Thanksgiving Surprise


(Based on a true story)
Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself (D&C 59:6).

Cassie watched as Mom unloaded the one bag of groceries from the car. Thanksgiving was in two days, and they had just returned from shopping.

Cassie thought of their Thanksgivings in the past. There had been turkey, two different kinds of stuffing, rolls, pies, and lots more. Cassie didn’t mind that they wouldn’t have the same feast this year, but she wished that her parents smiled more.

Mom’s eyes were filled with worry when she thought no one was looking. Things hadn’t been easy for Cassie’s family ever since Dad had started his own engineering company. He had been spending long hours at the small office he and his partner rented.

Cassie’s parents had spent a family home evening explaining to the children that they would all have to do without some things until their dad’s business picked up.

Six-year-old Cassie had struggled to understand what that meant. Her older brother Steve had looked concerned, then nodded and said, “Sure thing.”

“We have enough money to support your brother on his mission, but there won’t be much left for extras,” Dad had added.

Cassie’s brother Rob was serving a mission in California. She knew her parents had set aside money years ago to pay for his mission.

The day before Thanksgiving, Steve carried a large box inside and set it on the kitchen table. “Mom, look what I found on the porch.”

Mom laughed and cried as she pulled things out of the box—a turkey, pumpkin and apple pies, cans of cranberry sauce, two loaves of homemade bread, and a sack of nuts.

“There’s no name,” Steve said, after searching through the box once more.

That made Mom cry some more. “Whoever sent this wanted to remain anonymous,” she said.

“What’s a—nonymous?” Cassie asked.

Mom wiped the tears trickling down her cheeks with the back of her hand. “That means the person who left all this wonderful food didn’t want us to know who did it.”

“Like when we did things for that family last Christmas?” Cassie asked. “We left a box on the porch, rang the doorbell, and then ran away.”

“Just like that,” Mom agreed.

“I liked doing that,” Cassie said, remembering the warm feeling she’d had in leaving the gifts for the family.

“Me too,” Steve said.

Cassie looked at the box of food. “Does this mean we’re poor?” She remembered scripture stories from Primary about feeding the poor.

Mom gathered Steve and Cassie close and hugged them. “It means we’re rich in friends. That’s the best kind of rich there is.”

Cassie thought about what Mom had said. She decided this Thanksgiving might be the best one of all.

[True Disciples]

Elder M. Russell Ballard

“If we are truly disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, we will reach out with love and understanding to all of our neighbors at all times, particularly in times of need.” Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Doctrine of Inclusion,” Ensign , Nov. 2001, 36.

[illustrations] Illustrations by Matt Smith