Tags Posts tagged with "Thanksgiving"


Thanksgiving Turkey. METRO photo

By Heidi Sutton

While there are no laws governing which dishes must appear on Thanksgiving dinner tables, for many the fourth Thursday of November simply would not be complete without turkey. Turkey can be cooked in various ways, but roasting might be the most popular method used by Thanksgiving celebrants. This recipe for “Herb-Roasted Turkey” from Yolanda Banks’ “Cooking for Your Man” (Broadway Books) produces a mouth-watering bird that’s sure to make a lasting impression this Thanksgiving.

Herb-Roasted Turkey

YIELD:  Serves 10


12 tablespoons (11⁄2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1⁄4 cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped, plus 4 whole sprigs

1 large sprig fresh rosemary, leaves chopped, plus 2 whole sprigs

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, plus 4 whole sprigs

15 leaves fresh sage, chopped, plus 3 whole leaves

3⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for the turkey

1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for the turkey

1 15-pound turkey

1 lemon, quartered

8 shallots, peeled and halved

1 head garlic, cloves separated and peeled

4 cups low-sodium chicken broth or stock

2⁄3 cup dry white wine

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour


In a small bowl, combine the butter, chopped parsley, chopped rosemary, chopped thyme, chopped sage, salt, and pepper, and mix well.

Position a rack in the bottom third of the oven and preheat the oven to 450 F. Sprinkle the main cavity of the turkey with salt and pepper. Place the whole sprigs of parsley, rosemary and thyme and the sage leaves into the cavity. Add the lemon, 4 shallot halves and half of the garlic cloves.

Starting at the neck end, carefully slide a hand between the skin and the breast meat to loosen the skin. Spread 3 tablespoons of the herb butter over the breast meat under the skin. Tuck the wing tips under the skin, and tie the legs together to hold the shape. Season the turkey generously all over with salt and pepper.

Place the turkey on a wire rack set in a large roasting pan. Rub 4 tablespoons of the herb butter over the turkey. Roast about 30 minutes, until golden brown, and reduce the heat to 350 F. Baste the turkey with 1⁄2 cup of the broth. Cover only the breast area with a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Scatter the remaining shallots and garlic cloves in the pan around the turkey.

Continue to roast the turkey for about 11⁄2 hours, basting with 1⁄2 cup of broth every 30 minutes. Remove the foil from the turkey breast. Continue to roast the turkey, basting with pan juices every 20 minutes, about 1 hour longer, until it’s golden brown and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 F. Transfer the turkey to a platter and brush with 1 tablespoon of the herb butter. Tent it loosely with foil and let it rest for 20 minutes before carving.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shallots and garlic from the roasting pan to a plate. Transfer the pan juices to a medium bowl, then skim off and discard the fat. Set the pan over two burners on medium-high heat. Deglaze the pan with the wine and 1 cup of chicken broth, scraping up any browned bits. Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, and cook until it’s reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Pour the sauce into a large measuring glass. Add the degreased pan juices, and broth, if necessary, to equal 3 cups of liquid.

Blend the flour into the remaining herb butter until combined. Pour the broth mixture into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Gradually whisk in the herb-butter mixture. Add any accumulated juices from the turkey platter and boil until the gravy thickens enough to coat a spoon, whisking occasionally, about 6 minutes. Add the remaining shallots and garlic to the gravy and simmer for 1 minute. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if necessary. Serve the turkey with the gravy.

It’s time to change up your holiday dinner options

By David Dunaief, M.D.

Dr. David Dunaief

Many consider Thanksgiving a time to indulge and not think about the repercussions. Even if we have the best of intentions, it’s hard to resist indulging in our childhood favorites and secret family recipes spread before us in a sprawling buffet.

Unfortunately, that one meal, and perhaps subsequent leftover meals, can have striking health consequences. And if you tend to overeat, be aware that there are significant short-term consequences of gorging ourselves.

Not surprisingly, people tend to gain weight from Thanksgiving to New Year. This is when many gain the predominant amount of weight for the entire year. However, most do not lose the weight they gain during this time (1). If you can fend off weight gain during the holidays, think of the possibilities for the rest of the year.

