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Agree or disagree

Here's something I said in my column on Nov. 21, 2000…

The day before Thanksgiving is one of the three or four best days on the calendar.

There's all the buzz of holiday anticipation and none of the disappointing reality.

Knockout game at your holiday gathering

You don't want that. So maybe it wouldn't hurt to remind everyone that, no matter how obnoxious certain attendees might be, there will be no sucker punches.

Thanksgiving and shopping?!

I remember when the stores closed on Sunday (I was a child, yes), while a few drug stores and gas stations remained open “for an emergency,” my parents said. No emergency ever made its way into our family on Sunday.

And now…retailers are whining over anticipated lost profits because our national day of Thanksgiving is a bit tardy this year. So, come all ye consumers and spend, spend spend.


Protest, says Ellen Galinsky, co-founder and president of Families and Work Institute: stay home. Vote with your slippered feet and full belly and fireplace flickering light upon the faces you love. Time together offers a better return on one’s investment in relationships, serving a menu of love, worthy of one’s undivided attention. 

(S-R archive photo)

Woodstock as your Thanksgiving guide

If you think things could get a bit tense on Thursday, it might not be a bad idea to set up a freak-out tent.

But since Wavy Gravy won't be at your holiday gathering, you might have to assign yourself the task of helping people come down from whatever trip they're on.


Your ride is here


How many times have you watched at least part of this?

Orlando’s no longer taking Thanksgiving reservations

The Thanksgiving-themed lunch at Orlando’s is proving to be popular.

Reservations for all four seatings of the special Tuesday meal are already full.

The student-run restaurant at Spokane Community College is located in Building 1 on the SCC campus at 1810 N. Greene St.

For more information about other special events at Orlando’s, call Janet Breedlove at (509) 533-7283.

The most horrible Thanksgiving guest

Anecdotal evidence is no longer enough.

The Slice Blog demands a playoff system.

Giving thanks for wild turkeys

WILDLIFE — Wild turkeys adapted vigorously to introduction efforts throughout Idaho and much of Washington in the 1980s.  They're interesting, fun to hunt and delicious.  They're also fun to watch, as you can see in this short video from Idaho Fish and Game.

Lobsters, seals and swans, oh, my!

It wasn’t all just talking turkey – or eating only turkey at the first Thanksgiving.

 Did you know?

  • The first Thanksgiving was a three-day harvest feast
  • Governor William Bradford sent four men to hunt birds for the feast while the Wampanoag contributed five deer
  • The only foods from the original feast that we eat are turkey, corn and stuffing
  • President Lincoln made Thanksgiving “official”     
  • Today, 46 million turkeys are eaten at Thanksgiving
  • Americans eat an average of 13.3 pounds of turkey each year
  • The Macy’s parade started in 1924 with live animals, replaced with helium balloons three years later

 What are your Thanksgiving traditions? What food do you eat? Who cooks? Anyone offer thanks? Anyone leave early to shop?

(S-R photo)

Talking wild turkey: snoods, wattles and the difference between white and dark meat

WILDLIFE WATCHING — The wild turkey is nothing like the fat, flightless Butterball you might be roasting today for Thanksgiving dinner.

Thank God.

The wild turkey is a fascinating survivor and a challenging quarry for hunters. It can run like the wind and fly with shocking power and speed. 

While it's delicious on the dinner table, it's a lean machine that must be prepared accordingly.

Get details about wild turkeys, including defininitions of snoods, wattles and the reason a turkey has white and dark meat on the eNature blog.

The Turkey and the Chicken

Posted by Jeanie November 2008.

When my sons were 8 and 9, they were in Boy Scouts and we had the annual bake sale/raffle, Wednesday before Thanksgiving. I remember this day very well. I had $6.00 to my name and knew I couldn't possibly afford a turkey and all the trimmings. It was going to be a pretty grim Thanksgiving. I was eyeballing chickens and wondering how fooled the boys would be.

There was a family at the bake sale that evening that I had kind of put on a shelf in the back of my mind – affluent, intelligent, married (I was the only divorcee in the room of 20 families), and beautiful with equally beautiful twin boys, age 9. I wasn't in their realm.

The scouts were supposed to make their own cake. Home made by the boys. There would be a prize for the best cake – a 20 pound fresh turkey, and all the trimmings including a Pumpkin Pie.

