Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I don’t know her real name. She would seem to be a very young woman but she has clearly not aged well. She’s fallen victim to her addictions and her whole carriage embodies the difficult times and rough roads she’s had to traverse in her lifetime. But she has an engaging smile and there is a buoyancy to her deep, alto voice that you don’t expect. There is an air of antiquity to her face, like that of an old soul and that makes me think she would have an old name, something simple and elegant, as I imagine she could have been under different circumstances. I call her Naomi.

Naomi walks the streets talking to herself. Her conversations always seem heated as she gestures with her hands, her head waving excitedly from side to side. Naomi never seems to notice the odd stares and deep frowns people toss in her direction. If you catch her eye she will be your friend, racing to your side to ask for a dollar to buy herself a meal. Naomi is always hungry and I suspect that what Naomi yearns for has little to do with a hot biscuit and cup of coffee.

Naomi rushed in to the store today to exchange four quarters for a dollar bill. Then she asked for two to tide her over for the holiday. Naomi was excited about her future. She’s headed to prison in a few short days to serve time for a number of charges. The only one she proudly claims is her drunk and disorderly conviction. Naomi was excited because it’s cold outside and in prison she’ll get three square meals per day and a blanket and bed at night.

“Gots ta’ be thankful!” Naomi proclaimed excitedly. “God is good,” she concluded as she waved goodbye, promising to come visit again as soon as she got out of jail. Naomi was grinning broadly, her face brimming with joy, gratitude shimmering from her eyes.

Naomi is grateful that prison will move her from the streets to a place with four walls and a cot. Watching her skip across the parking lot, waving excitedly at strangers as she shouted out Thanksgiving greetings, moved me to tears.

I called a friend to tell her about my experience with Naomi. Glenda was headed out of town, anxious to be as far from holiday cheer as she can get. She lost a cherished family member many years back and the holidays no longer hold any joy for her. Glenda will once again spend her holiday mourning her losses as she sits alone on some island getaway. She couldn't fathom that there are people in her life who want to share in her many blessings this year and have her share in theirs.

As you gather around your pretty tables with family and friends this season, be ever so mindful of all those little blessings that we sometimes take for granted. Few of us were privileged to have had an easy time this year. Most of us are still suffering through our individual hardships, understanding that we still have a long way to go. But even Naomi recognizes that there is always something to be grateful for. I wish my my dear friend Glenda could.

Happy Thanksgiving! May you each have a safe and blessed holiday.


Anonymous said...

Hi Ms Deborah,
It is always good to hear from you and I want to wish you and your family a HAPPY AND SAFE THANKSGIVING.

Looking forward to the Stallion books soon.



Meljprincess said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Deborah!

Mel K.
Meljprincess AT aol DOT com

*I'm on your newsletter list.

Deborah Mello said...

Hey, Louise!!!
Hiya, Mel K.!!!

Hope you both hada wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!!

Thanks for stopping by.


Anonymous said...

Hi Deb-
Read your story about Naomi and it reminded me of the many times I would serve food at the homeless shelter in Stamford during the holidays. Sometimes we really do not realize how blessed we are until we hear someone else's story. Happy Belated Thanksgiving.

Deborah Mello said...

Hey there!
How blessed we are...

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving. Mine was exceptional and I'm looking forward to Christmas. Here's hopting that all of our Santa wishes all come true.