A Thanksgiving to Remember

Sheila Bunting

Copyright 2014 by Sheila Bunting


Photo of a Thankgiving turkey.

It was a windy and rainy day in Hatfield, a little town in Massachusetts. On Winter’s Lane lived the Hall family. Jack was a typical seven year old with lots of energy and a very vivid imagination. The town of Hatfield was  small and quiet and people there were very friendly.

As the day became more windy and pouring with rain, you could hear it hit the rooftop.
Jack ran into the house soaking wet.
In a loud tone Mrs. Hall said, “Jack, what in the world are you doing coming in here all wet and messing up the new floors your dad just put in. And you are supposed to wipe down in the mudroom.” 

A few seconds went by, then Jack replied,  "Sorry, Mom.   I was hanging out with my friend Hank Duncan and we got carried away.  I didn’t want to be late.”
Not that Hank Duncan again. “I thought we were done with imaginary friends,” said Mrs. Hall.
But Mom, Hank Duncan is really real. I see and talk to him every day at Winter’s Park.”
Now come on, Jack.  You know that isn’t true.”  

Jack, how old is your friend Hank Duncan? And what do you two talk about? if I may ask," said Mrs. Hall.

He is seventy years old and he is really cool, Mom.  He wears a long black coat with shining buttons and a gray hat.”

Mrs. Hall was shaking her head in disbelief.

Jack went on “We talk about all kinds of things.
 He tells me stories about his time in the Korean War and how it was when he was my age.”

 “Ok” said Mrs. Hall with a sharp tone. Enough about this friend Hank Duncan.  Go get off those soaking wet clothes now so we can make our famous pumpkin pie.” 

Finally Jack came downstairs all dry. “I am really sorry, Mom, about getting the new floors wet."
It’s ok, Jack, don’t let it happen again.”

 They began to make that famous pumpkin pie, which was always a big Thanksgiving hit.

As Jack was mixing the filling, he turned and looked up at his mother with those big blue eyes and said “Can Hank Duncan come over for Thanksgiving dinner?” 

Mrs. Hall shook her head still in disbelief and replied “We will see.  Now keep mixing, the crust is almost ready for the filling.”

Can I pour the filling in the crust?asked Jack.

Of course you can.  Don’t you do that every year? It has become a family tradition.

Yeah, you're right, Mom, I wasn’t thinking. I have my mind on my friend Hank Duncan. He lives all alone and has no family. I am his only friend.  Please, please Mom, can Hank Duncan come for Thanksgiving dinner?  Once you and Dad meet him you will just love him.” 

In a strong tone Mrs. Hall replied, “I will have to talk this matter over with your father.” 

She sighed then and continued.  “Do you know how silly this all seems?  We have never meet your friend Hank Duncan, we know nothing about him, only what you have told us.  Now no more talk about this till your father gets home.  Go wash your pie bowl, then get out of the kitchen. I have dinner to make plus all the trimmings for Thanksgiving.” 

As Jack was walking away he turned and said “Mom, can I go to Winter’s Park for a while?”
I suppose, but be back before dinner.”

Jack ran to Winter’s Park which was only two blocks away. There He saw Hank Duncan with his long coat and gray hat sitting on the park bench. Jack came up to the bench and sat down next to Hank Duncan with his head held down. “What in the world is wrong with you, son?” asked Hank Duncan.”  

My mom and dad don’t think you’re real.”

Well do you blame them?  They have never met me.”

Yeah, you're right” said Jack in a low tone. “Will you come to Thanksgiving dinner and tell all your cool war stories if they say yes?”

Hank Duncan looked at Jack with a big smile on his face.  “Well, if it’s OK with your mom and dad I would love to join you and your family for Thanksgiving.”

Then Jack put his arms around Hank Duncan’s neck with his eyes lit up. “I will meet you here at two o’clock. And if I show up that means they said yes. This will be a Thanksgiving to remember.” 

Yes it certainly will be,” said Hank Duncan with a happy tone. 