My mind slithered back to the soap box derby, where the boys are supposed to make a screaming racing car out of a block of wood, *by*themselves* At the derby, the twins showed up with a cherry-red, cherried-out, speed demon race car that won hands down! My son showed up with a hand carved by him (with a little inadequate help from me), lemon colored (for a reason) obviously home-made car that wouldn't even roll an inch without help.

So here we are at the bake sale/raffle, the rich twins sporting an absolutely beautiful beehive cake with yellow and white striped icing, and little furry bees on toothpicks “hovering” over the beehive which looked to be done by some elite French chef. And our cake, Mr. Happy Face, which was bumpy and wavy, black frosting smeared into a half-assed circle with a crooked little smile and two globs for eyes – the saddest cake I have ever seen.

I grumbled to myself. I had decided I was going to buy the cake back for $2.00, leaving me $4.00. I could still get that damned chicken.

It was getting darned close to disaster time in my family as our misshapen cake, made totally by my son, was sitting forlorn and lonely as all the other cakes were being raffled off – it was down to the beehive cake or the happy face cake.

Bee Family bought my cake AND theirs!  They outbid me!!!

I felt a strange twisting in my gut – I was bitter and angry and jealous and peeved and crabby. They could have bought all 20 cakes! And of course, Bee Family won the turkey dinner. It was a test for me to practice sweetness in the face of total disaster.

I told myself that this was a good thing. I still had SIX dollars to buy my “chicken” dinner. And spare change to get two ice cream cones for two pretty sad little boys.

We got to our car and I was loading the kids in, when Mr. Bee came up to me with this HUGE box, the hump of a gigantic turkey peering over the edge; potatoes, stuffing, Pumpkin Pie, the WORKS. “We've already got our turkey – this would just go to waste – would you mind taking it off our hands?”

Well, I tell ya, I could hardly talk to him as I choked up and teared up and tried to wrestle all those nasty feelings that were turning around in my head.

There are many things to be thankful for. I am always thankful that my thoughts didn't come out of my mouth.



My Thanksgiving in jail

When city editor Jon Kamman asked if I had any Thanksgiving plans, I tried to act like I didn't see what was coming.

But I knew. He realized I had no family in Arizona. And he was about to invite me to his house for the holiday, which was just a couple of days away. What a guy. Wasn't that thoughtful?

No, I said. No plans.

Good, he said. “We need someone to work Thanksgiving.”


This was about 30 years ago. But the memory still makes me shake my head.

When you are in your 20's, there's a tendency to think you know everything. There is also a tendency to be wrong.

I was a newsside general-assignment reporter at the morning paper in Tucson. I hadn't been there long, and working a holiday was not really unusual — especially for someone with zero seniority. But the extent to which I misread the city editor in that moment amuses me still.

And Kamman — a fine editor and decent, honest man — had an assignment for me. He thought I should join the prisoners for Thanksgiving dinner at the Pima County Jail. So that's what I did.

I don't remember much about it. Except that virtually all of the prisoners I spoke to confided that they were innocent of the charges against him. Totally innnocent. What are the odds?

Maybe some of them knew the city editor and had heard that I was easily duped.

Blog takes a holiday

Just a note to let everyone know that the blog will be silent the rest of the week because of the Thanksgiving holiday. I hope everyone has a great day with friends and family. I'm looking forward to a nice traditional turkey meal. That means I won't be posting any Valley Voice highlights on Thursday, but you can always check here for Valley Voice stories before you go Black Friday shopping.  

If you went home and were surprised to discover Guy Fieri in your kitchen

What would you say to him?


A) “Stand still while I shoot you.” B) “My but you are offputting.” C) “Man, that Times review of your new place was a hoot, wasn't it?” D) “Are you here to cast the tie-breaking vote on which sort of dressing we're going to make?” E) “Don't you think your look is a bit silly?” F) “Any tips on portion control?” G) “I'll bet that deep down you are an OK guy.” H) “How often do you shower?” I) Other. 

If you went home and were surprised to discover Nigella Lawson in your kitchen

What would say to her?


