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Thanksgiving in Effingham
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This year, for the first time, state Sen. Jack Hill will be available to help prepare the Thanksgiving meal for his children, their families and other family.
“I plan to smoke and cook the meat for the crowd,” said Hill.
He also reviews his Christmas card list this time of year, taking note of the friends who have passed away in the past year.
“That is always a sad task,” Hill said. “It starts me to thinking about how important our health and the health of our families and friends are. Everything else pales in comparison. Counting the blessings of good health and having empathy for those who are in poor health or caring for family members in poor health has special meaning this time of year.”

State Rep.-elect Ann Purcell said her family’s plans are traditional.
“We’ve always gotten together as a family and friends day,” she said. “My sister will be here with her family normally. My Aunt Opal will be in attendance, so it’s a day of celebration, of thanksgiving at our household as it is every day, but particularly on the Thursday that’s been noted as Thanksgiving Day. Thanksgiving is a day that was proclaimed back in 1862 by Abraham Lincoln. I look at it as a day of celebrating the harvest of crops, the putting away of food for the following year, but particularly, I think it’s a day of thanking God. To me, it’s a day of thanksgiving and praise.”

Tess Hynes of the Effingham Chamber said she always spends time with her family on Thanksgiving.
“We spend half the day with my husband's family, and then half the day with my family,” she said. “Thanksgiving is a time to just relax and spend time with your family; to me, it is a time to give thanks for all that you have. I am very fortunate to have what I believe to be the best family in the world. My parents, grandparents and siblings would literally give their last dime to make sure we are all happy and have what we need. 
“Our family loves each other unconditionally and it is a time for all of us to put aside all of our other ‘goings-on’ and think about each other. Thanksgiving to me is exactly what it says: it is a time for us to give thanks to one another. My mom, me and my sisters spend the remainder of the night after dinner going through the sales ads to map out our black Friday plans.”

Karen Tanksley, publisher of the Effingham Herald, has a large family, with three brothers and two sisters.
“Thanksgiving is the one time that we all get together at my parents’ home,” she said. “We have grandchildren and sometimes great-grandchildren there. We have had as many as 22 family members for our Thanksgiving dinner. It is a madhouse to say the least and I love every minute of it.
“We are a loud bunch. There are always at least four conversations going on at once, and that’s in the same room. We all get in the kitchen and cook our ‘specialty’ for dinner. It is one of the best days of the year.”
This Thanksgiving will be tough for Tanksley and her family. Her nephew Bryan, her youngest sister’s son, died after a battle with cystic fibrosis at the first of this year.
“They live near Fort Lauderdale and he loved coming to Georgia every year for Thanksgiving,” Tanksley said. “If he was feeling bad a couple of weeks before the trip, he would go into the hospital for what he called a ‘tune up’ so that he would be well enough to make the trip. My hope is that being with family and all the fellowship and the laughter and the multiple conversations will help make this time of year a little easier for my sister.
“Thanksgiving is all about what we have to be thankful for and to me there is nothing more wonderful than family.”

Talbert Edenfield said his family will be spending this Thanksgiving at Clark’s Hill Reservoir with kids and in-laws.
“Thanksgiving is a time for our family to reunite and reflect on just how gracious and giving our God is and how our country, community, and family have been so blessed. Thanksgiving sets the tone for Christmas and the New Year where we celebrate our Savior, reflect on the passing year and look forward to all He will accomplish through us in the upcoming year.”

Newly re-elected Rincon councilman Frank Owens said he will attend church, “but maybe not Thanksgiving Day. I'm more tickled everyday that I am still living, after the close calls I'd had the past couple of months. We will be with family, but no telling which family home we'll be visiting — more than likely, my son’s new home over in Guyton.”

Barbara Oglesby of Citizens Bank said her Thanksgiving plans are to spend the time she with as many family and friends as she can. 
“I look forward to sharing the day with my grandchildren and sharing family memories with everyone,” she said. “We will tell stories as far back as my grandparents, as well as stories from only a few years ago. We will cook all of the old family favorite foods. The family grows and as new members join the family, we share new foods and new stories. We always discuss who had that recipe and memories of the person that passed it down.
“The children will play hard and the adults will eat too much. Any problems or worries will be replaced this day by thoughts of what we are all thankful for. I will think about the old and new family and friends and the ones that are gone.
My thoughts on Thanksgiving are that it's a day when I stop and ask, ‘Where have the years gone?’ As the year comes to an end, it reminds me of how fast life is passing. Thanksgiving Day makes me slow down for at least one day to stop and think about how blessed I am.”

