Four years after Wanda Dench was known on social media as “My Grandma’s Thanksgiving Day” – because she had accidentally invited a stranger to her home in Mesa, Arizona to celebrate the holiday – the two ate a holiday meal for the fifth time on Friday.
This year, however, Denash’s dinner came with her honorary “grandson” Jamal Hinton, with one vacant seat at the table. Dench, 63, lost her husband, Lonnie, to coronavirus in March. The couple has been married for over 40 years.
It’d be different, Dench said, “My first Thanksgiving without it.” Interview. “My husband was always behind me, telling me how proud he was of Jamal and I for what we did.”
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In 2016, Dench sent a reminder to her real grandson for Thanksgiving dinner at her home at 3 PM, but since he changed his phone number, the text went to Hinton instead. Despite the mistake, the hospitable Dench asked the 17-year-old Hinton to join the family anyway.
“You’re not my grandmother,” Hinton wrote at the time. “Can I still have a dish though?”
“Of course you can,” replied Dench. “That’s what Grandma does … I feed everyone.”
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The story of feeling happy has spread widely, and the two families have met for the cranberry sauce and stuffing every year since then.
“After meeting her the first time I just got to know her, she’s someone else, age is just a number,” Hinton, now 21, said of Dench. According to the New York Times. “It doesn’t matter, you can be friends with anyone, you can be a family with anyone.”
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Due to the risks of the pandemic, the two decided to celebrate the holiday a week early this year. They also held a smaller than usual celebration but made sure to leave a picture of Lonnie on the table to keep their “family” complete.