Thursday, November 10, 2011
A single woman's Thanksgiving
As a woman who didn't marry until 41 and who doesn't live in a state that contains anyone I'm related to, I have experience spending holidays alone. Sometimes I minded, sometimes I didn't. I became very self-reliant and learned to find things to do whether it was hosting my own party, finding someone to host me or just taking myself out for a lovely meal.
In 2008 I got married, guaranteeing that I'd never spend another holiday alone -- almost. Okay, not even close. My husband has had a 33-year career in the service industry and now works in a restaurant that's open 365 days a year (except for leap years, when it's open 366).
I did three years as a server, so I'm sympathetic to Bob's situation. In fact, I'm going to join him by spending the day feeding people, only I'll do it for free. Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly is a great organization that a friend of mine works for. They provide companionship for Chicagoans over the age of 70 who don't have friends or family in the area. LBFE elders get regular visits and/or social invitations and they are all invited to major holiday celebrations.
Bob began his current job last April and I felt amused to find myself in the old position of spending holidays solo. I volunteered with LBFE on Easter Sunday and it went very well. I enjoyed serving at a big party, felt that good exhaustion of energy well spent and my participation kept me from feeling left out. Bob's very lucky he married a woman who's used to functioning as a single person on holidays, and who does it so well.
I'll do it again this Thanksgiving: spending hours on my feet, surrounded by people I don't know, enjoying a nice meal and feeling glad to be part of a celebration. Plus LBFE really appreciates their volunteers because if it weren't for us, these parties couldn't happen. The Chicago branch of LBFE runs three Thanksgiving celebrations on that day, which rely on hundreds of volunteers. I'll be at the far northside location.
Is anyone else in Chicago free on Thanksgiving? Want to serve turkey to people who will really appreciate it? I know most people have solid plans on that day, but maybe you know someone who would be alone. If so, pass on the idea of joining me.
Bob will certainly be working on December 25th, so guess what I'm doing on Christmas Day?