But on the morning of November 24, 2005, I opened my eyes from the steely coldness of my stateroom and smelled the distinct scent of pumpkin pie, just like on Thanksgiving at home. Just a few doors down from my room, the Navy Culinary Specialists were beginning their preparations for Thanksgiving dinner for 1000.
I stayed in bed for a few extra minutes and closed my eyes. I imagined that, instead of the cooks clad in their navy-blue uniforms, it was my mother who had rolled the thin layers of pie dough and stretched it across the pan, while the pumpkin filling settled in a mixing bowl nearby. As I stepped down my bunk ladder, I dreamed my foot would hit the plush, carpeted floor of my childhood room. I imagined tiptoeing down the long hallway to find my grandfather sitting at the kitchen table, reading the newspaper, and my grandmother stuffing the turkey. I imagined my brother was there, too, long before drug addiction took over his life.