Room for One More


Father in Heaven, on this lovely day … Help me with others my blessings to share (Children’s Songbook, page 22).

“Marcus, it’s time!”

When Marcus hear his father call, he sprinted to the kitchen. Lined up on the counter were five of his father’s famous pumpkin pies, ready to go into the oven.

Marcus knew his job. Rolling out the leftover pie crust dough into a huge circle, he picked up the maple-leaf-shape cookie cutter and cut out a large leaf from the dough for the center of each pie.

He’d no sooner finished than he heard, “Marcus, I need you.” In the dining room, he found his mother putting one more plate on a table. “Cousin Molly’s coming. That makes seventeen. I think that’s the last plate in the house,” she laughed. “Nothing matches, but what colorful tables!”

“How come we’re having so many people?” Marcus asked.

“Because,” Mother answered, “that’s what Thanksgiving is all about—being thankful for everything, especially for people we care about. No one should be alone on Thanksgiving.”

Marcus nodded. Tomorrow will be fun, he thought.

“I need you to go down to the basement and see if that old chair is still being stored down there. If it is, ask Mr. Swenson if we may borrow it.”

The apartment-house basement was a gloomy place. When Marcus got off the elevator, he was glad to see the superintendent there, sweeping out the furnace room. “Hi, Mr. Swenson. Do you know if that old chair is still around?”

“Hello there, Marcus.” Mr. Swenson gave Marcus a grown-up handshake, as he always did. “Let me look around.”

“Are you having company for Thanksgiving, too?” Marcus asked.

“No, not this year.”

From the way Mr. Swenson said it, Marcus had a feeling that it wasn’t just this year that Mr. Swenson wasn’t having company for Thanksgiving. “Well, that’s good,” Marcus said, “because I want to invite you to our Thanksgiving dinner. You and your chair!”

“Well, thank you, Marcus! I’d love to come. What time should I be there?”

“Come at four o’clock tomorrow—but I’ll take the chair with me now.”

When Marcus told his mother that he’d invited Mr. Swenson, she said, “That was a terrific idea, Marcus. Oh, but we still need one more chair.”

“There was only the one chair downstairs, but I think I know where I can get another one.”

“Great!”

Marcus dashed out the door and up the street to school. Good! he thought, seeing his teacher’s car. She’s still here. He ran to his classroom. “Hi, Miss Fields. May I please borrow a folding chair?”

“Surely. You know where we keep them—help yourself.”

“Thanks. How come you’re still here?”

“Well, since I decided not to make the long drive home for Thanksgiving this year, I thought that I might as well finish grading these papers.”

“Oh.” Marcus thought that grading papers would be a terrible way to spend the holiday. “Uh, Miss Fields,” he said, “my family would like you to have Thanksgiving dinner with us.”

“Why, thank you, Marcus. That sounds like fun, but I have a small problem—here’s a picture of him.”

“Oh, he’s no problem, Miss Fields—just bring him with you,” Marcus said with a grin.

“What time should we come?”

“Come at four o’clock,” Marcus said. “I’ll take two chairs from here and borrow that picture to show my mom, if that’s all right.”

Marcus told his mother about Miss Fields. She laughed and said she would call Aunt Etta and ask her to bring some plates.

“Just how many more are we going to need, Marcus?” Mother joked.

“Just two,” Marcus said. “But maybe you should ask her to bring a saucer too.”

“A saucer?”

“Well,” he said, pulling Miss Field’s picture from his pocket, “I had to invite Miss Field’s cat, Chubbikins, too. Remember what you said, Mom, no one should be alone on Thanksgiving.”

[illustrations] Illustrated by Shauna Mooney Kawasaki