Service of Thanksgiving

November 19th, 2012

Categories: Lost and Found, Thanks, Thanksgiving

I’m surprised I haven’t written a post with this headline in all the years.

Apart from the season, what made me think of it was something that happened in the 14th Street Subway station the other day.

I’ll get back to that in a minute, but first a word from our sponsor [me]. Strange how Thanksgiving reminds me most of my father who was French, didn’t share a turkey and cranberry sauce tradition and moved to this country in his 30s. Until I married and moved away first to Illinois and then to North Dakota and Turkey [as in the country] my Dad and I never walked across Central Park from my parent’s apartment on the east side to see the Thanksgiving Day Parade every year.  And while Thanksgiving continues to be a favorite holiday–I love baking pies, making cranberry sauce and stuffing and eating leftovers the next day–I also feel sad moments missing friends and family.  Just think how those who have lost all their belongings and/or family members in Hurricane Sandy must feel. They are not yet over the shock.

Back to the subway: I’d been jotting a note on my mobile phone while riding downtown. I dashed out, trotting briskly toward the stairs, when I heard a man yelling “Lady! Lady! Miss! Miss!” He was running after me, waving my gloves that he’d just scooped up off the platform. I was so thankful! I often see a belt, scarf or a glove on the ground on city streets and in public places and wonder, with crowds everywhere, why someone hasn’t rescued a dropped accessory and returned it to its owner.

David Reich, a colleague, found a phone on the street and left it off at the T-Mobile store so that the staff could reunite it with its owner. We found an abandoned phone at the American Craft Show NYC at the Javits a few weeks ago. While my client, Richard Rothbard, was placing calls to see if he could identify the owner, the phone rang and it was the owner’s sister. Both were still at the show. The owner was beside herself with gratitude as she hugged her phone. [When my husband lost his mobile phone a few weeks ago, nobody returned it–more typical perhaps?].

More apt, I am thankful that my husband is beginning to feel better after being sick and debilitated since spring. He is recovering from chronic tick-borne diseases that it took months to diagnose. A doctor in Pawling, NY has been unraveling the physical mystery since August.

dsc022581While this is beginning to sound like an Academy Award acceptance speech, I am thankful for my family-and I count close friends in this category-to Lucrezia the loyal commenter on this blog and to all the others who take the time to share their thoughts; to my office colleagues, clients, media and association contacts, the students I’ve mentored for their camaraderie and loyalty and fellow mentors, many of whom have become friends.

Far more important than my Thanksgiving memories and anecdotes are yours. I hope you’ll share.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Discussion after Thanksgiving dinner

6 Responses to “Service of Thanksgiving”

  1. Lucrezia Said:

    There’s a great deal to be thankful for, not being a turkey, for one! But why concentrate on only one day? Same thing for Christmas. Anything wrong with acts of kindness throughout the year?

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:

    I thought I’d spread the thanks well beyond turkey day, but clearly not enough.

    Speaking of turkeys, when I lived in North Dakota a friend who lived on a farm in Glenburn [at the time, a town of 250 people] used to make wine. Once she figured the liquid had fermented enough, she’d toss out the grapes or dandelions or whatever in the back yard. One year her turkeys got to the discarded fermented fruit and flowers. Her description of the weaving turkeys was hilarious. I always wondered if those turkeys tasted different from others–as the milk of a cow that has eaten onion grass has an oniony taste.

  3. Diane Baranello, Coaching for Distinction Said:

    Jeanne, Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to embrace an attitude of gratitude. I am so very grateful for all the warm memories I have of holidays made special by my mother and father … and the traditions we kept over the years. The holidays were focused on family, food, counting our blessings and appreciating our bounty. This year I celebrate and embrace the memory of what made those days so special … love, sharing and sacrifice. Warm wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. Jeremiah Said:

    Not being by nature a devotee of holiday hype, which he views as having largely become a marketing gimmick to induce us all to consume too much that we do not need or even want, for no useful purpose but to make our fat cats even more bloated with their ill-gotten gains, this curmudgeon, on behalf of all the other curmudgeons, misanthropes, misogynists, luddites, and other assorted and sundry maladjusted discontents who read your great blog, would like to thank you for your kind words and for you’re having given us all a chance to vent forth, unrestrained, our sometimes malodorous spumes of fury even when our views are contrarian and unpopular.

    (If you think that is a long sentence, Sir Walter Scott famously has one in “Quentin Durward” that goes on for three pages! He, too, in his way, defied convention.)

  5. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Thank you Diane,

    Like you I love tradition and familiar things, bringing out platters and linens my grandfather and mother used to dress up holiday gatherings. It also gives me a chance to feel civilized! There’s nothing like a pretty table to cheer me up.

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I can’t compete with your long sentence but I can say “thanks” for the sentiment and for participating in the blog!

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