The day after Halloween, the wind undressed the trees and now they have gone to sleep. I can hear the new wind in the distance as only a whisper now but soon it will sure to shout out its arrival with white crystal confetti and a roar or two.
“Aren’t we going to put the cornucopia on the table now?” Goldi asked the next morning.
Still recovering from the fast moving time warp we all find ourselves in, I stood in a daze.
“The cornucopia?” said looking at her with scrunched eyebrows.
“You know, the big horn basket thing we put on the table. Then at our dinner we write on a colored slip of paper something we are thankful for. Then we read it and put it in the cornucopia and THEN on Thanksgiving Day we make a big long chain! Remember?”
“How did I not remember? It’s November. Even though it seems like it was just the fourth of July. ”
How could I forget? It’s been our tradition since we moved to our new house. Not only that, it is a Geek thing. It’s a Roman thing too, but it’s the Greek part that is important. No one ever said “This is your grandfather’s cornucopia , I want you to have it to remember him by. ” It comes from Greek mythology and some story that actually seems ridiculous to me. I like to focus on its symbol. It has been called the “horn of plenty” for its curved shape. It represents abundance. Later in Early America, around Thanksgiving time , it was basket filled with fruits and vegetables from the harvest.
I had cleaned ours up a bit and spray painted it a golden color. Stuffed with fake poinsettias, I found it among the Christmas decorations. ( Alas, one season at a time please) The dried up roses from the yard were removed. The cornucopia was laid in place. It seemed so much bigger than I remembered. I wondered if it would really look full on Thanksgiving Day.
Goldi chose the color red to start. She laid out four strips of red paper and a pen at each place setting.
“What’s this? someone who shall be nameless asked.
“We are starting the cornucopia!” Goldi states as though frustrated that everyone seemed clueless.
I am thankful for this sunny day. I wrote.
I am thankful for steak! said her brother.
I am thankful for this house. said my husband.
I am thankful for friends, family, food, and mashed potatoes! said Goldi.
Four red strips were rolled up and put inside the cornucopia.
As the sunset, I began to get chilled. I hoped the sun would shine the next day, and the next day after that and for all the days ahead. But not even knowing what tomorrow ever brings, I got out the electric blanket for bedtime.
“Will we do the cornucopia again tomorrow?” Goldi asked as I tucked her in.
“Of course!” I said closing her bedroom door slow enough to see the twinkling smile on her face.
Tomorrow started with more chills. Ten layers of blankets with one being electric and I was chilled. The sun was going to shine , was to be nearly 70 degrees ,and I was chilled.
“Do you know where the thermometer is?” I asked my husband.
In typical nurse fashion, he had dug out our thermometer, cleaned it off with alcohol, and handed it to me ready. He took my heart rate too.
“What do you think?” he asked showing me the high number.
“I think I have it. ” I said feeling the thud of the realization heavy on my chest.
I spent the entire day in bed. My husband stayed home from the hospital. Kids stayed home from school. I slept and sometimes just laying there thinking –what does the world look like outside the bedroom door?
Dinnertime came and I was alone. I heard plates and silverware clanging.
Golid came in
“Mom, here- ” she said with her head turned away .
She had laid out a green strip of paper and pen on the table next to me, then quickly stepped away.
“You have to do the cornucopia. We did it too. ” she informed.
I am thankful for warm bed. I wrote.
“I will put it inside the cornucopia!” Goldi said speeding away .
Testing once seemed no big deal. Goldi and I had tested in the summer. Mostly a precautionary thing. It didn’t seem so bad. We’ve all stuck things up our nose before.
“What is your name and birthdate” said the PPE covered girl.
What was my name and birthdate? Things seemed so blurry right then. I sat there scrunched in my seat looking more like my kids before getting their vaccinations.
“It’s going to be uncomfortable. But just relax . Four seconds in each side. “
“Okay.” I said
It was over quicker than the wait on the phone to talk to the doctor. It was over quicker than waiting in the line even with an appointment. It was over quicker than it took me to remember my name and birthday. But I was crying.
“Kids,” I said with a cracked voice, “You are braver than me. You got all those shots and didn’t cry a bit. ”
“Here mom. ” said Goldi handing me a yellow strip and a pen before dinner.
I am thankful for my family. I wrote.
“How do you feel? ” Goldi asked as she stepped away .
“Well, I ‘m sure you will feel better soon. ” she said.
Sleep was pretty easy to do after such a day. I didn’t want to get out of bed for one minute. Soon, I grew thirsty.
The moon’s glow lit up the kitchen. As I filled by cup with water, I could see the cornucopia looking fuller. Goldi had certainly seen to it that we carry on the tradition. Only three days into the month and it didn’t look so empty anymore.
Pink strips of paper were set out for dinner two days later. A couple of hours before, I read my results. I read them twice. I was positive that I was positive. I sat several feet away from my family, feeling very little appetite, and like I was about to eat invisible food.
I am thankful for the fruit jelly. Brother wrote.
I am thankful I could wear shorts today. Goldi wrote.
I am thankful that we are all home together. My husband wrote.
I am thankful that I am positive, I began, that this cornucopia is going to be the fullest ever. ”
2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to bless you abundantly , to that in all things, at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work!