This is the holiday for family, feasting and relaxation (after the dishes are done, of course). Not to mention a four-day weekend. And no need to cook with a fridge full of leftovers.
With Thanksgiving there are no gifts to buy. No packages to mail. No cards to fill out or letters to write. No parties to plan and/or attend. And no need to haul down from the attic dozens of plastic tubs full of holiday decorations.
The focus is simple: Be thankful. No batteries required. Just a heart full of gratitude.
President Abraham Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation was made on Oct. 3, 1863. As our nation's Civil War raged on, he listed the many blessings upon the young country. Then he added:
"No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God ... I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens."
In the past five years of writing for the Sun-Star I have met literally hundreds of wonderful people. I would like to express my thanks to the following groups and individuals:
Nearby ranchers, conservation organizations, National Park Service employees, Mariposa County employees, and our local Board of Supervisors have shown me the value of the Gold Country;
The friendly personnel of the chambers of commerce for Merced, Mariposa and Tuolumne counties, and the historic town of Columbia, give us countless reasons for exploring their communities;
Volunteer groups such as the John C. Fremont Hospital Foundation, Friends of the Library, Soroptimists, Daughters of the American Revolution, Hornitos Patrons Club, Manna House, Heritage House, Search and Rescue, Mountain Crisis, Safe Families and others provide much-needed services to area residents;
Firefighters, law enforcement officers, and our military, who are willing to serve, and if necessary, give their lives.
Leroy Radanovich, Tom Phillips, Carolyn Feroben, Ron Loya and those associated with our museums, preserving and sharing the wealth of local history, have stirred much appreciation for generations past;
Business owners and retirees who labor after hours to organize and support community events, are vital to keeping our communities strong;
The dependability and friendliness of those operating our shops, cafes, restaurants and hotels provide creature comforts that encourage visitors to return;
So many talented musicians, authors, poets, storytellers, artists, craftsmen and women, quilters, jugglers, photographers, gardeners, naturalists and culinary aficionados continue to inspire us with their skill and creativity;
The educators, social workers and foster parents who have devoted years to making a difference in the lives of children and teens, are underpaid and often overlooked;
For our churches, chaplains, pastors, ministers and their families who meet physical and emotional needs while also caring for spiritual matters, your sacrifice and devotion will not go unrewarded;
To those who give ideas for future stories and columns, and to readers who comment online or send notes and e-mails, your input is appreciated;
Nature lovers who invite me to come along, giving this city girl the opportunity to climb a rock, hold a hummingbird, or drive a team of horses, have all provided adventures I would have otherwise missed out on;
And lastly, to the journalists and editors who spend their days telling the stories of our lives, I have learned much from your expertise;
For all your accomplishments, whether large or small, each of you make our lives richer. I am privileged and grateful to know you, and to count many of you as friends. Thank you.
Debbie Croft writes about life in the foothill communities. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.