Marcia was sitting at the kitchen table, watching her mother make a cake. “Thanksgiving isn’t going to be any fun this year,” she said. “I wish we could go back to New York and be with Grandmother and Granddad. Why did we have to move to Denver, anyway?”

“It’s hard for all of us to be away from the family at holiday time,” said Marcia’s mother, wiping flour from her hands. “I guess we’re all a little homesick. But Daddy’s job is here now, and Denver is our new home.”

“Last Thanksgiving there were seventeen relatives around Grandmother’s table. What fun we had!” said Marcia. “This year there will be only the three of us at our table. It just isn’t fair.” As Marcia went into the living room, she heard her mother sigh. Marcia knew that her mother wanted to be with the family at Thanksgiving too.

This is terrible, thought Marcia. We’re all so gloomy. Lots of families are apart on holidays. Then, sighing herself, she resolved, We’ll just have to make the best of it.

However, things weren’t much better the next day at school when Marcia’s teacher asked each student what his family was going to do on the Thanksgiving holiday. Marcia only half listened to the wonderful plans the other children were telling about. She felt worse than ever. What would she say when it was her turn?

As Marcia tried to decide what to say, she began to get interested in what Sally was saying. Sally’s family was going to have a picnic in the mountains for its Thanksgiving dinner. That surely was different from any Thanksgiving that Marcia knew about.

Next it was John’s turn. His family was going skiing. Then Jeff told about his family’s plans to go to a hospital and entertain the patients. Amy’s family was going to help serve at a church dinner.

Marcia was amazed. She’d thought that the only thing you did on Thanksgiving was go to your grandmother’s house and have a big dinner. Suddenly Marcia saw that Thanksgiving could be a wonderful new experience!

When the teacher called on Marcia, Marcia stood up very slowly. “We haven’t made any plans yet,” she said, “but all of you have given me a lot of good ideas!”

Later, when the school bus dropped her off, Marcia ran the rest of the way home. “Mom,” she called as she burst through the kitchen door, “I have the most wonderful ideas for Thanksgiving! Just wait until you hear!” Marcia told her mother about all the different Thanksgiving plans that she’d heard about at school.

When Marcia finished, Mother said, “Those are all wonderful things to do for Thanksgiving.”

“Maybe we could think of something special to do on Thanksgiving day, too,” Marcia went on excitedly. “Since it’s a day of giving, maybe we could entertain at a hospital, like Jeff, or serve at a church dinner, like Amy.”

“You mean not have a Thanksgiving dinner?” asked Mother.

“Oh, no!” said Marcia. “I still want to have Thanksgiving dinner.” She thought for a minute, then said, “Maybe we could share our dinner with some people who are away from their families like we are.”

“But we don’t know anyone here yet,” said Mother.

“I do!” Marcia told her. “I mean, one of the boys in my class was telling about his grandmother in a nursing home. He said that lots of older people in the nursing home are far away from their families and that they are very lonesome. Couldn’t we invite some of the people from the nursing home to have Thanksgiving dinner with us at our house?”

Mother didn’t say anything for a minute. Then she slowly nodded her head. “I think that’s a wonderful idea, Marcia. And I’m sure your daddy will think so too. We could have a big dinner just like Grandmother always has. It would be a happy time.” Mother grinned at Marcia. “Well, come on,” she said. “We haven’t a minute to lose. There are a hundred things to do to get ready. First, we’ll call Daddy and the nursing home; then we’ll plan the dinner; then we’ll get out the good dishes. Then we’ll—” she stopped and gave Marcia a hug.

Marcia hadn’t seen her mother so happy since they’d left New York. As a matter of fact, thought Marcia, I don’t know when I’ve been so happy myself. Thanksgiving is going to be more fun than ever this year!

Illustrated by Phyllis Luch