A) “Keep cooking. We've got a bunch of people coming over Thursday.” B) “You had better leave. My wife will be home soon.” C) “You had better leave. My husband will be home soon.” D) “Did you see that Man U lost to Norwich?” E) “This is not my beautiful house.This is not my beautiful wife.” F) “Who are you?” G) “I think that's simmered long enough.” H) “Do you need me to make a Rosauers run?” I) “Where's your 'English Muffin' shirt?” J)Other. 

Walmart and Target workers raising concerns about Thanksgiving sales

So the retail season has a little drama developing this week.
It's the increasing concern by some parts of the business world that stores that open on Thanksgiving are turning into Scrooge, forcing employees to give up one of the entitled holidays most Americans enjoy.

To continue the literary analogy, the players taking the role of Bob Cratchit are employees from Target and Walmart.

Here is a summary of the two similar efforts gaining steam as the Thanksgiving drama unfolds:

Some Walmart workers across the country are considering either striking or takingother actions during Thanksgiving week.

Those workers are predicting as many as 1,000 protests at Walmart stores leading up to Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday. Workers announced upcoming strikes and protests in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, Milwaukee, Washington, D.C., as well as workers' plans to walk off the job in Oklahoma, Mississippi, Louisiana and Minnesota. 

The Walmart concern goes beyond early shopping. Reports say concerned Walmart workers are protesting poor working conditions, higher benefits costs, efforts to block people of color, and retaliation against workers advocating for changes in these areas. Some also have said the “Black Thanksgiving” early shopping start before Black Friday is disruptive for many families wishing to enjoy the holiday with relatives.

Then there's the ongoing effort by workers to urge Target to change plans to open at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving eve.

One Target employee, Casey St. Clair, recently delivered more than 350,000 signatures from her Change.org petition to the company's headquarters in Minneapolis. Along with several local Target customers and community faith leaders, St. Clair brought the signatures to the office of Target President & CEO Gregg Steinhafel in several boxes.


Fedora To Host Thanksgiving Dinner

Last year in co-operation with community organizations, The Fedora Pub and Grille fed over 1000 people from our area for free. This year the planning committee is working hard preparing for an estimated 1500 of our friends and neighbors who have been hit hardest by these trying economic times. The Fedora Pub and Grille, Christian Community Coalition, St Vincent's, Shepherds Purse, KYMS Radio, Family Promise and many other local organizations and volunteers are working to bring our community together on Thanksgiving Day. More here.

Question: Have you ever eaten at Fedora?

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)

Thanksgiving greeting from the game warden’s diary

Here are best wishes for a happy Thanksgiving in the form of a short story you'll find heartwarming, or perhaps a bit of a heartburn. It was passed on to me from a reader.

A game warden was driving down the road when he came upon a young boy carrying a wild turkey under his arm. He stopped and asked the boy, 'Where did you get that turkey?'

The boy replied, 'What turkey?'

The game warden said, 'That turkey you're carrying under your arm.'

The boy looks down and said, 'Well, lookee here, a turkey done roosted under my arm!'

The game warden said, 'Now look, you know turkey season is closed, so whatever you do to that turkey, I'm going to do to you.

If you break his leg, I'm gonna break your leg. If you break his wing, I'll break your arm. Whatever you do to him, I'll do to you. So, what are you gonna do with him?'

The little boy said, 'I guess I'll just kiss his butt and let him go!'

Thanksgiving sports trivia


I have attended a grand total of one National Football League game. But as it happens, it was the Green Bay Packers visiting the Detroit Lions.

I'll give you two hints about how long ago that was: 1) The game was played at Tiger Stadium. 2) The guy pictured on the football card above caught two touchdown passes.

The game ended in a 14-14 tie.

I'll send a coveted reporter's notebook to the first person who can answer two questions.

1. Was it a Thanksgiving game?

2. In what year was that game played?

There Are None So Blind

This is a repost of one of my favorite columns. I recorded it for Spokane Public Radio several years ago and it is available on Public Radio Exchange. This year, the audio essay was broadcast by Delta College Public Radio in Michigan.


November 22, 2004

Giving her thanks for a gift of insight
Cheryl–Anne Millsap

   When I was a girl, an old blind woman lived in the faded white house with peeling clapboards and a shaded, vine–covered porch, next door to me. Mrs. Miller was small and wiry, and very old. Her thin white hair was always pulled into a tight bun at the nape of her neck.

