I have always tried to take Thanksgiving to heart for what it should mean. No, not the football nor the feasting, but rather taking time to be truly thankful for the things that matter such as time with family and friends, the blessings of a full table of food and quality time to just be.
I grew up in the 60s where we gathered for large family dinners, usually alternating between my dad’s or mom’s side of the family and occasionally combining them all in one huge bunch. It was the time spent together that mattered most, and there are many fond memories of cousins playing endless rounds of hide ‘n seek or touch football when the weather was nice. If it had snowed, we would break out the sleds or erupt into snowball fights of renown.
This year? I am approaching the day with the deepest of thanks for just being able to be here. Many of you know Hubby and I were in a serious car accident July 21. A mere two feet and the sharp reflexes of the other driver are all that stands between my writing this column or still being laid up or worse.
While Hubby came through without a scratch, it took a good two months for me to heal from the five broken ribs, lacerated spleen, concussion and messed up shoulder, compounded by a bout with pneumonia at four weeks into the recovery.
I have been so humbled by the outpouring of support from family and friends, readers of this column and others I don’t even know. I want you to know I have treasured each and every call, text, email, card or thoughtful expression on the street.
Thankfully the physical healing is complete. By eight weeks the ribs were fully healed, and I only have an occasional twinge to remind me of my convalescence. I was released from physical therapy the end of September and continue with exercises at home to keep strengthening my shoulder and keep it flexible. My goal was to be able to lift my 50-pound sacks of chicken feed again and I am happy to report in the last two weeks that has been achieved.
In September, after I thankfully had recovered enough to play nurse Batie once again, Hubby had surgery to remove squamous cell carcinoma from his nose and at the same time sinus surgery to take care of a deviated septum.
I remarked to a friend that it was hell getting older as we were like a pair of old tractors needing to head to the repair shop every few months.
However, just as we thought we were getting back to normal, a harvest accident occurred, which I will detail in another column. Once again, we are reeling. The head of the custom combine crew we hired to bring in our corn crop was critically injured when run over by a grain truck on Oct. 30 and died a week later from those injuries.
This happened while they were working on finishing our harvest and the countless “what ifs” continue to run through our minds. We have known this family for at least 20 years and in their grief, they have been most gracious. We all can learn from their faith.
It is that faith that we now cling to and use as our light in what has been a dark time in our lives. While finished, this has been a bittersweet harvest for all involved. Once again, we are thankful for the outpouring of concern and care and have felt the power of prayer. So many have shared stories of tragedies they worked through that we never knew about, and from that empathy we take strength. It is now one day at a time.
So, as we approach the holidays, make time for those you love, hug a little harder, care a little deeper and join me in a heart-felt thanksgiving for blessings both large and small.
Barb Bierman Batie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.