General Fiction posted May 15, 2019


Excellent
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For Yvette.

Freedom From Want

by Maria Jose Garcia


I remember the early forties because I was hungry all the time. War was raging in Europe and back home most people were having a hard time.

My grandmother had to go back to work, cleaning and cooking for rich people.

Mother spent her days sewing for a factory and we hardly ever saw Father because he kept the shop open for twelve hours or more every day.

You can imagine how happy my brothers, my sister and I were when we got a note from grandma telling us she was going to celebrate Thanksgiving in her home and we were all invited.

We knew there would be no bird, as Dad called them. Turkeys were extremely expensive back then and only the wealthy could afford them.

'At least we'll eat roast potatoes,' my little sister, Betsy said. Her eyes were big and looked so hopeful...

Thursday came. Mum had laid out our best clothes on our beds. Mine were already a bit small, but I didn't complain.

We arrived at our grandparents' at two and were surprised to see a car we didn't know parked on the drive.

Grandfather opened the door and led us to the living room. The first thing I noticed was the table. I hadn't seen so much food together for a long time.

Standing in a corner of the room, there was a man I didn't know.

'This is Mr Rockwell,' Grandmother said. 'He's one of my employers and a famous painter.'

I didn't understand why Grandmother had invited him and I felt quite uncomfortable as I didn't like strangers.

'I won't bother you for long,' he said, as if he had read my thoughts.

Then, he explained he wanted to take a photograph of each of us to paint a Thanksgiving scene.

After he left, we said grace and started eating as if there was no tomorrow. There was nothing left when we finished.

Years later, when Grandmother was almost a hundred years old and suffering from dementia, I went to visit her at the nursing home where she lived.

She didn't speak much. But suddenly, as if waking up from a reverie, she said, 'I only did it for the turkey. He gave me the turkey.'

And I finally understood. She had allowed Mr Rockwell to paint us, because she wanted us to have a memorable Thanksgiving. That's how sweet my grandmother was.

I kissed her on the cheek and left.

Two days later, I got a call saying she had died.


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You can find more info on the painting here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_from_Want_(painting)
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© Copyright 2019. Maria Jose Garcia All rights reserved.
Maria Jose Garcia has granted FanStory.com, its affiliates and its syndicates non-exclusive rights to display this work.