Neighbors: Happy Thanksgiving to all

  • People are served homemade Thanksgiving dinner at the Stone Soup Cafe each year. This year, it is Thursday from noon to 3 p.m. at 399 Main St. STAFF FILE PHOTO

  • Volunteers serve Thanksgiving dinner at Stone Soup Cafe each year. This year, it is Thursday from noon to 3 p.m. at 399 Main St. STAFF FILE PHOTO

  • The community is invited to a pay-what-you-can Thanksgiving dinner at Stone Soup Cafe each year. This year, it is Thursday from noon to 3 p.m. at 399 Main St. STAFF FILE PHOTO

Published: 11/24/2019 5:43:28 PM

Good morning, neighbor!

Well, Thanksgiving has almost arrived. It’s my favorite holiday, by the way, and the other night my 7-year-old grandson Travis told me it was his, as well.

“Grandma,” he said. “What’s your favorite holiday? Mine is Thanksgiving because I get to eat good food and spend time with my family.”

Out of the mouths of babes — and such wisdom at such a young age.

Let’s face it, it’s the one holiday where the focus is on family, friends and what we are all grateful for, not gifts or extravagant decorations. Just people and food.

I cooked Thanksgiving dinner the other night for my writing group. Eight of us meet weekly at my apartment. I cook dinner and everyone brings something to share.

I’m going with my daughter and son-in-law to his parents’ house this year, so I won’t be doing more than the green bean casserole and chocolate cream pie. Therefore, I wanted the experience of cooking a full Thanksgiving dinner. I was so grateful to spend it with close friends who happen to love writing, as I do.

I’ve learned a few interesting facts about Thanksgiving over the years, so I wanted to share them with you.

For instance, did you know that Josepha Hale, the woman who wrote the classic song “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” campaigned for 17 years to make Thanksgiving a national holiday until President Abraham Lincoln did so in 1863. And in 1953, Swanson had so much extra turkey that one of its salesman said they should package it onto aluminum trays with other sides like sweet potatoes. That’s when the first TV dinner was born.

Every year, the president of the United States pardons a turkey and spares it from being eaten for Thanksgiving dinner. The first turkey was pardoned by President Harry Truman in 1947, and President Barack Obama once pardoned a 45-pound turkey named Courage, who was flown to Disneyland and served as Grand Marshal of the park’s Thanksgiving Day parade that year.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade began in 1924 with 400 employees marching from Convent Avenue to 145th street in New York City. There were no large balloons, but it featured live animals from Central Park Zoo, and something I’ve heard for many years is that Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey, not the eagle, to be our national bird. Obviously, he didn’t win that debate.

Simply put, it’s a time of thanks and giving, and there are plenty of fine people and organizations throughout Franklin County that do just that during Thanksgiving week and on Thanksgiving Day.

For instance, Stone Soup Cafe is once again serving a community Thanksgiving meal on Thursday from noon to 3 p.m. at 399 Main St. in Greenfield. No reservations are needed. There is a suggested $10 donations, but you pay what you can. This year’s sponsor and co-host is The United Arc.

The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office TRIAD division will once again deliver hot meals to seniors throughout Franklin County on Thanksgiving morning. Last week, it delivered boxes filled with all the fixings for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner to seniors across the county.

Local DJ Bobby C (Bobby Campbell) has been raising money and collecting food now since 2016. His efforts, along with other volunteers, have resulted in more than 700 of our neighbors being fed Thanksgiving dinner each year since then.

There are so many wonderful neighbors helping others each Thanksgiving, epitomizing the spirit of the holiday. There are too many to list, but most of you know who’s doing it in your community.

So to those who give each year on Thanksgiving, thank you for your efforts, your donations, your time and your hard work. Even those of us who don’t partake appreciate you. And, to those who benefit, enjoy your Thanksgiving and the wonderful food and company your neighbors are providing.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Senior Reporter Anita Fritz grew up in Franklin County after moving from Spokane, Wash., when she was just a few weeks old. She is the regional reporter for the Greenfield Recorder. She covered Greenfield for eight years and has served as features editor for the Recorder and editor for the Athol Daily News.


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