Truly Blessed

ALS patient James Martin shares his journey.


Print Print
James Martin
Thursday, November 22, 2012

I have always enjoyed Thanksgiving and it's piggyback long weekend. As a child I would awake to the smell of a slow roasting turkey that entered the oven in the early morning hours. And the smell of this Thanksgiving meal, as always, rekindled the long ago feelings and memories of my youth.

This holiday seemed extra long. Our turkeys are growing up and beginning to leave the nest, so we reconfigured the holiday celebration to ensure that everyone could at least share the Thanksgiving meal. We moved it to Wednesday. Our oldest son and his fiancee came from Indiana and due to work obligations they got in late Tuesday night and had to return late Wednesday night. Lots of driving for a turkey dinner.

Our next oldest surprised us and returned from Omaha a day early. And because we reset the holiday to Wednesday, his girlfriend along with my sister-in-law and her family were able to join us as well as my in-laws. It was a crowded table covered by wonderful food and surrounded by loving family. And for that, I am most thankful.

Historically I have been of little use in preparing the feast, and as traditions are important, I continued my tradition of being useless. But like the Norman Rockwell image of Thanksgiving, my minor role in the meal has been to carve the bird. However, my family now prohibits me from using the electric carving knife. That and the fact that my left arm is as agile as the turkey to be carved, I was relegated to the role of food taster and critic. Tough job, I know. The meal got 5 stars.

After the manufacturer's suggested digestion period concluded, it was time for our oldest to leave. And thus began the traditional ten stage holiday separation procedure: 1. Announcing it is time to go, 2. Doing nothing to prepare to leave, 3. Announcing that "we should get going" 4. Making a half hearted attempt to leave, 5. Going around and saying goodbye, 6. Packing the car, 7. Saying goodbye again, 8. Double checking that you have everything 9. Congregating by the door saying final goodbyes, 10. Finally walking out the door. This procedure is thus repeated for each family unit departing. Saying goodbye sometimes takes longer than the meal.

So this Thanksgiving day, we are celebrating by sleeping in, watching football, strategizing for Black Friday and eating the best leftovers of the year. I hope that your Thanksgiving was as blessed as ours.

Last updated: 10:46 am Wednesday, August 28, 2013

James Martin is a former attorney and graduate of Gonzaga University and Marquette Law School. He lives in Spring Prairie near Burlington. He has been diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. He is married with 6 kids. James is a community blogger and is not a part of The Gazette staff. His opinion is not necessarily that of the Gazette staff or management.

Print Print