Give Thanks for the Moment
Trixie BeldenŽ is the registered trademark of Random House. This story is not for profit.
This is a Holiday GWP for
Zap's. Thanks to Janette for suggesting that I write this Holiday GWP, and
to Leigh and Susansuth for suggesting the holiday lyrics that appear in this
“Hi Mr and Mrs Wheeler,” Trixie
greeted them at the door. “Thanks for coming. Bobby will take your coats. I
think you know the way by now.”
Madeleine Wheeler handed Bobby
her fur stole that Bobby eyed suspiciously and Matthew Wheeler gave him his
“Happy Thanksgiving to both of
you,” Matt cried heartily. “I can smell your mother’s wonderful cooking from
here. Madeleine wanted to spend a few extra days in Rome but I told her we had
to get back for Helen’s cooking.”
“Nonsense Matthew,” Madeleine
chided him. “We were always going to be home for Thanksgiving with our family.”
“Well, we’re glad you made it,”
Trixie told them with a smile. “Honey’s in the kitchen helping Moms and I’m
sure Jim’s around here somewhere too.”
“We’ll find them,” Matt assured
her and led Madeleine away.
“Hi Mrs Elliot,” Trixie smiled as
the next person came through the door. “I’m glad you could make it. Let Bobby
take your coat.”
“There you are,” Brian murmured,
coming up behind Honey in the kitchen and nuzzling her neck. “I’ve been looking
for you everywhere.”
“You knew where I’d be,” Honey
laughed. “Just took a while to get here, did it?”
“I got waylaid by Mr Lytell on
the way,” Brian admitted. “Wanted to ask me why his hip aches during the
“And what did you tell him?”
“Not what I wanted to tell him,”
Brian muttered and spun her around for a kiss.
“Honey, have you…” Helen began as
she walked into the kitchen. She stopped at the sight of her son kissing Honey
and smiled. “I should have known you’d be distracting her. Go on, get out of
“Aw, Moms,” Brian complained with
a grin and he and Honey broke apart. “I’m only home for four days. She looked
like she needed distracting.”
“Then you can distract everyone
when they’re complaining their hungry,” Helen told him. “Now scoot!”
Brian gave Honey a quick kiss on
the mouth and went to leave, but Helen grabbed his hand.
“Brian,” Helen said quietly.
“Can you go and check on Di? She doesn’t seem very happy.”
“How you doing Dan?” Jim asked as
he passed him a drink and sat down next to him to watch the football.
“I’ve been better.”
“Still no word from Hallie?” Jim
“Not directly,” Dan admitted. “I
know she made it safely home, but I don’t know why she left in such a hurry and
why she didn’t say goodbye.”
“It hurts, doesn’t it.” It
wasn’t a question.
“I know what it’s like to lose
someone you love, but I couldn’t do anything about that,” Dan almost whispered.
“I could have stopped Hallie from leaving.”
“I could have told her how I felt
about her. If she knew, then maybe she wouldn’t have left,” Dan moaned
Jim was silent as Dan’s words
impacted on him.
Dan turned to him slowly. “Why
are we so bad with women? What is it that Brian and Mart have that we don’t?”
Jim knew the answer, he had asked
himself the same question. “Courage.”
“Are you feeling okay Di?” Brian
asked gently over the din of the crowded room.
“I’m fine,” she lied. Her face
was pale, and there was a hint of dark circles under her eyes.
“How are you coping without
Hallie?” Brian continued. “I know you were close to her. Have you heard from
Di shook her head and Brian
frowned. What was going on here? Did Di and Hallie fight? Is that why
Hallie left so suddenly?
“Are you still seeing your…”
“I don’t need to any more,” Di
almost snapped. “I told you I’m fine.”
“Okay,” Brian said quickly, not
wanting to antagonise her further. “If you ever need anyone to talk to Di, I’m
here and so are Honey and Trixie.”
