About the Author

Charlotte Simpson, aka the Traveling Black Widow is a retired guidance counselor and special education teacher. After losing her husband of 31 years, she made solo-world-travel a central part of her retirement and has traveled all seven continents and 50 states. ​

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Reader Interactions


  1. I am thankful for the family and friends I have in my circle though I’ve been dreading the holiday season due to my mother’s passing a few months ago. This article was timely. Thank you👏🏿👏🏿

  2. This touched me in so many ways. The holidays as a whole have left me broken and at times not wanting to celebrate. Family is no longer family and the holiday traditions that grew up loving just disappeared when my father and and grandmothers passed away. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

  3. I’m grateful for my family and friends but mostly my life that God is gracing me with to live each day. Your story is beautiful and touching. I wish you a bless and thankful Thanksgiving.
    Blessings to you.

  4. I’m grateful for my memories of past Thanksgiving holidays with my Nana, my Mom & Dad together and apart, and my own family and extended family.
    This year I will have dinner with my partner’s son as he travels to Mississippi from NYC. He will fry the turkey and make gourmet sides and a homemade pecan pie. I’m looking forward to helping him.

  5. I am always grateful for family and friends. I am also grateful to God for health and strength. I remember those who have joined the ancestors and celebrate all who are still among us. Happy Thanksgiving

  6. Just moved to N Texas to join Family. Mother here from LA at a young 92! Looking forward to Fam dinner and creating new memories 🍷❤️👏🏽

  7. As with most of us, I am very thankful for my family. The circle of family has changed over the years. When I was a young, Thanksgiving included my extended family- Mom and Dad, sisters and brothers, aunts and uncles, and plenty of cousins. And the food was authentic! My mom made the best macaroni and cheese, and a favorite of mine- corn pudding! One of my aunts hosted. Her husband made rolls from scratch, made to melt in your mouth. There was always mounds of food to go with the turkey and ham…mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, cornbread, collard greens, candied yams, corn pudding, macaroni and cheese, green beans, cranberry sauce, salad, several kinds of pie. Everything was homemade. The only thing store bought was the butter! A tablecloth covered the table. The were real napkins and fancy silverware.

    Over time, Thanksgiving changed more and more. Less people. Less food. Less homemade food. It is less fancy. I have to demand that we use real plates and real silverware! We still say the blessing over the food. But now my husband and I are part of the elders. There are so many “empty chairs” left by so many people we loved. But I am still so very grateful for the chairs that are filled with the other set of grandparents, our adult children, and our grandchildren. And though it’s not quite the same, I can use my smart phone or I pad to connect with my sisters, my brother, and other extended family.

    So thank You, Lord, for all of Your blessings upon our family. You have blessed us with each other, our homes, the food upon which we feast, but most of all, I thank you for loving us so much that you sent Your Son, Jesus, to save us from our sins. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

  8. I found me in this story. I grew up with large family gatherings. I went through some of the same experiences and now I am by myself. Being alone and feeling lonely, your article buoyed my spirit. Thank you 🙏🏽

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