Jack said bye to Hank Duncan and ran all the way home,  but he didn’t forget to stop in the mudroom to take his muddy shoes off. Jack walked into the living room. “Hi Dad.”
Mr. Hall replied with a stern tone,“What’s this friend Hank Duncan your mother’s has been telling me about?”
Please Dad,” said Jack, “you will love Hank Duncan.”
I guess we have room for one more seat,” said Mr. Hall as he winked at Mrs. Hall.
The biggest smile came upon Jack's face.  He kissed his dad and said “Thanks Dad, this will be a Thanksgiving to remember. ”
After dinner Jack said goodnight and went off to bed
Mr. Hall looked at Mrs. Hall. “What are we going to do with that child?”  Mrs. Hall shook her head and they both laughed.
The next morning arrived.  Sleepy-eyed Jack pulled himself up from his bed and made it downstairs. He could smell the turkey cooking. He could almost taste it in his mouth. “It smells really good, Mom,” said Jack, still trying to wake up.
Thanks, Son.” Are you ready to help? We have a lot to do and I still have to finish cooking. I thought you could help set the table.”
Ok,” said Jack, still wiping the sleep from his eyes.
In a soft tone Mrs. Hall said,  “It won’t be long till we meet your friend Hank Duncan, meanwhile eat your breakfast so we can get everything set up.”
As Jack was washing his bowl he said, “Hey Mom, who else will be coming to Thanksgiving dinner?”
Mrs. Hall replied back, “Well it will just be us three, and of course your friend Hank Duncan.  Everyone else had other plans this year.”  

Jack finished setting the table.  It looked beautiful. He always loved the way his mom could take food and make it look like it should be in a magazine. “Good job,” said Jack.

“Thanks Jack.  Now go and get dressed and don’t forget to wear a tie.  By the time you get ready it will be time for you to go get your friend Hank Duncan.”
Jack ran straight upstairs as if he were running with a football.
Mrs. Hall pulled out the turkey with dressing.  She took a sniff and thought to herself  I do such good work. 

Jack finally came downstairs. His eyes got big as he saw all the beautiful settings and all the amazing food.  “I have to give it to you, Mom, you really outdid yourself this year.”
Well, thank you, my sweet Jack,” said Mrs. Hall.” 

I am going to go get Hank Duncan.  When will Dad be home?” said Jack.
He will be here by the time you and your friend Hank Duncan get back here. So run along.  You don’t want to be late, do you?” 
No, see you in a little while.”  And out the door Jack went.
Mrs. Hall yelled “Don’t run, Jack!  You’ll mess your suit up.”
Yes, Mom,” I hate this tie,  said Jack to himself.
Mr. Hall walked in and said "Smells delicious.  So
it’s only going to be us four this year."

Mrs. Hall just smiled, still in disbelief about Jack's friend.

Jack got halfway to the bench in Winter's Park when he saw Hank Duncan there wearing an orange scarf. Jack ran up to him said, “Nice scarf.”

Jack paused a minute before he spoke.  “They said yes.”
I see that,” said Hank Duncan.
Jack took hold of Hank Duncan’s hand and off they went to Jack's house.
Jack said, “Mom and Dad are going to be so surprised.”
Why is that?” 
Because they don’t believe you are really real.”
They looked up at each other and laughed.
Well, they certainly will be surprised,” said Hank Duncan.
Jack and Hank walked into the house. “Mom, Dad, we are here! yelled Jack.
We are in the dining room,” said Mrs. Hall.

Jack and Hank Duncan walked into the dining room.  Mr. and Mrs. Hall's mouths dropped. There was silence for a moment.   
Then Mrs. Hall said, “Nice to meet you Hank.  Well, you are real.”
Yes I am.” said Hank Duncan  It’s nice to meet you both and thank you for having me over for this special occasion.
Well, any friend of Jack's is a friend of ours, so please take your coat off and join us,said Mrs. Hall.
Mrs. Hall took Hank's coat and hung it on the coat rack.
Jacks said, “You have a tie on too."
Yes I do. I have to clean up sometimes,replied Hank Duncan.
They all laughed then and began their meal.
Everything looks and smells so good,said Hank Duncan.
Thank you, Hank” said Mrs. Hall.
As they began to pass the food around Mr. Hall said, “Jack tells me you were in the Korean War.”
That's right,” said Hank Duncan.
Well, my father served in the Korean War as well,” said Mr. Hall.My mother and father passed away three years ago, three months apart.”
I am sorry to here that,” said Hank Duncan.
Hank told his war stories.  Then he said in an excited tone, “I had a best friend in the Korean War. He was there for me through the hard times. His name was Witt Hall.”
Mr. Hall said with a surprised look, “That was my Dad’s name.” Hank then pulled out a torn and worn-out picture from his wallet and said “He was my very best friend and then we lost touch with one another.”
May I see the picture?” asked Mr. Hall.
You certainly can,” said Hank Duncan.
Mr. Halls eyes lit up and he said,  “That’s my Dad,” and tears filled his eyes.

Mr. Hall raised his glass and said, “Jack was right.  This is a Thanksgiving to remember.” 

They continued to talk about the old days as they finished their Thanksgiving to remember.

My name is Sheila Bunting. I am forty seven years old I am from Kentucky, but I live in Rockford, IL. I am going to school full time. In my spare time I enjoy working out, cooking, reading and volunteering when I can. I view life this way--you get out of life what you put into it and there isn't anything you can't do if you put your mind to it and work hard.

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