Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thoughts on Thanksgiving

This is a guest-post from a friend for whom I have utmost respect.

By Teri McLain

Today I ran a Thanksgiving Day Race in downtown Fort Collins with my Sister Lisa, her friend Jen and 1432 other people. 

At the finish, everyone was milling about and I was leaning on a light pole watching for Lisa. I noticed an obviously homeless man watching the bagel table. When the line thinned, he approached and took a bagel and when he realized no one cared, he took another for his pocket. Then he turned and walked straight towards me, eating a bagel with the happiest look in his eyes that I have ever seen. It was heartbreaking, the sheer joy that could be induced by a circle of dough with a hole in the center. He looked happier than a jewel thief with a pocket full of diamonds.

Around us, half the racers were talking or texting, in their own private Idaho. Two women behind me listed all the things they had to accomplish tomorrow on their shopping spree. They sounded annoyed. Others were talking dinner plans, rehashing the race, or contemplating the best place to grab a beer at 9:47 in the morning of Thanksgiving day. Everyone was munching on bagels and not a one of them had that look of joy in their eyes. I checked. They mostly looked bored.

Did anyone notice this homeless bagel thief? Did they note that he had food now for today, perhaps tomorrow, but not Saturday? Did they see that a dirty outsider with a torn shoe had penetrated their world of dinner plans, $100 trainers, cell phones and shopping sprees? A representative of the hungry - a group of 925 million people on this earth who sleep each night with rumbling bellies and only despair on the menu for breakfast - had waltzed right through their world completely unnoticed. Did anyone see? 

No. They did not. And it is a good thing, because it most certainly would have disturbed the turkey feast when they remembered those eyes. And that left shoe with the ragged tear might have trod upon their happy, nappy afternoon dreams. No. It is decidedly better not to see old shoes like that at the end of a Thanksgiving day race at 9:47 in the morning. And it is best if you never have to see eyes like that. Ever.

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