Thanksgiving. Not the most flashy holiday, á la Christmas or Halloween, but one of Sarah’s and my favorites. Not because some unique event happens (the Carsons, Masons, and Currences all have pretty elaborate/large dinners everytime we get together), but rather that often we reflect on our family/friend situations. Truly consider how lucky we are to have those around us.

Feel fortunate, humble, and grateful that we are lucky. Not everyone can.

Again, I’ll compare Christmas and Thanksgiving because Thanksgiving also feels like a time to give to those that need it. Be thankful, but also do something. Too often we don’t share the excess we have; excess in any form.

So, this holiday we joined Sarah’s parents at the Turkey Trot put on by the local YMCA. The Turkey Trot is a nation-wide fundraiser organized by the YMCA to raise money for charity (often going to families and children living in poverty in the communities of the local Y). It’s a 5k run, walk, or stroll that encourages everyone—no matter their physical prowess—to join in the “feel-good” vibes of the event. And that is exactly what Thanksgiving morning should be.

After a bit of pre-race confusion (we thought it started at 8, not 8:30), the morning became all smiles and warm thoughts; though the temperature had yet reached 50 degrees. Sarah, Hob (my father-in-law), and I took our places at the starting line, while Amy (my mother-in-law) steered her wheelchair over to Byrd Road—the start of the course was over wet grass, not the easiest terrain to navigate with her chair. Her MS can drain her energy quickly, but she still is able to participate in these events.

People of all ages stretched, jogged in place, or performed other pre-race rituals. Kids and dogs paced eagerly in small circles, waiting for the starting gun as well. The Turkey Trot encouraged everyone, even pets (no, we didn’t bring Elayne, Maggie, and Michonne…this time).

After the course outline was described, the starting gun sounded. We were off. Once we caught up with Amy, Hob continued running—he needed to finish first in his age group, which he did—while Sarah and I walked with Amy. When she decided it was time to sit, Amy sat. Sarah pushed.

Then we started Trottin’.

Sarah, always up for a challenge, started running while pushing. So I followed her lead. Amy confirmed she was comfortable, so Sarah and I took turns pushing her over the 3-mile course. We passed farms, a home-owner with roughly 30 dogs, a “Slow Ducks” sign, and because the course wound back on itself, the other participants in the Turkey Trot. Cheers and helloes were the common greetings, but when Hob came by he gave Amy a high-five, never breaking stride.

At the half-way point—uniquely named Meatball Farm—we took a small break, drank water, and talked with the coordinator of the run, Mary Brad. When we started back, Amy again walked until she tired. Then Sarah and I were back to trottin’. Back down the country lane of Byrd Road. Once we had retraced our steps past the local canine kennel and all of the slow ducks, we met Hob where the course turned to grass. Sarah and I crossed the finish line, while Hob did for the second time (he wasn’t awarded a second medal, unfortunately).

There were fifty runners. And each would agree, that running for charity or a cause is more rewarding than any other race you’ll run. This is a Thanksgiving tradition Sarah and I plan to continue, as long as we are able. We will give thanks that we can, but hopefully, bring some joy and a reason for someone else to be thankful on Thanksgiving as well.
Wander On. Trot On.

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