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Thinkin’ On Thankful by Buckskin

Word Count 1,122

No beta; all mistakes are mine

Boy, oh boy, that sure was some big dinner! Never seen so much food in one place at one time in my life! T’ersa an’ Maria been cookin’ for a week an’ I couldn’t figure out why one day was more special than the next. Hell, where I grew up, any day ya had food was reason ta be thankful. But I guess it’s a gringo custom ta celebrate this particular day. How’d Scott an’ Murdoch explain it? Them…pilgrims… funny name, anyway, them pilgrim people came here an’ wouldn’ta lived through the winter without help from the Indians. Yeah, Indians know how ta survive! They taught me ta fend for myself in the desert an’ mountains.

All of ‘em got tagether an’ shared that big meal — tagether. That’s something, huh? Too bad them good feelin’s didn’t last. But hey, this ain’t the time ta be thinkin’ about the bad. ‘Sposta be a time ta be thankful. Sure did feel stupid when T’resa wanted everyone ta say what they were most thankful for; she started with Murdoch, then went around the table an’ I had ta say somethin’… After hearin’ Murdoch, Scott, T’resa, an’ Aggie say their nice, educated words, their appreciation for their blessings, me an Val coulda crawled under the table, well, we coulda just ate our turkey in the kitchen, but that wasn’t gonna happen, nope, not with the Lancer family! Too bad, cuz I think we spoiled it for the rest of them.

Murdoch said he was thankful ta finally have his family tagether. Wonder if that’s true after me an’ Scott stumbled in after our night out at the Angel’s Nest last night, more like this mornin’. Ol’ Scott, he’s never been at a loss for words, an’ he was right there, ready ta tell how thankful he was ta have his home an’ family, an’… then he looked at me an’ said, ‘I’m especially thankful ta know I have a brother, an’ know the man he is…’.

Well, I gotta say that sent me rollin’ right over the cliff! Whatdya say ta that? Who woulda thought that me, Johnny Madrid, was caught speechless?! The look in my brother’s eyes told me it was true; besides, I knew that ol’ Boston doesn’t lie, but hearin’ the words, well, hit me hard; anything I was gonna say couldn’ta had more thought or better emotions behind it than the words he just said. An’ in truth, I couldn’t think of anything at that minute; it all just disappeared outta my head. But I had some time ta think about it because it was Aggie’s turn next.

Aggie said some really nice things about bein’ with the Lancer family an’ sharin’ all the holidays with us. Made me feel proud that she’s a part of our life here. She suffered the loss of her husband, an’ hearing Murdoch talk about Herny made me wish I’d have known him, too. He sounded like a good man.

So, it’s gettin’ close for me ta say somethin’…  Never was too good at makin’ speeches, an’ I know this ain’t exactly a speech, but, damn, what’m I gonna say? That I’m thankful I’m in one piece an’ my neck ain’t been stretched? That no one’s cashed in on any wanted posters for Johnny Madrid?

An’ then I heard it; T’resa asked: “Johnny, what are you most thankful for?”

My belly filled with ice when she said that, an’ I knew I had ta say somethin’. Boy, that drink sure looked friendly — my throat felt dry as sand an’ that water never tasted so sweet. I cleared my throat, an’ for the first time in my life, I told them what was in my heart an’ hoped they were the right things ta say.


Well, they’re all asleep, an’ I’m sittin’ here alone by the fire. Thanksgiving ain’t what I expected it ta be, but then, I didn’t know what ta expect! Dios, I’m full! Never ate so much in my life! Hafta say that the pie was pretty good! Mexicans an’ Indians eat pumpkins but never had it in a pie before! Wonder if Maria an’ T’resa can make another one or am I gonna hafta wait’ll next Thanksgiving?

Guess I’m settling in ta bein’ part of a family; it feels… right. Different, but right. Where the heck did all those words come from? Murdoch, well, all of them around that table, looked mighty surprised when I told ‘em what I was thankful for, an’ if I’m not mistaken, Murdoch looked ta have a tear in his eye! For a minute there, I wondered if it was the same Murdoch that was my father!

Yeah, this Thanksgiving ain’t too bad…


Johnny could feel himself wanting to bolt, but these people were his family, and they deserved to hear what was in his heart… so he told them.

The cool water slid down, relieving the dryness that threatened to reduce his words to a gravelly whisper. Then, he cleared his throat and began speaking of the things that had magically taken root and flourished within him.

“Not too good at makin’ speeches, but as long as y’all laid it out — what you’re thankful for, well, I guess I can, too.” He looked around the table, then began the words that had grown in his heart and begged to be put to voice.

“I’m thankful that Val’s been there ta watch my back all those years on the trail. I probably wouldn’t be here without ya, amigo. Aggie, your friendship fills a place in this family; you’re always there when we need ya, an, ha, ya keep the ol’ man in line. Thank you!” Chuckles echoed around the table, then Johnny continued.

“T’resa, I’m thankful you’re the sister I have, an’ I couldn’ta picked out a better one if I had to! I’m thankful for a full belly an’ a place ta belong… family that I love an’ that cares about me; the brother that looked past the rumors an’ lies; the brother that sees me for the man I am… an’ I’m thankful for the father that never gave up on me. So, it looks like I have a lot ta be thankful for… an’ it’s all because of you.”

 Johnny picked up the wine goblet and toasted those around the table. “Thank you.”

Murdoch was moved to tears. The person with the least, the most deprived at the table, had the most to say and did so in the most meaningful way. In his words, Johnny Madrid Lancer summed up precisely what Thanksgiving was all about. Family. Friends. Home.

November 2022


Thank you for reading! The authors listed on this site spend many hours writing stories for your enjoyment, and their only reward is the feedback you leave. So please take a moment to leave a comment.  Even the simplest ‘I liked this!” can make all the difference to an author and encourage them to keep writing and posting their stories here.  You can comment in the ‘reply’ box below or email Buckskin directly.


8 thoughts on “Thinkin’ On Thankful by Buckskin

    1. Hi, Jill
      Thank you for reading and commenting! Glad you liked Johnny’s thinkin’ on bein’ thankful!



  1. I laughed so much when Johnny thought about being thankful for being in one piece and not having had his neck stretched. Thank you for sharing this wonderful story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Debra! You are welcome, and thank you for reading and commenting. Yes, all these traditions were new and Johnny had a hard time adjusting to them. Any day that Madrid still drew breath was something to be thankful for. But saying these things in the presence of friends and family wasn’t easy for him… until he found his voice and got going. Thanks again for reading this tale!



    1. Hi, Helen! Yes, I agree about the humor. Silly is important to me, and as long as it ‘fits’ into a story, I will use it. Thank you for reading and commenting. It is appreciated!



  2. Hey, Caterina!! You are welcome, and thank you for reading and letting me know you liked this one!



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