There is one holiday in the year which is completely American, Thanksgiving Day. It is the day when everyone goes back home to spend the day with his family, to have the traditional Thanksgiving dinner of roast turkey, to talk about old times.
This is a story of Thanksgiving Day and of one man＇s efforts, under rather special circumstances, to carry on these traditions.
Old Pete took his seat this day on his usual bench in Union Square. Every Thanksgiving Day for nine years Pete had taken this same seat exactly at one o＇clock, and each time the same pleasant thing had happened. But this time Pete had come here more from habit than from hunger.
Certainly today Pete was not hungry. He had just hadAdinner so enormous that he could hardly breathe. The buttons on his ragged shirt and coat were about to burst. He was so full of soup, oysters, roast turkey, apple pie, ice cream, andAdozen other rich foods that the November breeze and the first light fall of snow felt cool and pleasant to his face.
The meal had been completely unexpected. He had been passing one of the large homes on Fifth Avenue, where there lived two rich old ladies. It seems that it was their custom each Thanksgiving to placeAservant at the front entrance with orders to bring in the first hungry looking person that passed and then give himAThanksgiving dinner of everything he could eat. On this particular Thanksgiving Day, Pete had passed, the servant had brought himin, and, before Pete knewit, he was being served likeAking with more food than he could eat.
Pete sat on the bench now, hardly able to move. He happened to look to the left and there in the distance he saw the Old Gentleman coming toward him. He wanted to get up and run, but he was so full of food he stayed right there. Every Thanksgiving Day for nine years, the Old Gentleman came there and found Pete on this same bench and then took him toArestaurant and bought himAThanksgiving dinner. It wasAkind of tradition which the Old Gentleman, who had no family and lived alone, had tried to continue. The old man was tall and thin and sixty years old. He was aristocratic looking, and he always dressed in black. His hair was whiter and thinner than it had been the year before, and he leaned more heavily on his cane than he usedto.
″How do youdo！″said the Old Gentleman.″I am glad to see that the changes of another year have permitted you to move in health through this beautiful world.″
你好！ 老绅士说 很高兴看到又一年的更迭让你在这个美好的世界上健康地活了下来。
E ach time the Old Gentleman had said exactly this same thing. It was part of the tradition. Old Pete, too, began to feel as though he himself wasApart of the tradition, and he therefore did not have the courage to tell the old man that he had already eaten. This dinner seemed to mean so much to the Old Gentleman.
″Thank you,sir.″ said Old Pete at last.″I＇ll go with you gladly.I＇m very hungry,sir.″
谢谢你,先生。 老皮特终于说道 我很高兴跟你去。我饿极了,先生。
Together the Old Gentleman and Pete walked south to the same restaurant where each year Pete had his Thanksgiving dinner. They sat at the same table. The Old Gentleman seemed pleased and happy. When the waiter brought dish after dish of food to Pete, the Old Gentleman sat quietly and smiled. Under the circumstances, Pete had to eat. It was part of the tradition, and so he ate likeAhero. Soup, oysters, roast turkey, pie, he ate everything, although when he entered the restaurant even the smell of more food almost made him sick. At last Pete leaned back with the battle won.
Thank yousir,″ he said, with some effort,″forAfine dinner.″
谢谢你,先生。 他吃力地说 谢谢你让我吃了一顿丰盛的饭菜。
They parted as they did each year at the door, the Old Gentlemen going south, Pete north.
Around the corner, Pete stopped for a moment, felt a terrible pain in his stomach, then fell to the sidewalk unconscious.Alittle later an ambulance came. In the hospital they discovered that he had had an attack of indigestion.
An hour later, another ambulance brought the Old Gentleman to the same hospital. At first they thought it was also indigestion but later one of the nurses said,″That nice old gentleman over there －－you wouldn＇t think that it was a case of starvation. Proud old family, I suppose. He told me that he hadn＇t eaten anything for three days.″