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Giving thanks for loved ones

This is part four of a month-long series examining things for which I am grateful this Thanksgiving.

This is the fourth, and final, installment of my columns for this month. I saved the thing for which I am most thankful for last—my family and friends.

I spent my Thanksgiving with some of my new friends in Selma, eating and sharing stories around the table and living room with more food than we could consume. I am thankful for these new friends and the concern of so many people that I have a warm meal and company for Thanksgiving. A handful of people I interviewed this past week invited me to their holiday celebrations if I did not already have plans, even though I did not have to take them up on their offer.

Even from afar, my family and friends have made this Thanksgiving special. My mother called me Wednesday and left me an extended message in which she sang a Thanksgiving song my sisters and I have loved since we were little. Ringing frequently on Thanksgiving, my phone was flooded with calls from my family, checking in. Holidays must have been very lonely away from home without the convenience of a phone, because a letter is just not the same as hearing a loved one’s voice.

With my busy days, I do not always get around to calling my friends like I used to do. But even that doesn’t matter, because my friends call just to chat. One friend called on her way to the airport to visit her sister in the Netherlands. Even though I did not get to talk with her when she called, the phone call and message are enough to remind me that people still do care about me.

Friends have chosen to detour to Selma on their travels to spend the night at my apartment. It’s very nice to have company, and it’s even better to have friends from home or college visiting. Living in a new place could be lonely, but I have so many people calling or visiting me to check on me, I have been at ease transitioning to life in Selma. And, for that, I am thankful.