Wednesday, November 21, 2018


My wife Libby and I will spend our Thanksgiving in the visiting park at Tomoka Correctional Institution, Daytona Beach, Florida, miles from the "World's Most Famous Beach," (they claim) and the race track. We can walk outside and watch the sparrows eating bread, hear the "chee-chee" of Red-shouldered hawks scanning the grounds for meals, and count the shadows of the dozens of turkey vultures swirling overhead. They put a prison smack-dab in the middle of a bird sanctuary, then spent the next twenty years cutting down every tree growing inside the fences.

We can watch birds of a different kind as huge passenger jets pass low overhead coming in for landings at Daytona International Airport, and smaller, older, slower vintage airplanes crisscross the sky. I wonder if any of those people wonder about those people inside that fenced square below with the gun towers. Probably not. Life goes on.

No turkey, ham, stuffing or cranberry sauce for our Thanksgiving dinner. The prison canteen window has a sparse selection of sandwiches and other junk food snacks, but it's not the food, it is the fellowship.

We've endured and overcome multiple challenges this momentous year of 2018, but our love continues to be strong, and we ready ourselves for more challenges in 2019. Despite setbacks, we have much to be thankful for, and pray that you and yours have a blessed and happy Thanksgiving, enveloped in the love of family and friends.

Charlie and Libby Norman. November 2018.