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Brian Theodore

Well, it's Thanksgiving morning and by the time the sun had risen, I had diced potatoes, boiled and peeled two dozen eggs, and put together my homemade stuffing. This does not include the multitude of tasks my resourceful wife completed. Every year we host around 20 family and friends for this sacred dinner, and every year despite our best efforts, we forget something. We attempt to plan ahead but are almost always unsuccessful.

Suspiciously though, as I regard my cabinets, there is an ample supply of cream of mushroom soup. I don’t know why, but I purchase it often throughout the year and truly only use it on Thanksgiving. At one time, I must have been in dire need of the velvety soup and was without, and unconsciously a fear of such a recursion lingers in me still.

Anyway, in those times of need when our memory fails us on this hallowed day, I guiltily drive to Kroger to retrieve whatever item I may have forgotten and a can of cream of mushroom soup just in case.

Comparatively, when I was younger, I worked at a convenient store for more than a couple of years as a second job. As a result, every year I had to work on Thanksgiving. My manager put everyone on the schedule for at least four hours in a respectable effort to be fair. However, his fairness did little to lessen my bitterness for having to work on one of my favorite holidays. Indeed, I always regarded Thanksgiving as one of the “Big Two.” The other holidays throughout the year were minor players in life to get us to the other two: Christmas and Thanksgiving.

Every year I would stand behind the counter lined with a small tower of scratch-off lottery tickets and a bulky cash register that I called Bob, and I would wait on patrons, who like me today, forgot to buy sugar, or eggs, or…cream of mushroom soup. Indeed, Bob would sound his register ring with each purchase hiding my mumbling comments of despair.

So, when I walked into Kroger this morning at 8:45, I felt a sense of empathy for that skeleton crew that made up the store’s lonely populace. I was overly friendly, and I smiled and greeted everyone regardless of their demeanor, which was much nicer than mine had been all those years ago.

We needed sugar and bread…and cream of mushroom soup. My wife and I maneuvered our way through the aisles and finally made our way to the register. We were greeted with a friendly “hello” and sent on our way with “Have a nice Thanksgiving,” to which I sheepishly responded with a thank you that almost sounded like an apology.

I am thankful for a lot, but it is here that I would like to say thank you to those workers that work on the holidays; those workers that are there when we need them. They are the unsung heroes for the forgetful on the holidays. Thank you.

Brian Theodore is a language arts teacher at Corbin High School and lives in Corbin with his wife, who is also a teacher at CHS. He can be contacted at Theteachersdesk.theodore@gmail.com.

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