The Veteran I Didn't Meet this Thanksgiving: Let Him Eat Cake

Thanksgiving went very well at Veterans Village this year.  In my tradition of not taking pictures, I didn't take pictures, but I did keep a mental list of what we brought and served: turkey, ham (2), three kinds of green bean casserole, four types of stuffing, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese,  several trays of corn casserole, bananas, pies, cakes, breads. If there was salad, I didn't see it, but then again, I'm very good at not seeing vegetables.

I didn't eat. My job (that I created and hired myself to do) involves introducing student volunteers to veterans and maximizing points of contact between people who might never else have met. 

Many vets aren't there today, which is not a sad thing. Several other organizations reached out to offer meals, and because #America, they were free to choose being somewhere else today. They know we will leave them leftovers in the fridge and be back next Thursday anyway.

In between introducing Ron to Rachael and figuring out why people are using spoons as forks I see one of my favorite Veterans (let's call him James) walking down the stairs carrying a closed to-go container.

We stop next to the pillar next the picnic table and chat and he tells me all this food is for his roommate. He won't come out of his room, he doesn't want to come see the food and see the people, he just wants to be left alone.

I get that, completely.

 It's like if he can't have Thanksgiving with his Mom, he doesn't want Thanksgiving at all. 

James nods and agrees. We've both been there. And today on this Thanksgiving neither of us are with our Moms. But still, we get him.

 I ask James if he packed some of my checkerboard cake for his roommate and he says yes and with that we smile at ourselves for being awesome, if only for a few minutes now and then,  and go on with Thanksgiving.