we
were never so glad
to see our aunt, uncle, and cousins for
Thanksgiving dinner that
year in Niobrara.

I would think that Great-Uncle
Will’s prayer of gratitude
matched the width of his Kipper necktie.

It seemed worth the risk to be
together, and with
the multitude of strangers helping us,
we were safe, fed, and had
an adventure worth telling
since 1979.


Psalm 100
Be joyful in the Lord, all you lands;
serve the Lord with gladness
and come into the divine presence with a song.
Know this: the Lord, the Lord, is God;
the One made us and to whom we belong;
we are God’s people, the sheep of God’s pasture.
Enter the gates of the Lord with thanksgiving; go into these courts with praise;
give thanks to God and call upon the name of the Lord.
For the Lord is good, whose steadfast love is everlasting;
and whose faithfulness endures from age to age.

Record Your Gratitude Stories

Like the Psalms, it seems that life is a continual series of calling out to God, deliverances, and gratitude.
My hope is that this sonnet will spur memories and you will decide to record them as part of your legacy. I spoke to three others when writing. One recalled a John Deere tractor, another an International, but we all agreed upon the overwhelming gratefulness for people who showed up when we most needed them in a situation that could have been dire.

May we go forth in praise and keep our minds and hearts open so we can see the ways God seeks us and loves us.
Happy Thanksgiving Blessings from us to you, dear ones,

Rev. Marta Wheeler