Thanksgiving -- that peculiarly American holiday, a mix of gratitude and gluttony, feast and football. Although harvest festivals have been observed for eons, having a national day set aside to give thanks is unique to the United States and Canada, which observes the holiday in October.
The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621 and lasted for three days. The Pilgrims' sparse provisions were supplemented with eel, ducks, fish, lobster, venison and other bounty from the land, provided by their American Indian guests. There were not bread or pies; the flour supply had long before been exhausted.
All 13 colonies joined in the Thanksgiving celebration in 1777. From then until 1863, there was no specific date set aside to observe the occasion.
In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed it as a National Day of Thanksgiving, to be held annually. This followed a 40-year campaign by Sara Josepha Hale, a female journalist, to have a day designated for thanksgiving.
Tomorrow, Nov. 17, is World Peace Day; this, the third week of November is National Education Week, Nov. 21 through 27 is Family, and Game and Puzzle Week. Also on Nov. 21, be sure to greet everyone you meet; it's World Hello Day.
The Senior Center and Thrift Store on Highway 87 in Pine will be closed Thursday and Friday, Nov. 25 and 26, for Thanksgiving. Their Thanksgiving dinner will be held Wednesday, Nov. 24. Reservations must be made 24 hours in advance; call (928) 476-2151 for reservations.
Payson Regional Senior Circle
The annual volunteer banquet will be from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 19, at the Mazatzal Casino. This event honors Senior Circle member volunteers in a number of positions at the Circle, 215 N. Beeline Highway. Awards will be presented to those with outstanding service.
It's not too late to register for the Dec. 4 holiday party, also at the casino. The event features dinner, dancing, music, games and prizes. People wishing to attend the Electric Light Parade following the party may reserve a parking spot and seat at Community Presbyterian Church on Main Street and enjoy coffee or hot apple cider while watching the parade. Cost is $10 for Senior Center members, and $12 for non-members. Call (928) 472-9290 to make a reservation.
Free Spirit Vacations, in conjunction with Senior Circle, is working to offer travel opportunities originating in Payson. These include everything from day trips to national and international travel. A minimum of 10 guests is required for local pickup. Some short trips being considered are Rocky Point Overnight, Jan. 18-19; Tucson Rock and Gem Show, Feb. 12; California Coast, Feb. 27-March 3. Brochures with many more trips are available at the Senior Circle or Senior Center, or by calling (888) 278-9844.
Payson Senior Center
The Senior Center and Thrift Store, 512 and 514 W. Main Street, will be closed for Thanksgiving Nov. 25 and 26. The thrift store will reopen at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 27.
The November birthday dinner will be at noon on Wednesday,, Nov. 17. Oven-baked chicken, broccoli with rice, dinner roll, birthday cake and beverage are on the menu. Cost of the meal is $3 for members, $4.50 for non-members and those younger than 60. People with November birthdays should put their names in the Birthday Barrel in the Senior Center Lobby to be eligible for a gift drawing.
A thought for Thanksgiving from Robert N. Filié: This year, let's set aside a few minutes of the holiday to sit alone and think of the many things for which we should be thankful. Then this great holiday will have true meaning for us.