Dick Leach of Rincon United Methodist Church said he will be celebrating Thanksgiving with his son and daughter-in-law from Denver, with whom they haven’t had a family holiday in several years. 
“We are looking forward to re-establishing old traditions,” Leach said. “Thanksgiving is a time for reflection on all of the blessings that God has bestowed on me and my family. Despite what seem to be unending glitches in the smooth running of our lives, we have so much to be thankful for — family, friends, country, church, food and shelter, and so much more. We should be mindful of all of this every day, not just on this holiday. We pray for our country and its leaders, for our service personnel all over the world, and for a peaceful solution to the many conflicts at home and abroad.”

Rincon City Manager Mike Phillips has two of his three children in the Marine Corps stationed at Camp LeJeune. 
“My youngest son is scheduled for some knee surgery in about a week, so my wife Mary is going early to help him out,” he said. “I am going to try to take off the Wednesday before Thanksgiving to travel up to Camp LeJeune. “It is about an eight-hour trip, so we cannot go on regular weekends, only on long ones. My daughter (middle child) is a Marine staff sergeant and is married to a Marine gunny who just got back from deployment. They have a house in Jacksonville (N.C.).
“My oldest son lives in Greenville, S.C., and we are hoping that they might be able to come up for Thanksgiving. But he has two young children and traveling is much harder for them.
“I have been very blessed in my lifetime. I have a good job, in a place that I like, doing something of value, and working with people who give 100 percent. I have just about quit watching the news because my heart aches for the burdens that some others have to bear. I am thankful every day, for every day with my wife and my children. Thanksgiving for me is every day of my life.”

United Way’s Bonnie Dixon said her Thanksgiving will be simple.
“That’s the key word for our Thanksgiving this year,” she said. “We’ll enjoy the day with family and friends — and try not to eat too much. Our family has a lot to be thankful for this year; we have three new babies in the family and all are healthy and beautiful. 
“Knowing the situations of many families in our community and around the world, we are thankful for our jobs, our good health, and for the many freedoms we have.  We are also very thankful for the community we live in –—a community that cares for one another.”

Trudie Sapp of the Effingham Board of Education will be spending Thanksgiving with family this year, as always. 
“Thanksgiving is a time to count our blessings,” she said. “I’m thankful for — memories of a mother and father who taught me by example; a husband who, after 39 years, still treats me like his baby; a child who does special, little meaningful things for others; a church that reaches out to others and to me; a job that makes a difference in the lives of children; a school system whose superintendent and employees care enough to go beyond the job description; a community with roots where integrity is upheld in its people; a God who holds my hand.

Ruth Lee said her plans for Thanksgiving this year are about the same as usual —dinner with the larger Lee family at the homeplace over in Bryan County. She will be glad to have all of her family at home.
“We will spend the two or three days just relaxing and taking life easy,” she said. “Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. It means good things to eat and not a lot of pressure to do other things.
“Happy and blessed Thanksgiving to all.”

Effingham Hospital Administrator Norma Jean Morgan said having a day set aside to remind one to thank God for the blessings in life is very special.
“God is so good,” she said.
Thanksgiving shouldn’t be just a reminder of the nation and the first Thanksgiving more than 300 years ago but also should remind people “that when our life's journey is ended we will be asked by God, ‘and what did you do to make life better for others?’ My goal is to hear the Master say, ‘well done, my good and faithful servant.’”
Morgan said her Thanksgiving memories have always been good.
“My grandmother always cooked the Thanksgiving turkey for her four children and spouses and 13 grandchildren,” she said. “As our family grew and grandparents were no longer with us, my mother has made the entire Thanksgiving meal for her four children and spouses and eight children.
“Our home is filled with the smells of good food and desserts; the fun of watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade on television and the sharing of the meal with family and friends.”
Morgan said she sometimes will go to a movie or visit with family once the Thanksgiving meal is done.
“This year, my mother is not well, so my sister will host the traditional family gathering at her home,” she said. “My Thanksgiving Day this year will start with a wonderful family breakfast, then I'll watch some of the Macy’s Parade from New York and then I’ll go by the Effingham Hospital and Care Center to check in on our employees who will work the holiday to care for patients and nursing home residents and then head down to the big family feast. 
“We will thank God for our blessings and be reminded that God is good and he will bless us if only we ask him.”