A Lesson in Gratitude



“It’s Thanksgiving morning, we’re stuck in the woods, and you’re making us hike!?”

“It will be worth it! I promise.” I replied, hoisting my day-pack over my shoulders.

The group of adolescent guys converged at the trailhead to wait for the day’s venture. Their boots were worn. There was ash tarnishing the fabric of their jackets and patchy beards forming on their grim faces.

“Man, if I were home right now!” He hits his hands together, fist to palm. “You guys don’t even understand! My mom makes THE best turkey.” Growling, he throws his head back and rubs his stomach. “Ugh!”

“Let’s think about that while we hike!” proclaimed my co-leader as he lead the hungry pack of teenagers away from camp and into the wilderness.

I could hear the grumbling complaints of Thanksgiving-present, the longing reminiscences of Thanksgiving-past, and the hopeful wishing for Thanksgiving-future from my spot at the end of the hiking line.

“Dude, don’t even talk to me about turkey. It’s my Grandma’s stuffing. I’m eating the whole thing by myself next year.”

“Nah, nah, nah…Mashed potatoes. Mashed potatoes and that green bean stuff with the crunchies on top!”

“I can’t wait until we’re out of here so we can eat some REAL food!”

Their daydreaming came to an abrupt stop when someone noticed a box strategically placed on the trail ahead.

“Is that?”

“No Way! I see rolls!”

“And a box of stuffing! Is that chocolate pudding?”

“Sure is.” I replied. “Let’s gather it all up and head back to camp. Now, we can ration out this food and make it last the entire week…”

My statement was interrupted by a strong and definitive answer.


The proposition was met by a clamoring of whoops and hollering.

“Alright, we’ll eat it all today!”

I expected nothing less from the pack of hungry teenage guys who have been backpacking in the wilderness for over a month.

The conversation on the way back to camp was exclusive to the joy of Thanksgiving-present. The earlier complaints faded away in the autumn winds.

“I’m going to mix my potatoes and my green beans and mash them up inside my roll and eat it like a sandwich!”

“No way, better than that…I’m going to cut up my canned ham and roast it in the fire! Hot dog style!”

“Bro, this is going to be SO great. I’m going to eat more than is physically possible.”

I couldn’t help smiling to myself.



Published by Fireflies and Jars

Hello! My name is Tracey Gerlach. Professionally, I am a Positive Psychology Practitioner and a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist. Unprofessionally, I'm a doubting dreamer who's just trying to make every moment count. Follow along!

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