Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I am not sure why, but even as a child growing up in Indiana it was my favorite. When I was younger, it may have been because we were out of school for a couple of days. Thanksgiving Day was one day that Pete Shug, my swim coach for many years, would not have practice. On Black Friday, he made up it by having two. Hoosier hysteria and basketball were big in my high school, and the Thanksgiving holiday marked the beginning of basketball season. Being the fifth of seven children, Thanksgiving at our house would start the day before, as mom would begin baking the pies that would be needed the next day. For several years, the day prior I would assist mom in tearing a loaf of bread into small pieces for the dressing. No stove top or pre-made at our house. I can remember my mother getting up early on Thanksgiving morning to prepare the 20-pound turkey, so by mid afternoon we would be able to eat the feast. The aroma would fill the house. As the day would move forward the parades would be on the TV and eventually the football games would start. As the years go by, I still have the vision of my grandfather standing at the head of the table sharpening his knives to cut the turkey right after the Amen. After graduating from Purdue, I choose to move away from the cold Indiana winters. I was in the hotel business at that time and moved around a great deal but every year I tried to get back to home for the fourth Thursday in November.
Living in Charlotte the past 28 years, due to distance, work obligations and our own family commitments, Marion and I have not made it back every year, but do try to keep the tradition as often as possible. Thanksgiving to me is family, friends and a time to be thankful for the many blessings that we have received throughout the years. Since living in Charlotte, we have attended the same church and many of our closest friends are also members. We have raised our children together all of them participating in the sports programs, religious education activities, and much more. Aproximently 20 years ago, our family began assisting another couple with the annual Thanksgiving food drive. The first weekend in November, Marion would make up a Thanksgiving display where parishioners will pick up some tags stating what can food to return prior to the Sunday before Thanksgiving. After a couple of years working with them, they advised us they would be out of town for most of November and asked if we would head the project up for that year. The food drive has become part of our families’ Thanksgiving tradition and the generosity of the parishioners of St. John Neumann has been overwhelming. Over the years the numbers of families that have been feed have ranged between 30 and 40 every year. Each family receives two boxes of canned goods, a 12-14-pound turkey, and a fresh pie, and often times a 5-pound bag of potatoes. It is very gratifying knowing that you can make an impact in people’s lives.
As is the case for the past 21 Thanksgivings, I am not only grateful for the parishioners of St. John Neumann, but each and every family who has allowed me to assist them with their financial concerns. I am thankful and very appreciative of the trust you have placed in my firm.
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