Happy Thanksgiving

By The Mercury

Two years ago in this space, we lamented that Thanksgiving seemed to come and go too quickly, that while it once seemed a multi-day occasion with visitors coming and going and enough leftovers to keep snackers busy, it had become a mere speed bump between Halloween and Christmas.

And we further lamented that Thanksgiving was becoming little more than Black Friday Eve, not realizing how correct we were. So be it. Although we first greeted the notion of Thanksgiving evening shopping with disdain, we suppose that going out with loved ones or friends to shop isn’t so different than going with them to a movie or sitting down to watch a football game on television.

Perhaps in our ever-changing world we ought to be thankful for loved ones and friends to share such times with.

On the subject of change, we join the Flint Hills Breadbasket in extending our appreciation to Old Chicago, a restaurant usually associated with Italian aromas, friends and cold beer, for assuming the responsibility of hosting the annual community Thanksgiving dinner.

Over the years at Manhattan High School’s East Campus, the dinner had become a tradition that welcomed not just people who had nowhere else to eat on Thanksgiving but anyone who wanted to come. It was free, but donations were encouraged from those who could afford to make them. In the process the occasion was transformed from a meal for the hungry into a genuine community event.

Old Chicago, which isn’t designed quite like a school cafeteria, surely added its own touches, but we’re confident that from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the folks there put on a traditional — and delicious —Thanksgiving dinner of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy and pies. We hope folks in a position to make contributions were as generous as they have been in the past.

Beyond good food and good company, it isn’t difficult to find things to be thankful for. Our soldiers are no longer fighting in Iraq, for instance, and as is the case in other military communities, ours has enjoyed the return of great numbers of soldiers from overseas. While offering thanks for that, let us also pray for the safety of U.S. soldiers in other combat areas and for wisdom for both our military and civilian leaders.

When we say grace today, whether it is with the community at large or within our own smaller communities, let us also give thanks that we can associate with whom we choose and have the freedom to say grace as we wish — or not to say it at all.

We hope you get your fill of good food and fellowship today and in days to come, and we wish you a warm and happy thanksgiving.

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