If you are obese and sedentary, you may already have heart disease. Overeating at a single meal increases your risk of heart attack over the near term, according to the American Heart Association (2). 

The good news is that, with a little Thanksgiving planning, you can reap significant health benefits.

What can we do to turn Thanksgiving dinner into a healthy meal? The secret is likely there on your table, hidden in the side dishes. By reconsidering how we prepare them, we can change the Thanksgiving health equation.

Refocus on plants

Phytochemicals (plant nutrients) called carotenoids have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity and are found mostly in fruits and vegetables. Carotenoids make up a family of more than 600 different substances, such as beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, lycopene and beta-cryptoxanthin (3).

Carotenoids help to prevent and potentially reverse diseases, such as breast cancer, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease), age-related macular degeneration, and cardiovascular disease — heart disease and stroke. Foods that contain these substances are dark green leafy vegetables, as well as orange, yellow and red vegetables and fruits.

Focus on healthy eating

Despite the knowledge that healthy eating has long-term positive effects, there are obstacles to healthy eating. Two critical factors are presentation and perception.

Vegetables are often prepared in either an unappetizing way — steamed to the point of no return — or smothered in cheese and butter, negating their benefits, but clearing our consciences. Fruits are buttered and sugared beyond recognition or used as a garnish on more decadent dishes.

Plant-based foods like whole grains, leafy greens and fruits are relegated to side dishes or afterthoughts. 

Here are some suggestions to get you thinking about ways to shift the heavy holiday meal paradigm:

Make healthy, plant-based dishes part of the main course. You don’t have to forgo signature dishes, but supplement tradition by adding mouthwatering vegetable-based dishes. One of my favorites is steamed “sweet” vegetables — cauliflower, broccoli, snap peas, onions and garlic. To make it sweet, I sauté it in a splash of citrus-infused balsamic vinegar and add sliced apples. If you want to make this a primary dish, add diced tofu and/or garbanzo beans to make it more filling without overwhelming its delicate sweetness.

Improve vegetable choices. Why would you serve vegetables without any seasoning? In my family, we season vegetables and make sauces to drizzle over them. Personally, I’m a fan of infused vinegars. Each adds a different flavor to the vegetables. 

My 16-year-old nephew, who has never liked cooked vegetables, fell in love with my wife’s roasted Brussels sprouts and broccoli while on vacation last summer. He actually texted her a week later to ask for the recipes. Now, he makes them for himself. Good resources for appealing dishes can be found at PCRM.org, mouthwateringvegan.com, and many other resources.

Replace refined grains. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, showed that replacing wheat or refined grains with whole wheat and whole grains significantly reduced central fat, or fat around the belly (4). Not only did participants lose subcutaneous fat found just below the skin, but also visceral adipose tissue, the fat that lines organs and causes chronic diseases such as cancer. 

For even better results, consider substituting riced cauliflower or mashed cauliflower for rice or potatoes. You can purchase frozen riced cauliflower in many grocery stores now. Just be sure to get one that’s unsalted. If you prefer mashed, I have a simple recipe for mashed cauliflower here: https://medicalcompassmd.com/post/mashed-cauliflower-recipe-vegan 

Create a healthy environment. Instead of putting out creamy dips, cheese platters and candies as snacks, choose whole grain brown rice crackers, baby carrots, cherry tomatoes and healthy dips like hummus and salsa. Help people choose wisely.

Offer healthy dessert options. Options might include dairy-free pumpkin pudding and fruit salad. The goal should be to increase your nutrient-dense choices and decrease your empty-calorie foods. 

Instead of making Thanksgiving a holiday of regret, eating foods that cause weight gain, fatigue and that increase your risk for chronic diseases, promote everyone’s health, while maintaining the theme of a traditional festive meal.


(1) N Engl J Med 2000; 342:861-867. (2) www.heart.org. (3) Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 2010;50(8):728–760. (4) Am J Clin Nutr 2010 Nov;92(5):1165-71.

Dr. David Dunaief is a speaker, author and local lifestyle medicine physician focusing on the integration of medicine, nutrition, fitness and stress management. For further information, visit www.medicalcompassmd.com.

