Thanksgiving Won't Be The Same This Year Without A HouseCommentary • Family • Opinion • food • holidays • ISSUE 43•46 • Nov 14, 2007 By Cheryl McCray I love Thanksgiving. It's always my favorite time of year. A time to surround oneself with friends, family, and four walls to help keep out the cold. Now, I know the fact that we don't have a house might seem especially noticeable around the holiday season, since it's kind of a McCray tradition to spend Thanksgiving indoors, but that's no reason to be ungrateful.Believe me, I miss living in a residence just as much as the next member of this family. I don't know if it's the warm feeling you get from not being on the street or the sense of comfort that only comes from having shelter from the elements. But the hard truth is, no matter how much we loved our house, the bank isn't going to give it back. So the only thing to do now is try and have the best Thanksgiving we can without it—and if I know this family, that's just what we'll do.After all, Thanksgiving is not about materialism. We don't need a bunch of expensive store-bought decorations of pilgrims and cornucopias, or even places to hang them. 5-year-old Dylan drew a turkey on the back of a discarded pizza box by tracing his hand with my lipstick. If that doesn't say "This is a McCray Thanksgiving," I don't know what does! We'll show everyone under this highway overpass that this family isn't going to lie around on our newspapers and feel sorry for ourselves.Isn't family what this season is all about? Looks to me like we're all here—except for Karl, who ran off with that TCBY cashier and abandoned us at a service plaza just off the Ohio Turnpike. But we pulled together and overcame those hardships, and through it all our family has continued to get closer and closer in order to avoid freezing to death by the side of the road. In a way, maybe all this happened to remind us to focus on the things that really matter, like family.We will always fondly recall sharing the Thanksgiving meal with Grandma, Grandpa, and all of our aunts, uncles, and cousins. We're just going to have to try a little harder to remember this year, because we're dead to them.Look on the bright side! Who needs a roof over their heads when they're surrounded by such wonderful memories and the good cheer of the holiday season? Just the other day, for instance, I was reminded of the rich crimson color of Aunt Jean's delicious homemade cranberry sauce when I noticed the puddle of blood Dylan was playing in. And now that I don't have to worry about holiday weight gain, I sure would love to find a big heaping spoonful of that sauce in the Dumpster!I know on Thanksgiving morning it's more likely that the kids will be woken up by the pungent fecal stink of Jittery Ed digging for aluminum cans than the smell of fresh roasted turkey, but we can still have that holiday spirit. Besides, we'll need all our strength to fight off pneumonia!To your credit, you kids have been handling this with such maturity. I can't believe how quickly you're all growing up! Tyler, just 9, and turning into such a little man—why, you're already smoking and "going with" Jody, the crack whore who crashes near us sometimes.The one of us I feel sorry for is Karl. He's really missing out on some amazing quality time with Tyler and Dylan, and seeing them grow and change while we wait outside the bagel place for them to take out the trash.We have so much to be grateful for this year. We may not have a home, but we do have somewhere to huddle and this dead pigeon I saved for you boys to pull apart on Thanksgiving and make wishes on. It could be a lot worse. Some mothers in my situation are forced to sell all of their children into prostitution, just to get by. It's the little things that make you appreciative, like knowing your children were sound asleep when a mentally ill vagrant wearing masking tape shoes raped you.Maybe we can't get the whole family under any roof, but who knows? We might have the best Thanksgiving yet. In fact, we've already started creating new traditions, like cowering with each other in shadows until that drunk, homeless veteran stops screaming about the smell of burning flesh and passes out.