“Thanks for your concern Brian,”
Di said blankly, not looking at him. “I’ll be fine. I’m just tired.”
Brian nodded. I wish Mart was
here. Maybe he could get her to talk. But they’re probably not talking
to each other either. What’s happened to us?
Jim watched her as she moved
around the room, laughing and talking to her neighbours and friends.
Dan had spoken his own thoughts.
If he had told her, things might have been different, they might be standing
hand-in-hand, smiling at each other like Honey and Brian do.
Dan’s friendship with Hallie had
ended suddenly and he realised his mistake quickly. But he had watched his
friendship with Trixie slowly deteriorate and he had discovered his mistake far
too late. Things had changed between them. She had grown up and grown away
Each time he came back he noticed
more little differences. He used to be able to read every expression and almost
know what she was thinking, but now her expressions confused him. He couldn’t
read her anymore.
I used to look forward to
coming home and seeing her, but now it scares me. I’m scared that one day we
may not have anything to say to each other. I’m scared that one day she really
will be with someone else and she’ll finally leave me behind.
Jim watched as she searched the
room, looking for someone and her eyes found his. She smiled confidently at him
and he smiled sadly back at her.
“My feet are killing me,” Trixie
moaned to Honey. “I can’t wait ‘til it’s time to eat and we can all sit down.
You’re a peach for helping Moms in the kitchen.”
“You know I love it,” Honey
“Well, I’m glad to see you’re
happy,” Trixie told her. “Most of us are wandering around here with long
“I know what you mean,” Honey
sighed. “Dan has the eyes of a broken-hearted puppy dog, while Di looks like
she hasn’t slept for days. And Jim…”
“What’s wrong with Jim?” Trixie
“I’m not sure that there’s
anything wrong,” Honey explained. “It’s just that. I don’t know, he seems
down. He’s usually so excited to come home.”
“Maybe he would have rather
stayed at college,” Trixie suggested with a sinking feeling.
“I don’t think so,” Honey
frowned. “I can’t put my finger on it, but just look at him and Dan together.
They look like it’s the end of the world.”
“This is supposed to be a party,”
Trixie cried, and a stubborn look crossed her face. “C’mon, we’re going to do
something about this.”
“What?” Honey demanded.
“We’re going to get people
Dan couldn’t help but laugh at Mr
Lytell and Mrs Vanderpoel attempting to do the twist on the make-shift dance
floor Honey and Trixie had quickly cleared. Even Di had to smile at her
brothers, Larry and Terry, trying to get their hips to swivel the way Honey and
“Time to join the fun.” Brian
grabbed Di’s hand and pulled her up to dance before she had a chance to
protest. Honey grabbed Dan’s hand and Trixie had no trouble convincing Jim to
The room was filled with laughter
and good-natured conversation. The low, serious tones were gone. It was as if
the music had suddenly reminded everyone that this was a time to celebrate, and
to be thankful for the moment.
For that same moment, Di lost
herself in the music. The rhythm moved through her hips and into her head,
blocking out thoughts of Mart and Hallie and all that had happened in the past
month. She smiled at Brian and he saw something of the old Diana shining
through in her eyes and in her smile.
“It’s good to see you smile,”
And they responded:
“I have fun when I’m with you,
“Thanks for reminding me what
friends are for Brian.”
“You’ve always had a way of
making me feel good about myself Honey.”
And for a moment, there was
happiness and thanks.
“Turkey dinner, turkey dinner,
gather round., gather round.
Who will get the drumstick, yummy, yummy, yumstick.
All sit down, all sit down.
Cornbread muffins, chestnut stuffing
Pudding pie, one foot high.
All of us are thinner, 'till we get to dinner.
Me, oh, my. Me, oh, my.”
It was Bobby who started singing;
a song taught to him by his older brother, Mart. Larry and Terry were quick to
join and soon the slightly bashful adults chimed in as Helen and Honey carried
the turkey to the table.