Dr. Chrisy Beneri, below, suggests people leave a window cracked while entertaining such as above. Stock photo above; photo of Dr. Christy Beneri from Stony Brook Medicine

The time between Halloween and Thanksgiving often involves lists.

Dr. Chrisy Beneri. Photo from Stony Brook Medicine

Thanksgiving hosts make lists of people to invite, food to purchase, reminders of relatives who need to sit as far from each other as possible, and specialty items, like dairy-free, nut-free, gluten-free and sugar-free desserts.

This year, people should also consider adding healthcare steps to their holiday preparation, particularly as new COVID-19 variants and a host of respiratory viruses like the flu and respiratory syncytial virus, also known as RSV, threaten to put a damper on the holiday festivities or the days immediately after family gatherings.

Even as new COVID variants circulate in the area, cases of the flu have recently been climbing throughout the county, state and country.

As of the week ending Oct. 29, which is the most recent week for which the state and country produced data, Suffolk County reported 255 confirmed cases of the flu, which is up 86% from the previous week, according to the New York State Department of Health. Statewide, the number of cases reached 3,476 for the same week.

Dr. Christy Beneri, program director of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital, suggests that the “ideal time is now” to get COVID and flu vaccines. “It generally takes about two weeks for the immune system to show a response to the vaccine to provide protection,” which means that the clock is ticking to prepare immune systems for visits with friends and relatives who might be bringing unwitting viral passengers with them to the dinner table.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people get a bivalent booster — the version from Pfizer/ BioNTech or Moderna that includes protection against some of the newer omicron variants — if it has been at least two months since their last COVID-19 vaccine or since their original booster.

Beneri urges residents to get both COVID and flu vaccines, which people can receive at the same time.

The effects of these combined shots may have increased side effects of flu-like illnesses, like fever, aches and fatigue, which generally lasts for about a day.

The CDC reported that observational studies show greater disease severity in patients with influenza and COVID than in patients with COVID alone. 

As for ways to protect guests in people’s homes, Beneri explained in an email that no specific house filters are effective at reducing the spread of disease.

“Good air flow is important,” she wrote. “Leaving some windows cracked and telling guests to wear an extra layer” could reduce the risk of spreading viruses.

Beneri added that area medical facilities have seen patients with more than one respiratory virus.

“Having multiple viruses can lead to more severe disease and thus [the] need for hospitalization for supportive care,” Beneri added.

Treatment options currently exist for COVID and influenza, which is not the case for other respiratory illnesses. The NIH COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines suggested that there are no significant drug-drug interactions between the antiviral agents used to treat the flu and antivirals used to prevent or treat COVID.

While vaccinations may not completely prevent disease, they can help reduce severe disease and hospitalization, which is “especially important with the increase in other respiratory infections, such as respiratory syncytial virus,” she explained in an email.

Boosting immunity

In general, people can enhance their health by eating well, exercising and getting a good night’s sleep, Beneri said.

She also generally recommends a multivitamin.

The COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel indicates that there is not enough evidence to support the use of additional supplements, such as Vitamin C, D or zinc in patients with COVID.

Beneri advised residents to review any supplement use with their doctors to avoid drug interactions and possible side effects.

At this point, the bivalent vaccine has improved effectiveness for the omicron strain based on the immune response, Beneri explained.

More data, however, is expected on the vaccine efficacy in the short and longer term with the new bivalent boosters, Beneri said.

Additionally, more data should be forthcoming on treatment options, which will also be important with anticipated new waves over the holidays and new variants emerging, she added.

Combined vaccine

Recently, Pfizer/ BioNTech said it was in phase one trials for a single vaccine that would provide immune protection against COVID and the flu.

Local doctors urged patience as the pharmaceutical company and the Food and Drug Administration review the results from these trials.

“Although there may be benefits with combination vaccines from a compliance perspective, we need to weigh that against the risk of safety and efficacy,” Dr. Sunil Dhuper, chief medical officer at Port Jefferson’s St. Charles Hospital, explained in an email.

The medical community needs to ensure that the combination is neither less immunogenic nor less effective than the singular vaccines on their own, he added.

