For the first 8-10 years that Jim and I were together, our Thanksgiving tradition was to go up to his Mom’s place for the extended weekend.  He would always be elk hunting the week leading up to Thanksgiving, and if he wasn’t home by Wednesday, I would make the 3 1/2 hour drive myself  with the kids…and he would meet us there (usually on Thanksgiving day, sometimes the day after).  That all stopped a few years ago (mainly due to medical issues and the rest of the family not making it up there anymore). 

I remember the first year that we didn’t go up there…Jim was hunting that week as usual, but would NOT be home for Thanksgiving…I had nowhere to go!  My sister’s in-laws invited me and the kids to join them…..and now that has become our new tradition.   I’m thankful that they opened their home to us.  It’s been really nice getting to know my (extended) in-laws better, our kids refer to them as their Aunts and Uncles, it’s cute!  

 This year the group decided we should give back; help those who are unable to have a Thanksgiving dinner at home.  The Kinnies coordinated with the Faith Cafe at the United Methodist Church in Beaverton and we all signed up for a shift; the kids and I (and Jim- he was home this year!), plus my sister and her husband, helped with setting up; putting up tables and chairs, setting the tables, coloring placemats, wrapping silverware, etc.   My parents and in-laws were part of the next shift- helping to serve the food.  Apparently not many people signed up for the 3rd shift, which is clean-up, so they stayed to help with that also. 

For some reason I wasn’t expecting very many people to show up and help, but people kept streaming in.  There must have been between 20-30 people there for our shift and many were families with children.  I was also struck by two gentlemen who were there for the meal- they also pitched in and helped set up.  It looked like they were going to have a really nice dinner there with ALL the trimmings!  I heard the next day that about 75 people showed up for the dinner (less than they were expecting) and there was plenty of food. 

It felt nice to do something for others….I could see continuing this tradition in the years to come.