OPINION COLUMNS

A Thanksgiving ode to West Bewick Avenue

By Jake Harris | Published Saturday, November 22, 2014
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There is a house on West Bewick Avenue in Fort Worth, near TCU’s campus. It’s not fancy – just a regular three-bedroom house with a fenced backyard.

Jake Harris

Jake Harris

On the outside, there’s nothing special about it. The yard always needed mowing, and it displayed the typical wear-and-tear of a college neighborhood house. I’m sure many people have lived there in years past, and many more will live there in the years to come, as long as college kids want a chance to live on their own.

That house is what I see when I think of Thanksgiving. To me, that house is almost holy ground. A sacred space, if you will.

When I first saw the house, a friend was showing off where he and some mutual friends were going to live during our senior year of college. As I entered through the front door for the first time, I had no clue that I would live there for a few weeks when I needed a place to stay, or that I would spend more time in the living room of that house than my own apartment during my last semester of college.

I had no way of knowing all the memories that would be made in that house – the late nights, the stimulating conversations, the crazy birthday parties. The bonfires in the backyard. The broken futon. The way the dog would run and greet you when you walked through the door. The drinks. The laughter. The fights.

But most importantly, the thing I remember the most is that everyone who spent time there felt welcome.

We didn’t intend to spend all our time there. It just sort of happened. Even people who had their own place to live (like me) somehow ended up pulling into the driveway after a long day of work or a grueling night of class.

Those of us that hung out at the West Bewick house came to form our own family unit over time, the type of group that could have been formed only in college. None of us can really pinpoint exactly how we met each other – our friendship was something we experienced without thinking about it, like the way your body breathes in oxygen subconsciously.

We had a lot in common, but we were vastly different. Most of us were from Texas, but some came from other parts of the country. Some were full-time students, and others were working full time just to pay the bills.

We had Catholics, Protestants, non-denominationals and atheists, some Democrats and Republicans and everywhere in-between. We were white, black, Asian and Hispanic. The living room looked like a global melting pot every time we had a house party.

Some of us came from large, involved families, while others came from broken ones. What mattered to us was that we became a family to each other. And that’s something to be thankful for.

So when I think of Thanksgiving, I think of that sacred space, that house on West Bewick Avenue. I think of people of all creeds and colors and walks of life crossing that threshold, being greeted immediately, and sharing a table with everyone. I think of how the three men who lived in that house never turned away a guest. And I think of the many meals that were shared there, at all times of the day with all types of people, and I count my blessings.

I believe everyone has their own version of the house on West Bewick. May you find it and celebrate there with the ones you love this year.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Jake Harris is a Messenger reporter.

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