Thanksgiving and Paper Fruits

I am five years old in this memory. Some time in November, my brother is admitted to the hospital for a close examination of his heart condition. Another major heart operation will be taking place next spring, and this examination is part of the preparation.

As always, my mother accompanies my brother, leaving me and my father alone at home for several days. At this point, we are both familiar with the routine when it is just the two of us. Simple toasted bread for breakfast, my day at kindergarten, then playtime with my friends, and in the evening, we go out to one of the tiny diners in the neighbourhood to eat dinner.

Since my brother is away, at home, I have plenty of time to myself. I play with my dolls, read books, watch my regular TV programs, and once I have done all these things, I look for something different and more exciting, like a new adventure. This is often when I pick up my art & craft bag and work on a creative project.

One day, I suddenly get the idea to create paper fruits from origami paper. When my brother was a new-born baby, I used to have toy fruits made of plastic. What if I make them with origami paper this time? That must be fun. Plus, they will make a perfect gift for my mother and brother when we visit them later today.

I seat myself in the corner of the backroom with a bag full of origami paper, a pair of scissors and a glue tube. Then I start making shapes of different fruits. An apple, grapes, a banana, an orange… As I fold the coloured paper, my heart leaps with excitement. I cannot wait to complete all the paper fruits and bring them to my mother and brother. What will they say when they see my paper fruits? Soon, I am so absorbed in my task that everything else disappears from my world.

I have no idea how much time has elapsed when I finally finish making paper fruits and look up. I am happy with the way my paper fruits have turned out. I grab the red plastic basket from my toy box – the same basket that used to carry my plastic toy fruits two years ago – and collect all my paper fruits in it.

In late afternoon, my father and I visit my mother and brother at the hospital. The moment the elevator door opens, I see my mother and brother waiting for us in the elevator hall. My brother is the first to find us and run forward.

Normally, I immediately start playing with him, but today, I have something important to show him: my paper fruits. I carefully take out the paper fruits resting in the tiny red basket.

“Look what I’ve made for you!”

Perhaps, he is too small to appreciate the beauty of my paper fruits. To my disappointment, my brother shows little interest in them. He likes real fruits, but not paper ones.

Next, I run to my mother and show her the content of my red basket.

“I made these!” I tell her proudly. “Look!”

“Wow!” There is a hint of genuine surprise to her voice as she looks at my paper fruits. She is always impressed by my art & craft activities, but today, her surprise sounds more than usual. She takes a closer look. “You made these from origami paper?”


“You really did a great job,” my mother sounds awed, picking up each paper fruit in her hand. “They look like real fruits!”



This is exactly what I have wanted to hear from her and see on her face. She is totally in love with my paper fruits!

“Why don’t you bring them to kindergarten?” My mother continues. “They are so beautiful. Your teacher would love to see them, too.”

I have not thought of that. But encouraged by my mother’s words, the next day, I bring my paper fruits to kindergarten. My teacher requests me to leave the paper fruits at kindergarten for some time. Though not sure what she plans to do with them, I agree because her request feels like a compliment.

A few days later, the Thanksgiving mass is held at my kindergarten. When I go upstairs to the prayer room for the gathering, I notice there is a large container with many fruits in it. The container is sitting on a large table, on which a special decoration is done to celebrate Thanksgiving. The decoration looks familiar…

My eyes widen with surprise. They are my paper fruits! Somebody pasted my paper fruits to decorate the side of the main table!

During the mass, I cannot take my eyes off my paper fruits. I think back on my visit to the hospital and the conversation I had with my mother. Nobody in this room knows about it, the little family secret hidden behind these paper fruits on the table.