When he found the battery, Eli declared Thanksgiving. There was no way to tell time out here, all clocks long stopped, all calendars gone or rendered faded and useless. But you had to celebrate and give thanks for every day you were still alive, and today was as good as any to mark specially. It had been a long time since he had been able to charge the music player so it was an occasion. He stopped in the shell of the former garage and lit a fire in pit where they used to hoist cars before all the cars had gone. He was a little wary about being trapped in a hole with no way to see anyone coming but he would camp on the floor in the night. He set out the battery and connected the leads to the player. There was no sign that it had any life, but he had faith.
The next day he woke up with the sun and where he would usually have set out walking again, he declared this a day of rest. For now, it was Thanksgiving. He took a wet nap bath, cooked the last of the cat he had been able to catch a couple of days previously, a double treat and slowly, reverentially set out the battery and the player. As with the previous day he sat and read the book until evening, fasting. Then, as the last rays of sun streaked orange across the grimy floor, he lit the fire again, warmed the last of the cat, set it out in front of him and then brought the music to life. The sweet strains of Al Green rolled into his ears once more and he sat and bowed his head before the fire. The flickering shadows danced and he could almost pretend he was before other dimly remembered fireplaces. The crackling could have been voices and laughter, the music could have been from his Aunt Nettie's stereo. He opened his eyes and let the illusion fade away. But no, this was this Thanksgiving. He began to pray, his voice rusty from disuse.
"Thank you Lord for this day and for any that you gift me with going forward. Thank you for those who have passed on and for the memory they have left in my heart. Thank you for the mission you have given me and for the hope that I will see them again when I have finished your work. Thank you for this food and for the gift of music. Thank you for each step of the journey. Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil. Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me and the words of your prophets, no matter how unlikely they be." His smile was wry. "And now oh Lord thank you for the food I am about to eat and may it give nourishment and comfort to my body and my spirit. For thine is the will and the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen."
He sat head bowed for a moment and then began to eat. There was a long road ahead but for a moment, the path was a little lighter.