There’s a whole messy world outside my little office in my warm house, where plenty of food fills the refrigerator. I grew up in a different time. An innocent time. My parents worked in the shoe factories in a city in Massachusetts famous for making shoes.
I went to a state college to study art. My tuition was $200 A YEAR. I commuted thirty miles a day, so I didn’t have to pay for room and board. That amount adjusted for inflation would be $1625 today, but tuition plus art supplies and books at the same college in 2015 totals $14,000. That doesn’t include living expenses. And that’s a bargain these days. So I’m very grateful I could afford college back then, which I worked through school to pay for, by the way. Those who want to go to college now and can’t afford the tuition take out loans they pay back for years, or they don’t go. That means college has become something only the well-to-do can afford, and unless something changes, that doesn’t bode well for the country.
Then comes the messy world—the world with kids who can’t even dream of college because all they want is a roof over their heads and a regular meal. Maybe it’s this week in particular that has me writing about how grateful I really am when I read and see the tens of thousands fleeing their homelands under siege to find a safe haven, and risking their lives and the lives of their children to do so.
I’m grateful I don’t live there and feel selfish for the thought and sick at heart for those who do. I feel grateful for what I have, yet it’s an empty feeling somehow knowing that others are living in such dire poverty and fear and need, with no hope of getting out of the vortex pulling them down.
I’ve never been a person who prayed much, but this Thanksgiving, I’ll make a point of saying a prayer to whatever gods might be listening for this messy world to become neater, and that no child, no vet, no person should go hungry anywhere. It so happens that what’s going on in a world far away is material for my current work in progress that has a Middle East theme. Now, I need to make it mean something in my story.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone, or maybe I should say, Happy Give Thanks Day.
Polly Iyer is the author of seven novels: standalones Hooked, InSight, Murder Déjà Vu, Threads, and three books in the Diana Racine Psychic Suspense series, Mind Games, Goddess of the Moon, and Backlash. A Massachusetts native, she makes her home in the beautiful Piedmont region of South Carolina. You can visit her website for more on Polly and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.