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Gather, give thanks, skip the shopping

Rebecca's post describing Thanksgivings past sounds familiar. I remember sitting at the dining room table with my sisters, parents, grandparents and great aunt and uncle. I loved the candlelight, the fancy dishes and the music in the next room, courtesy of the hi-fi. My mom did ALL the work and I mean all of it. She claims she had the week to prepare, with no working outside the home, she worked endlessly within that home.

Today our little family of three drove 120 miles to reunite with cousins and more cousins - from 17 to 73-years-old. Our family today includes people who left Russia for Denver to start a new life 14 years ago. We ate turkey, but also homemade ravioli, courtesy of the Italian heritage. And we carefully assessed the possibilities in the just-brought-it last-week- from-Germany box of chocolates.

Our tradition has evolved in our family: our group travels farther, the atmosphere is more casual,  we share a unique diversity, but the gratitude for good food, laughter and stories of our family remains. We are a touchstone for all that has been.

How did this American custom of Thanksgiving begin?? (Hint: Had nothing to do with Black Friday or Cyber Monday)

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Spokesman-Review features writer Rebecca Nappi, along with writer Catherine Johnston of Olympia, Wash., discuss here issues facing aging boomers, seniors and those experiencing serious illness, dying, death and other forms of loss.