In a Dear Abby column from many years ago, the advice maven said, "Loneliness is the ultimate poverty."
This reminded me of holidays from my childhood, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas, where our table was filled with people who had no family and few friends close by. These were the "forgotten" people of the ward--the elderly, the widows, the people who had nothing to give in return.
Our home was not fancy; the food was not gourmet. But my parents were warm and welcoming, (which trumps fancy any time) and the food was hot and filling.
To my shame, I would occasionally grumble about our holidays always being shared this way. "Where would you have them go?" my father asked when I complained one Thanksgiving upon learning that three widows would be joining us. "Somewhere else," came my selfish response. To this, my father said, "They have nowhere else."
The poignancy of this conversation, more than 50 years ago, causes tears to sting my eyes even today.
Joy for today: remembering my parents.