“Safety and tolerability are other important concerns with combination vaccines,” Dhuper explained. He hopes the clinical trials will answer a host of questions related to immune response, efficacy, and reactogenicity, which refers to injection site pain, redness, swelling, fever headaches and other responses to the vaccination.

METRO photo

By Barbara Beltrami

Is it really about the turkey? I don’t think so. Personally, I think the turkey is just an excuse for the myriad side dishes that crowd the Thanksgiving plate. And whatever they are, it’s not Thanksgiving without them. Each cook prepares his or her specialty, and each guest arrives, stepping gingerly up the walk and carrying a foil-covered dish. Aunt Somebody always does the Brussels sprouts, Cousin Somebody has to bring the cranberry sauce, Uncle Somebody has whipped up his irresistible mashed potatoes and Somebody’s mother-in-law always presents her “famous” sweet potato creation with the usual flourish, fanfare and self-congratulatory prelude. They all think their recipes are classified information and inimitable, but I’ve pretty much figured them out so here they are.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

YIELD: Makes 4 to 6 servings


1 pint Brussels sprouts, trimmed and sliced in half, top to bottom

1/4 cup olive oil

6 peeled garlic cloves

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar


Preheat oven to 400 F. In a large cast iron skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat, then place sprouts cut side down in oil; add garlic and salt and pepper. Cook until sprouts start to brown on bottom; transfer them in the pan to oven; roast until they are evenly brown, about 15 to 20 minutes; toss with balsamic vinegar and serve hot or warm with turkey and all the trimmings.

Drunken Cranberry Sauce

YIELD: Makes 6 to 8 servings


One 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries

1 large tart apple, peeled and diced

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup orange liqueur

1/2 cup water

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup bourbon

Grated zest of one orange

Grated zest of one lemon


In a large saucepan combine the cranberries, apple, sugar, orange liqueur, water and cinnamon; bring to a boil over medium heat, then simmer until the berries start to pop.  Remove from heat, stir in bourbon and zests; cover and refrigerate. Serve with turkey and all the trimmings.

Golden Mashed Potatoes

YIELD: Makes 4 to 6 servings



3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters

1 whole onion, peeled

1 stick unsalted butter

1/3 cup whole milk

Pinch of freshly ground white pepper


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add potatoes and onion and cook over medium-high heat until very tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Drain, then return potatoes to pot without any of the water; discard onion or refrigerate and save for another use. Meanwhile in a small saucepan heat 6 tablespoons butter and milk together until butter melts and milk is hot but not boiling. Go back to potatoes and toss them around in pot over low heat for a minute or so; transfer them to mixer bowl and mash them on low speed; add the hot milk and butter gradually, then the white pepper, and increase mixer speed to medium. When fully combined and creamy, transfer to warmed serving bowl, top with dots of remaining butter and, as soon as it’s melted from the heat of the potatoes, serve with turkey and trimmings.

‘Famous’ Sweet Potatoes

YIELD: Makes 4 servings


4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons orange juice

2 tablespoons grated orange zest

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

2 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts


Preheat oven to 425 F. Line a shallow baking pan or cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Make a series of 1/8” slices cross-wise, slicing only 2/3 of the way down on the potatoes, so the bottoms of the slices are still attached. Place potatoes, evenly spaced, on foil-lined pan. In a small bowl combine the butter, brown sugar, orange juice, orange zest, salt and pepper. With a pastry brush, coat tops of potatoes and let mixture dribble down in between slices. Bake until insides are tender and outsides are crispy, about 45 to 50 minutes. Midway through cooking time, run a fork gently along tops to fan out slices; when potatoes are almost done,  sprinkle nuts over tops and in between slices. Serve hot with turkey and trimmings.

METRO photo

By Fr. Francis Pizzarelli

Father Frank Pizzarelli

It’s hard to believe that it’s almost Thanksgiving. The leaves are changing colors and will soon fall to the ground once again covering the earth. As we prepare for this most important American celebration, we have so much to be thankful for.

This brutal pandemic seems to be coming to an end; leaving us with so much death, so much sickness and suffering, but also a powerful reminder that life is fragile and sacred and that we as a people and as a nation are resilient.

Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful, to give thanks for our many blessings. It should not be a noun but an action word. In other words, it’s not enough to just say we’re grateful, we need to show our gratitude by our actions.

If we ever needed to come together as a people, it is now. Thanksgiving is a great opportunity for us to build bridges and not walls; for creating a new narrative that is focused on healing and not hatred. It is a time for celebrating our strengths, not harping on our weaknesses.

It is a time to end the vulgar discourse that is infecting and polarizing our political landscape. It is reprehensible when an elected member of Congress stands in that sacred chamber without a mask that metaphorically gives the finger to the elected President of the United States! What has happened to our elected leadership? Have they lost their moral compass and their commitment to lead by example? What are we teaching our children about respect for the dignity of all people, no matter what their political affiliation?

Thanksgiving can be a time for new beginnings. Let us leave all the hatred and venom behind and focus on all the goodness that makes America great today! Professional football player Tom Brady, after a big win, took the time to shake hands with a little nine-year-old boy who is a cancer survivor. What about local students from a youth fellowship who bake cookies on a regular basis and bring them to a local homeless shelter, or the recovering heroin addict who became a social worker and wrote a book about hope and transformation?

Every day there are big and small miracles that are transforming our world. We need to slow down enough in the midst of all of this chaos and take off the blinders.

This Thanksgiving, as you gather with your family and loved ones to give thanks, set an extra plate at your table for that person in our community who might not have a table to sit at. Be grateful this Thanksgiving and remember “it’s not the breaths you take, it’s how you breathe!” (Augie Nieto).

Happy Thanksgiving. I am forever grateful that I live and work among you!

Father Francis Pizzarelli, SMM, LCSW-R, ACSW, DCSW, is the director of Hope House Ministries in Port Jefferson.

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Boy Scout Troop 125 (Commack) with the collected 1,207.2 pounds of food for the Commack United Methodist Church’s food pantry.

By Troop 125 Historian, Wyatt Bode

A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, courteous, kind, cheerful … Boy Scouts from Troop 125 were out in force on Sunday, November 8 participating in a call to service for a Thanksgiving time food drive. Canned and boxed goods were donated by community members, as the scouts requested donations from shoppers at Commack’s ShopRite (Crooked Hill Rd).  An impressive 1,207.2 pounds were collected that day.

Scouts of Boy Scout Troop 125(Commack) during the food collection at Shoprite in Commack

The food variety included staples such as soup, tuna, assorted canned vegetables and fruits, pasta, rice, olive oil, sauces and cereals. The food collected helped restock the shelves for the Commack United Methodist Church’s pantry. Much thanks go to all the members of the community who helped in this effort and participated in donating all the food.

Boy Scout Troop 125 meets every Tuesday from 7:30-9:00pm at the Commack United Methodist Church (486 Town Line Road, Commack) and is open to boys ages 11 through 18 residing in Commack, Dix Hills, East Northport, Kings Park, Smithtown and their surrounding communities. Due to Covid, the meetings are currently being conducted remotely until the weather warms up, but the Troop is planning bi-weekly outdoor activities which lend themselves to social distancing.

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Comsewogue school administrators and the owners and coach at Port Crossfit gather for a donation of 20 turkeys and 51 gift cards to go to residents in the district. Photo by Kyle Barr

Members of Port Crossfit in Port Jefferson Station are giving back to the needy in the local community through the Comsewogue School District.

The crossfit gym delivered a host of turkeys and gift cards to Boyle Road Elementary School Tuesday, Nov. 24. 

Gym members raised money by asking family and friends to donate funds for every pound or inch on their waistline they lost over the past few weeks. As members lost over 100 pounds and a whole lot of inches, the gym acquired close to $2,000, which they used to purchase 20 turkeys and 51, $25 gift cards for Stop & Shop, the total of of which were worth approximately $1,200.

“It’s less about the turkeys and less about the gift cards — it’s always good to feed people in need — it’s more about the support system in the community,” Port Crossfit co-owner Kyle Tiringer said. “You’re inner circle, your family, those are the people that help you push through struggles to reach your goals. If we can pull together our powers to keep families together, maybe they can help accomplish a whole lot more for themselves and ultimately the community will benefit from that.”

