All We Need by Gene Glotzer

Sue woke up and stretched. It was Thanksgiving. She looked over at the clock, but the face was blank. She got out of bed and went downstairs to find her parents. They were in the kitchen talking quietly. “Mom, Dad, my clock isn’t working.”

“It’s not your clock, Suzie,” her mom answered, “the power’s out.”

“Oh no,” Sue said, “what about Thanksgiving?”

“We’re still going to have Thanksgiving,” said her dad. “Hopefully the electricity will be back soon. But we’re not going to have the turkey. We would have had to have it in the oven an hour ago for it to be finished on time.”

“No turkey!?” cried Sue. “But I love turkey. It’s my favorite part of Thanksgiving. It’s not Thanksgiving without turkey.”

“That’s not true,” said her mother. “We don’t need turkey for Thanksgiving. All we need is family.”

***

A couple hours later, Sue’s older brother Ben was talking to their dad, “But you said the power would be back soon.”

“I hoped it would be. It must be a harder problem than I thought.”

Ben asked, “What are we going to do?”

“We’re still going to have Thanksgiving here. I texted Mrs. Johnson, and they don’t have power either, so they’re going to come celebrate with us.”

“But what will we do?” Ben asked again, “Without power, nothing works. We won’t be able to watch football. How can we have Thanksgiving without football?”

“Easy,” said their father. “Maybe the power will come back on, but if it doesn’t, we’ll visit and talk and maybe play some card games. We don’t need football for Thanksgiving. All we need is friends.”

***

After the Johnsons arrived, everyone was gathered in the living room. They were munching on nuts and chips by candlelight and telling stories and jokes. The Johnsons’ daughter, Molly, sat up and said, “Mom, can you show everyone that Thanksgiving video you play every year?”

Mrs. Johnson said, “I’m sorry, honey. I didn’t bring it with me, and without power, we can’t play it anyway.”

“But what about your phone?”

“No, Molly. It’s a long video and we don’t know when the electricity will be back. I can’t waste the charge on my phone in case we need it later.”

“Aw. That’s not fair. It’s a tradition, it won’t feel like Thanksgiving without it.”

“Sure it will. Think of all the people who don’t have what we have. Think of the poor people who have to work to restore our power. Be grateful. For Thanksgiving, all we need is gratitude.”

***

As everyone was eating their Thanksgiving dinner of pies and cranberry sauce, Sue was thinking. This wasn’t the Thanksgiving she had expected or hoped for. There was no turkey, no football, and no funny video. But the adults were right. She was surrounded by family and friends and everyone was full of gratitude. It was different, but it really felt like Thanksgiving.

“This Thanksgiving,” she said, “I’m thankful that we have all we need.”

  • : Children's

Comments

  1. del richards

    This is a very sweet take on the prompt and I liked it. Simple sentences, moral messages and easy to read.
    Nice job. Children’s literature isn’t something I would normally read, but this had great appeal. Well done.

  2. Amrita Sarkar

    That’s a very sweet story about how important and valuable a family is. It’s actually got a ring of truth about it, one doesn’t need gifts or gizmos when their family is around. A great read! Thanks for sharing!

  3. KB

    This was really cute! This is a really well-done children’s story. The entire time I was imagining what it would look like on the page with some Dora the Explorer-style illustrations with it. I love it.

  4. Julie-Anne McDowell

    I’ve got two kids aged 12 and 10 who I’d love to read this to… we all need reminders to appreciate the now and whats important. I loved the simplicity and easy flow of this piece.

  5. Irene

    A very timely tale regarding the youth of today. The writing was smooth and held my interest. A very good use of the prompt.

  6. Riham Gharib

    Hello Gene,

    I haven’t come across a children’s story on this platform before, so that’s nice, I’m glad I saw yours!

    I imagine that choosing a theme that fits a certain age group could be challenging. In addition to picking the right vocabulary, expressions and so on … But, you did well.

    When my kids were young, they insisted on getting a bedtime story each night, and I used to ‘twist’ the fairy tales to extreme limits! They know now that they never heard the classical version of any of these folk tales.

    They told me recently that they enjoyed the modified plots, and I think that I made these alterations mainly because I had many reservations on the way children are perceived, as opposed to how they truly are.

    Kids love what we love, and what makes us insecure, often rattles them. Maybe that’s why Stories like ‘The jungle book’ and ‘Just so stories’ are epic to this day. Kipling merged the boundaries between children and adults adeptly.

    1. gglotzer Post author

      I’ve always liked writing kids stories. This prompt and word count just happened to work for me this month. It’s an honor to have had my story make you think of Kipling, no matter how tangentially that was.

  7. Sue Maynes

    That was a lovely story. I really enjoyed how you structured each part to end with a ‘all we need’ – then at the end combined them all into a profound life lesson for the daughter. It flowed, had the right touch of potential loss, but a joyous ending.

  8. Doug Liberati

    Very enjoyable. This would make a great story accompanied by illustrations. It is not too long for younger children and still carries a relevant message couched in a relevant conflict (power outages can destroy just about every modern holiday activity). And as an adult I can say I really didn’t think of it as a children’s story till I saw the genre the end, so I got something out of it too. That is the hallmark of a good “children’s” story. Good job.

  9. Gold

    Hello,
    Such a lovely way of making a point for children. You captured it perfectly and loved the cadence and
    rhythm of the words. It would work with an American audience well, not so well in UK where I am , but
    it could be changed to Christmas and work just as well here. As an illustrator I was imagining it illustrated, and it
    would really work. Loved it.

  10. Paul J P Slater

    Hi Gene,

    As has been said, children’s stories do not feature with any regularity. You might have started something.

    Some things for your consideration:
    Should it be “A couple of hours later”?
    “be finished” and “was gathered” are passive phrases which can slow the reader. The second could be removed quite easily by running 2 sentences together such as “After the Johnsons arrived, everyone gathered in the living room munching on nuts and chips by candlelight telling stories and jokes.” This also removed the repetition of “and”.
    Your adverb count is remarkably low and to be commended, but I’m quietly hopeful[ly], maybe you will reconsider the 5 you think you need; maybe!
    You might not need the full stop in “Mrs. Johnson”.

    While this is a great read, the above might help tighten the prose.

    Thank you for sharing. Keep writing.

    Cheers,
    Paul

  11. Sharon Hancock

    Very nice story. I also write young adult stories. The repetition was very well carried out. I will try to read more of your stories in the future. Thanks for sharing.