30 Days of Thanksgiving. Day # 28

I will never forget that morning. It had to be 5 below zero with the wind, and the last thing I wanted to do was go outside and stand on that stupid beach. But there I was, looking out over the ocean at Cape Cod, icicles forming on my nose, watching the sun came up. It made my new Dad smile, and while I didn't appreciate the moment then, it was one of the most memorable Thanksgivings I have ever had. Years later, no matter where I have been or whose table I was privileged to sit at, I have always gone back to those times when we ate (and drank a bunch of water) at the Barnaby Inn, sat around Aunt Ann's ping pong table, and turned beet red as my very religious Papaw told a dirty joke at Grandma Kay's in 1989.  Cape Cod, Boston, and my Dad's family are my favorite Thanksgiving memories.

Today was set to be much less eventful. With the boys spending the holiday with their mother and no other plans, Tiffany and I planned a quiet feast at home. She was up early (5am) and began preparing dinner, and was halfway done when the boys and I got up around 8. Mid-morning they headed out with their mom, and we prepared our table for two for a noon date for two. Then the phone rang.

In my line of work, I often interview potential new team members. During that process, I sometimes think I spend more time talking them out of working for us than I do trying to get them to come aboard. I tell each newbie that we are an emergency response company. That means when the phone rings we go to work, whether it is 3 o'clock on Wednesday afternoon or 3 am on a Sunday. It will ring on the weekend. When you have plans. And today, it rang at 10:27 on Thanksgiving morning

Somewhere in Westerville, Ohio a young man decided to make his still sleeping, very pregnant, wife breakfast. And when he turned his back for a moment, flames erupted in his kitchen. A top notch security system and quick thinking by this man prevented any harm to his wife or their pets. But the damage was severe enough that they needed to leave the home and stay somewhere else. 

Another part of the interview process is when I tell people why I love my job. I explain that we get to help people when they are most vulnerable, and that the ability to take them by the hand and help to restore their property, lives, and state of mind is beyond rewarding. You see, people will forget everything you ever say to them, everything you ever do for them, but they will never forget the way you make them feel. In that moment, it is my job to make them feel comfortable. To make them feel like it is going to get better, and to give them back just a little bit of their sense of normalcy. And so it was this morning.

I walked through their house with them and told them how we would proceed. I explained what we do and how we do it, and they let me know what was priceless to them. Then they thanked me, handed me a key to their home, and told me they trusted we would take care of everything. He told me that this would be a great story to tell his unborn son when gets older. How he was trying to help Mom as she was about to have the baby, and that he burned the house down instead. About how people showed up on Thanksgiving to help, and how amazed he was that companies like ours even existed, much less gave up our holiday to help his family. I told him that this is what we are here for, shook his hand and thanked him for allowing us to help them through this time.

 I went home and had my dinner date with my wife. The rest of the day was uneventful, and I drove to Johnstown to pick up the boys at seven. As they piled into the car, I asked them how their day was. I got mixed reviews, from boring to uncomfortable. I asked them why the bad feelings about the day, and they explained that the day was more all their relatives asking if they were happy, if they missed their Mom, asking if their step-mom was mean, and feeding them other rhetoric that I have come to expect with their time with her. I told them to remember that they got both good and bad from their mom, just like they got both good and bad from me, and that they have to accept the bad with the good as they grow into men. They all told me they were just happy to be going home, and I smiled a bit as I realized that when they grow up and think about this day, they will remember that home is where they belonged.

All through out this day new memories were made. A memory of me and my sweetheart having a feast for two at our own table. A man and his wife will forever remember the day the house caught fire on Thanksgiving and that we were there to help them start the long road to recovery. And 3 young Slusher men will remember that after a long, uncomfortable day, they got to go home. 

Half of my blog posts are about memories. So for the 30 Days of Thanksgiving, Day # 28, I am thankful for those memories. And for each and every person who is a part of them.  I am truly blessed that they played a role in my life, and gave gave me small snapshots in time that I will remember forever. While this blog doesn't come close to capturing all of them, there are some very cool ones I go back and revisit every now and then. 

Day # 270. My boys are home, my sweetheart is relaxing, and I am beyond stuffed. It is good to be me.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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