Principal of Boyle Road Elementary School Nicole Sooknanan said the district’s nurses and social workers combined their efforts to identify families in need at this time of year. The turkeys will be going to families not just at Boyle Road but throughout the district.

The food and gift cards supplement a food drive hosted by the school where they gather nonperishables to put together  thanksgiving dinners for local families. 

“Comsewogue is really about family and coming together,” Sooknanan said. “Obviously this year has brought on new circumstances for families, and I’m proud to be able to help our community. We help one another — that’s what we do here.”

Port Jefferson Farmer's Market

While 2020 certainly had its downfalls, Thanksgiving is approaching and it’s reminding us what we’re grateful for this year. Our reporter, Julianne Mosher, headed down to the Village of Port Jefferson’s weekly Farmer’s Market to ask stand owners and their friends what they’re thankful for this year, and what they’re doing for Thursday’s holiday.

Erin Reid, NahMaStay Vegan

I’m thankful for love. Love is something everyone lives for, and that’s why I do this because I love what I do.




Rob, Darlene, Bobby and Francesca Baslie

Rob: We’re just so happy to be healthy.

Bobby: I can’t wait to eat corn on Thanksgiving. Francesca likes Lunchables.



Gary Newman, Beewitched Bee

I’m still working, so that’s really good. I’m thankful I was working throughout the pandemic. A lot of people weren’t, so I’m lucky I was.




JoAnn DeLucia, JoAnn’s Desserts

Family. That’s the first and foremost important thing. I’m thankful for our health and for our family.




Agathe Snow, Mushrooms NYC

I’m thankful for my health, but more importantly my parent’s health. I’m also thankful for our farm surviving – we moved from NYC to Mattituck to expand and it’s going really well!



Theresa DeGregorio, Bambino Ravioli

I’m thankful for health, my family and good food that we’ll be eating this week.




Marc, Jacob and Melissa Gordon, Sweets by Amy G

We’re thankful for family and having time with our family.




Danielle Paul, Pecks of Maine Jams

I’m thankful for my family and friends – and being able to work during a pandemic. It’s been hard for everyone.




Naela Zeidan, Naela Organics

We’re thankful for our health. Luckily our whole family has been COVID free this whole time, and we’re keeping Thanksgiving small this year.



Photos by Julianne Mosher

METRO photo

By Leah S. Dunaief

Leah Dunaief

Thanksgiving 2020 will surely be remembered by all. Other Thanksgivings blend into each other on the impressionist edges of memory, in a sepia-colored haze. But this one will stand out like a gargoyle, in bas-relief at the center. Never before have we disinvited our children from our homes during this holiday. Never have we set the table for so few. Never have we been urged not to travel to reconnect with our families. Never have we been drilled on the three Ws: wash your hands, watch your social distancing, wear your mask. COVID-19 overhangs our lives.

Nonetheless, for most of us, there is so much to be thankful for, even as we have to push past the anxiety and the upending of our lives the pandemic has caused to remind ourselves of the many ways we can be thankful.

First is for the good health most of us are lucky enough to enjoy: for our own and that of our loved ones. Perhaps, never has good health been viewed as such a blessing as now, as hundreds of thousands fall ill. Even without the coming vaccine, we can work to keep the virus at bay by diligently following the three Ws.

Next is the love we have in our lives that has become so manifestly important to acknowledge and declare. It is that love: for our spouses, our parents, our children, our dearest relatives and friends that is our safety net during these challenging days. We have always been aware of that love but perhaps not so appreciatively as now. The need to connect with them has not been so vital as now. And if we have a warm home and people who live in it with us, and enough to eat each day, how thankful we can be.

We can be thankful for our jobs, if we have them, and if we don’t, for the country we live in that supports us at least partially during our temporary unemployment. And if we are holding on ourselves, we can help others around us through our churches, soup kitchens and donations to our neighbors in need. To help others is a great privilege.

Though I never particularly embraced the computer when it appeared in our daily lives in the 1970s and 1980s, I am thankful for technology. Because of my computer, I can see my children and grandchildren regularly. I even have a place in the house nicknamed the Zoom Room. I can also see my friends, attend meetings, albeit virtually, and learn new subjects if I choose.