The song finished in laughter and
Peter Belden smiled as he called the group to attention.
“I’d like to thank you all for
coming here today. It means a lot to Helen and I and all our family to have our
friends with us for such a special day. We all have a lot to be thankful for
and I won’t ask you to voice your thanks, but perhaps you can take a moment to
think about all you are thankful for today.”
There was a solemn silence. The
Bob-Whites exchanged smiles and were grateful that most of them could be
“Before we start eating, I just
like to take a moment to think of those who can’t be with us today. Our son,
Mart, who is away at college and our niece, Hallie, who has returned home to her
father and brothers, are very much in our hearts and we hope that they are
finding much to be thankful for today.”
“Finally, I’d like to ask my
eldest son, Brian, to say a short Thanksgiving prayer.”
And in all things give Him
And in all things let your gratitude shine through.
And in all things give Him thanks,
For He has given all things unto you.
What have I got to be thankful
for? Mart thought miserably as he pushed the dry turkey breast around his
plate. I’m stuck here with all the losers who didn’t go home for the break,
I’m missing out on Moms’ great turkey and all my friends, and I’ve really
screwed things up with Di. She’ll never speak to me again.
Mart had never felt more
miserable. No one he knew had stayed at the college over the break, and he’d
refused any invitations to join his friends that went home. No sense in making others miserable as
“If you don’t eat your meat, you
won’t get any pudding.”
Mart looked up in surprise. A
tall, slender girl with brown hair and green eyes smiled down at him.
“I’m sorry?” Mart stammered.
“If you don’t eat your meat, you
won’t get any pudding,” she repeated in an English accent. “You know, like the
Pink Floyd song ‘The Wall’?”
“Oh,” Mart reddened. “I just had
flashbacks of my childhood, not that my parents usually had trouble getting me
to finish my meals.”
“I guess your meals at home were
better than this then?” She smiled and looked down at the food he had barely
“You could say that,” Mart
admitted with a smile that felt foreign on his face.
“I always start with the
pudding,” she laughed. “I brought an extra spoon. Would you like to share
mine? It’s bound to taste better than the turkey.”
“Uh… sure,” Mart mumbled and she
sat down beside him. “My name’s Mart.”
“Hi Mart,” she smiled with a
smile that reached her eyes. “My name’s Rachel.”
“It smells great Ollie,” Knut
“Yeah, when do we eat?” Cap
groaned. “I’m starving.”
“Dad isn’t back yet,” Hallie
frowned. “We can’t start without him.”
Knut and Cap exchanged a glance
and Ollie quickly placed a hand on Hallie’s arm.
“Why don’t we put the appetisers
out, and the boys can nibble on them until your father arrives?” Ollie
“He will be here,” Hallie
insisted in a strained voice. “He promised he would.”
“Of course he will be darlin’,”
Ollie murmured. “Now let’s put these on the table and we can sit down and relax
for a while and you can tell us more about your visit out east.”
“What about the baked yams?”
Hallie fretted. “Mom always…”
“Ollie’s done them Hal,” Knut
said gently. “Let’s go and sit down.”
He put a gentle arm around her
and guided her to the table. They sat down and there was an uncomfortable
“What’s Gloria doing today?” Cap
“She’s having dinner with her
“You’re not going round there?”
Hallie asked, fear flickering across her eyes.
“Maybe later,” Knut said gently.
“I wanted to be here.”
“At least you do,” Cap muttered
and Hallie looked up quickly.
“I’m sure Dad will be here soon,”
Knut said quickly.
“I’m here,” Harold Belden boomed.
“Daddy!” Hallie yelled excitedly
and jumped to her feet.
“I’m glad you’re all here,” he
began, “because there’s someone I want you to meet.”
Hallie froze in her tracks and
Knut and Cap stared at him in disbelief. A woman appeared beside him.
“Knut, Cap, Hallie. I want you
to meet Cindy.”