   She lived with a little Chihuahua named Rocky – a strange and exotic pet at the time. The dog was ancient, barely able to walk on his thin matchstick legs and he, too, was almost blind.

   Sometimes, Mrs. Miller’s son, John, lived with them. John was a loud and angry man who worked nights – when he worked – and either slept or watched game shows on the television all day. John drank. And when he was drunk, he wasn’t very nice to his mother.

   I was afraid of that house and everyone in it. To me, the old woman was a person of shadows, living a dark and shuttered life. John, whose angry voice I could hear through the closed windows, frightened me and I was wary of the odd little dog.

   Occasionally, when John wasn’t home, my grandmother would send me over with a baked sweet potato, a couple of ripe tomatoes or a slice of homemade pie. I would knock on the back door and listen to her shuffling through rooms, calling out to me in a thin, rough, voice. Rocky would totter across the linoleum floor, coughing out a dry, raspy, bark.

   As quickly as I could, I would leave the food on the kitchen table – the sticky oilcloth–covered surface crowded with salt and peppershakers, paper napkins and bottles of hot sauce and pickled peppers – and run back out into the sunlight.

   One Thanksgiving Day, my grandmother asked me to take a meal next door. I drooped, but I knew better than to argue.

   I carried the plate, piled with turkey and dressing, mashed potatoes, green beans and ruby–red spiced apple rings across my back yard. I walked up the bank and past the little grove of plum trees to her back door, and knocked.

   “Mrs. Miller,” I called. “I brought you some Thanksgiving dinner.”

   I listened to her slow, painful, progress through the cluttered rooms. I imagined her reaching out for familiar doorways, feeling the edges of the furniture with bent and arthritic fingers. When she finally opened the back door, I thrust the plate at her, anxious to deliver it and leave.

   But she didn’t take it. Instead, she put her face down to the steaming plate of food and inhaled deeply, breathing in the warm fragrance.

   “Oh, Lord,” the old woman said. “That’s good.”

  And she didn’t move. She just stood there, lost in thought. Finally, as soon as she stepped aside, I set the plate down on the table and ran home.

   Just today, when I thought about what we will have for our Thanksgiving dinner, and my mind remembered, and replayed for me the taste of roast turkey and cornbread dressing, I recalled that day so long ago.

   Thinking about it now, I understand that at that moment the old woman and I traded places.

   I was blind to everything but my desire to run away, but for an instant Mrs. Miller could see. Through clouded eyes, she looked back at other Thanksgivings, long gone. Happy days before she was old and blind, and trapped in a dark house with an angry son.

   In the years since that November day, when the trace of a scent or the sound of a voice leaves me gazing at ghosts, I’ve learned that time gives back as much as it takes away.

   And for that, like the old woman, I’m grateful.


Cheryl-Anne Millsap writes for The Spokesman-Review. Her essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and on public radio stations across the country. She is the author of “Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons” and can be reached at catmillsap@gmail.com

What’s the ideal Thanksgiving weather?

A) Nippy and overcast. B) Sunny and unseasonably warm. C) Snow. D) Blue skies, cold. E) Rain. F) Other.

APhoto Of The Day — 11.23.11

Corinne Hufft, right, of Dallas, feeds a boiled mealworm to her daughter Ella Hufft, 3, as visitors sample Thanksgiving-inspired foods with insects at the Audubon Insectarium in New Orleans. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

McGregor: Black Thursday?

Thanksgiving continued happily along until the 1960s, when retailers like Macy’s started big sales on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Now, of course, we know it as Black Friday, America’s high holy day of deals. It’s been crowding Thanksgiving ever since. To traditionalists, it’s a heretical invasion of one of the few moments of reflection we have left; to others it’s the perfect celebration of our land of plenty. Can Thanksgiving and Black Friday coexist as two sides of the American coin?/Ted S. McGregor, Inlander. More here.

Question: Is there something hypocritical re: celebrating reflective Thanksgiving on Thursday and then gourging ourselves on gift buying the following day, on Black Friday?

Grizzly in zoo has reason to postpone hibernation

CRITTERSOne of the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo's four 11-month-old grizzly bear cubs enjoys a pumpkin for a snack at the Zoo in Cleveland on Tuesday.

Besides providing the animals with enrichment, the pumpkins are a preview to the treats many of the animals will receive on Thanksgiving Day.