I escape from the news and the responsibilities of daily life with movies on Netflix and other streaming services. I still cannot stop marveling at Siri and the ability to find the answers to all sorts of questions by just pushing a button on my cellphone.

I sometimes think of my husband, whose poor sense of direction was legendary in the family, and how he would have loved the GPS. The ability to call someone from this marvelous invention I hold in my hand and tell them I am on my way but will be 15 minutes late or that I need help because I have a flat tire is a commonplace miracle of the 21st century. How lucky we are to be alive in these times, when a vaccine to overcome our version of the black plague can be developed in a matter of months.

Difficult times force us to turn inward and find the resilience to cope. And we can cope, we all can. If we believe in ourselves and have faith that this pandemic will end, which it surely will, we can then build back our lives and our world again. We can give thanks for that inner strength. Governments must help, charities and philanthropies do help, and we can help ourselves and each other. We can take inspiration from the natural world, which goes on in all its seasons of beauty despite periodic upheavals, and thankfully we will too.

Thanksgiving 2021 we will all together sit around the dinner table and profoundly give thanks.

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By Beverly C. Tyler

Celebrating Thanksgiving Day as the end of the season of harvest was and still is an important milestone in people’s lives. Diaries, journals and letters provide some of the earliest records of seasonal activity and how people connected with each other to mark occasions. In America, before the telephone became a standard household item, family members and friends stayed in touch through the U.S. Postal Service.   

In 1873, a new phenomenon began when the United States Postal Service issued the first penny postcards. During the first six months, they sold 60 million. The post office department stated: “The object of the postal card is to facilitate letter correspondence and provide for the transmission through the mails, at a reduced rate of postage, of short communication, either printed or written in pencil or ink.”

With the postcard, brevity was essential due to the small space provided. Long descriptive phrases and lengthy expressions of affection, which then were commonly used in letter-writing, gave way to short greetings.

Soon after the first government postal cards were issued, American greeting card manufacturers began to print Christmas, Easter and other greetings on the back of the cards. By the 1890s, picture postcards were widely sold in many European countries, but in the United States, privately printed cards cost 2 cents to mail.

On May 19, 1898, an act of Congress was passed in the U.S. allowing privately published postcards the same message privileges and rates (1 cent) as the government-issued cards. These were to be inscribed, “Private mailing card – Authorized by Act of Congress May 19, 1898.”

Then in December 1901, new regulations were issued saying that private cards would have the word “Post Card” at the top of the address side and government-issued cards would say “Postal Cards.”

Before the telephone, the postcard was an easy and pleasant way to send a message. A postcard sent from one town in the morning usually would arrive in a nearby town that afternoon. A postcard sent from another state would not take much longer. Edward Griffin took the steamer “Priscilla” from New York to Boston, arriving at 8 a.m. on Aug. 27, 1902. He wrote a brief note on a postcard when he arrived, addressed it to his mother in Brooklyn, and dropped it in the mail. The postcard said: “Arrived ok this morning at 8 o’clock – Eddie.” The postcard was postmarked in Boston at 11:30 am and postmarked again in Brooklyn at 8:30 pm the same day.

In October of 1907, the United States, following the lead of other countries, changed the rules and began allowing messages to be written on half of the side reserved for the address. This left the whole of the other side for pictures or photographs. Postcards then became a major collecting craze, and for many, a profitable business. They were produced in such quantities that they were often given away with copies of popular magazines.

The feasting aspect of Thanksgiving has continued to be an essential part of the holiday and many of the postcards that were sent reflected that theme. In addition, the postcard helped to tie the family members together with those who were absent during the holiday.

As the telephone became more widely used, the postcard became less and less important as a means of daily communications. However, it provided us with a view of the early years of the twentieth century that became a permanent record of contacts between family members and friends.

Beverly C. Tyler is the Three Village Historical Society historian and author of books available from the society at 93 North Country Road, Setauket. For more information, call 631-751-3730 or visit www.tvhs.org.

All images from Beverly C. Tyler’s postcard collection