“We gather together …”

My chest is so tight I can barely breathe. I wish I could explain it with a cold; some illness that has rendered my lungs full of phlegm. If it were only so easy. My heart is full. Memories are the blood it pumps. Absence of loved ones may lapse me into a stroke. The constriction is almost more than I can bear.

Tomorrow morning I’ll be spending breakfast with a family from church. It sounds like it’ll be a big party. Quite a few people from our ward will be there, sounds like at least 30 have confirmed. We can arrive in our pajamas or sweats and sit down with friends and chat and watch the parade while we nosh on breakfast finger foods.

Early afternoon I’ll be meeting up with a LJ friend, Ray. He’s taking his daughter into the City to watch the parade. Then we’ll intersect on their way back up to Connecticut. The agreed place is the Metro North Station at 125th Street. We’re hoping some friendly establishment will be open so we can sit and talk and observe each other outside of this cybervenue. I’m excited. It’ll be great.

Tomorrow evening I’ll be heading back to the family’s home for dinner. Fewer people this time around. The mom has been nothing but gracious in her offers. I adore her children, and I think they might like me, too.

One of my greatest fears is having to spend the holidays alone. It’s unfounded. I don’t remember it ever happening. Even if it wasn’t with my family, people have always surrounded me. Friends have flown me home, given me money, invited me to their homes; they have found some worthy reason to celebrate my life, and for that I am eternally grateful.

Dad would make the traditional turkey dinner, all the trimmings. Two, three types of pies. Sometimes we would have company–the missionaries, friends, less fortunate folks. We’d gorge and Frank and I would go watch television where the inevitable falling asleep would ensue.

I’m grateful for food. Pumpkin pie has got to be the one food I cannot get sick of. I’ve been obsessing about it for a week now. I’m just hoping someone will share pumpkin pie with me.

This pain in my chest–my missing you–that’s a definite reason for gratitude. It’s a sure indicator of this web of love that entangles me.

My family has instilled in me true and eternal values.
My friends soften my constant falls from grace.
My Father in Heaven makes sure I have family and friends around.
It is my prayer He continues to provide such bounty to you.

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