It was not going to be a traditional Thanksgiving. Of that they were certain. Stella and Toby were miffed, actually they were downright, outright, mad. Their housemates had departed for the holiday, dashing off to Denver to be with family. Weren’t they family? Stella and Toby wondered as they wandered around the now suddenly empty house, which had seemed so full only hours before.
So how would they spend this holiday? Neither Stella nor Toby had a driver’s license, (they had always had drivers) although their housemates did leave one car in the garage. Being older in age, both Stella and Toby had come to depend on their housemates more than either would admit to the other, or to anyone who should chance to inquire, for that matter.
Should they have something delivered? At least the deserting housemates had arranged for a cleaning service in their absence. Stella and Toby were accustomed to being waited on and catered to, as they had never known anything else.
In truth, they looked upon their housemates more as the help than fellow home dwellers. But now Stella and Toby missed them terribly. Or was it simply the services those two provided that they were missing? Someone had come in briefly yesterday and cleaned their bathroom. That same person also delivered the day’s mail and supplied food and drink in the silver bowls Stella and Toby preferred when dining in.
But now it was Thanksgiving Day and no one had come to visit them or to serve them. Food and drink were running low on this day of all days, when food and drink are supposed to be consumed in an abundance exceeding other more ordinary days. Where was a phone? Had the housemates taken both the phones with them? Of course they had! They were never without them.
Later in the day, both Stella and Toby heard voices at the front door. There was some commotion, but the door never opened. Watching unnoticed through a side window, Toby saw the cleaning lady from yesterday struggling with the key in the front door’s lock. Soon she was joined by a very large gentleman. Toby thought he recognized this man. “I must have seen him while watching football on TV,” Toby thought to himself. But without the uniform Toby couldn’t be sure.
Soon another woman joined the cleaning lady and the NFL linebacker on the front porch. She seemed to be the brains behind the operation, but since the linebacker had already pulled the metal door handle right off the door, and the key still refused to turn in the lock, there didn’t seem to be a solution short of doing more harm to the door in order to gain entrance into the house. (isn’t that called breaking and entering?)
As if on cue, another man showed up on the front porch, a state trooper. He didn’t arrest anyone however. There was some continued conversation, then the four quietly dispersed. Toby correctly surmised where they were all headed. Off to family feasts, no doubt. Their houses were probably full of food and drink and football and fun and family. It hardly seemed fair to Stella and Toby.
Toby shared this news with Stella as the two of them pondered their Thanksgiving Day predicament. The food from yesterday was finished, the water was running low, the bathroom was becoming intolerable. I cannot say for sure, but perhaps Stella and Toby spent this time plotting the demise of their housemates upon their return, or at the very least in planning effective revenge strategies to be executed while said housemates slept.
Stella and Toby may have contemplated turning their housemates in, not for their act of abandonment on a national holiday but because they were in defiance of orders not to travel and not to gather together with loved ones to celebrate this holiday. That’s why Stella and Toby had refrained from issuing invitations of their own for Thanksgiving. They didn’t want to be in violation of the six or less edict. Stella and Toby are nothing if not law abiding.
But as I said, I cannot say for certain how Stella and Toby spent those lonely Thanksgiving hours with their food supply depleted and their cleaning lady unable to gain entrance into their home. What I do know is that on the following morning Toby witnessed another front porch discussion between the cleaning lady and another gentleman who also tried the key without success. When they left, Toby’s hopes for food went with them.
Shortly after that reappearance of the cleaning lady on the front porch however, there was a stranger causing quite a commotion at the front door, so much so that the door knob on the inside of the door fell to the floor leaving a hole where Toby could see clear through to the outside. Next thing Toby knew, the door was open, the stranger stepped in, dismantled the rest of the hardware on the inside of the door, put it in a pile and left, closing the now unlocked door behind him.
Stella was furious. The stranger had come and gone without so much as a “how are you doing? is there anything I can get you before I go?” Toby shared Stella’s sentiments. They were both definitely mystified by the stranger’s behavior which left them miffed and mad, exactly where they had started this holiday. They were spending Thanksgiving being anything but thankful.
Then the cleaning lady mysteriously reappeared, entering through the now unlocked front door, greeting them warmly, talking soothingly to them both. Stella couldn’t believe it. She would have none of it. She remained cool, watching from a distance and Toby followed her example. That is until he heard the sound of food falling into the previously empty silver dish and of fresh water filling the almost empty silver bowl. Then Toby had to make his move. After all, hunger usually wins out over anger.
Toby found there was more food than normal and the water tasted particularly cool and refreshing. The bathroom was cleaned to perfection, which made Stella ecstatic, though she would never let on nor admit to it. This cleaning lady was still a poor substitute for their absent housemates, housemates that are going to be in the “doghouse” when they return home. Stella and Toby will see to that!
What is my part in this story of Stella and Toby and their very distressing Thanksgiving holiday? I confess to you, dear readers, I am the cleaning lady in this saga of Thanksgiving woe. I am the one who could not get the key to turn in the lock. I am the one who enlisted the help of the linebacker who didn’t know his own strength. (well, maybe he did, but he did not mean to dismantle the door handle by sheer force, he pulled it off the door without even breaking a sweat, totally an accident)
I further confess to you that Stella and Toby are the cats who live across the street, who are in my care until their housemates’ return. I’m sure these two find me a poor substitute for their housemates’ care and company. (didn’t I just write about the shortcomings of things we substitute for the real thing in “the substitute” post?)
So now you know “the rest of the story” as Paul Harvey used to say. I was able to lock the front door from the inside and am now using a garage door opener left in the car to enter and exit the house where Stella and Toby reside. I am sure I am now off their Christmas list as I have in all probability been moved to their “hit” list. (which I hear is quite a lengthy list, you know how cats can be)
Still, I did recommend to Stella and Toby that they start practicing 1 Thessalonians 5:18 which states,
“give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
with that in mind, Toby, Stella and I have declared every day Thanksgiving Day and we have made a pact to acknowledge God as the source of all good gifts, and furthermore we have promised to each day,
“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.” (Psalm 107:1)
sincerely, Grace Day