Last Wednesday morning, I made pumpkin and pecan pies. Wednesday night, my husband made apple pie, and he cooked green beans Thursday morning. We were ready with our contributions to Thanksgiving dinner.
Our two adult children had flown to Kansas City to be with us—our son on Monday and our daughter late Wednesday evening. They were ready for Thanksgiving also.
About 12:30 Thursday afternoon, we loaded food and overnight bags into our two cars (to facilitate separate returns after the holiday) and headed to Marshall, Missouri, to have dinner with my husband’s mother, sister, and brother-in-law.
Our kids took the faster route. About 2:10, I had a call from my son. “We just got to Grandma’s house. Her hip went out, and the ambulance is taking her to the hospital. Aunt Nancy is headed there, too.”
My husband and I were just approaching Malta Bend, Missouri—ten minutes away from Marshall. “We’ll go straight to the hospital,” I told my son. “We’ll call when we have something to report.”
When we arrived at the hospital, my mother-in-law was in X-ray. She had had a hip replacement two months earlier, and after the X-rays came back, the doctor confirmed that her new joint had separated. “We can’t fix it here. She’ll have to go to Columbia. They might be able to pop it back in the ER there. Otherwise, she’ll need surgery again.”
My husband waited for an ambulance to arrive to take his mother the 45-minute ride to a larger hospital in Columbia, Missouri. My sister-in-law and I returned to the house.
About 5:00pm, the ambulance set out for Columbia. My husband stopped by the house to drop off the green beans and eat a quick sandwich, then followed his mother to Columbia.
Meanwhile, my sister-in-law and I put our Thanksgiving dinner in the oven and salvaged our meal.
So our holiday was changed by an emergency. Still, we had many things to be grateful for. Here are a few:
1. I am grateful my mother-in-law’s hip was fixed in the Columbia emergency room. She and my husband were back home at 10:00pm. The next morning she was walking, albeit with a limp.
2. I am grateful for the medical personnel in Marshall and Columbia who were pleasant and competent, despite missing their holiday with family and friends.
3. I am grateful the roads between Kansas City, Marshall, and Columbia did not ice over. The rain was constant and cold, but the highway did not turn treacherous.
4. I am grateful we had planned a turkey roll and stuffed salmon for dinner, rather than a whole turkey that would have taken hours to cook and been hard to delay. As it was, we could put the meal together in an hour.
5. I am grateful everyone other than my husband and his mother had a pleasantly relaxed dinner. We didn’t dress up, but came as we were. We didn’t use the Waterford crystal, only everyday wine glasses. We served ourselves buffet style and didn’t light the candles in the dining room. But we laughed and joked and told stories, as families are supposed to do on a holiday.
6. I am especially grateful that I am married to a man who didn’t hesitate to give up his Thanksgiving meal to follow his mother to Columbia. He and his mother did get pie when they returned, and I bought him a turkey breast for later in the weekend. But this emergency—which occurred on our 38th wedding anniversary—reminded me how fortunate I am to have him.
This year I learned that there is always something to be thankful for, even when plans change due to an emergency.
When have your holiday plans changed suddenly?