Chapter 34 - Thanksgiving in Roseville

Thanksgiving Day in Roseville started well before dawn. 

All over town women and men were preparing turkey for their family celebrations later on.  

In the Marberg home, Jean, Elaine, and Emjay worked together around the kitchen table peeling potatoes after putting the family bird into the Nesco.   

The three Marberg women talked about Emjay and her baby.  

They talked about possible names and some of the things Emjay could expect during the next few months.  

Before long the potatoes were peeled, the buns made, and scalloped corn set on the back porch until it was time to put them in the oven. 

At the church, Pastor Bob was preparing for the Thanksgiving service at 9.  The Christian churches in Roseville took turns each year hosting the Thanksgiving service.  It was a cheerful celebration of the community’s many blessings over the last 365 days with songs, scripture, and (with what Bob hoped) an appropriate thanksgiving homily.    

It had been quite a year, Bob thought, the flood and medical scare surrounding the meat allergy crisis.  There was also a ski show that brought thousands to town and a state-wide spotlight.  

Just this last week the football team won a state title and the doctor who figured out the allergy was told he’d be honored with a major award. 

Beyond that, the pastor knew, were thousands of individual triumphs and tragedies which shaped the year in imperceptible but profound ways. 

As the first guests walked in the front door Bob placed his notes on the pulpit as he walked down the aisle to say hello. 

Steve arrived at Pete’s house bearing a box of doughnuts from Karen’s.  Karen always opened her shop Thanksgiving morning – she sold more doughnuts, cinnamon rolls, and dinner rolls today than most months in the year.  The upside for Karen was her family prepared the turkey and she was home by ten in the morning. 

Steve told Pete about the job in Milwaukee and his feeling that with the state championship game it seemed like a good time to seize the opportunity.  Pete listened and nodded his head, “Steve, congratulations.  You have my support and I want to do a big send-off for you.  One question, can you give me two weeks at the station before you go?” 

“For you, Pete, I’ll be glad to do it.  And I expect we’ll be staying in touch for years to come.” 

Soon, both men said their good-byes wishing each other a Happy Thanksgiving and a promise to talk before Monday.  

Pete made a mental note to give Vicki a call.  He wanted to see if she might be interested in Steve’s afternoon shift and his programming responsibilities. 

Moss also thought Kathy might be a good choice as the lead play by play voice for the station.  He thought he and Jeff could alternate as co-hosts of Sports Tonight or find a way to develop one of the coaches or even Gus or Tom as a host of the broadcast.  

Pete was invited to the Marberg family Thanksgiving celebration.  He wasn’t sure how he’d fit into the whole family scene, but he couldn’t decline Jean’s invitation.  Jean assured him the game would be on TV and it was OK with her if he left in time to watch the Packers – Bears game at home. 

Gus and Tom closed the restaurant on Thanksgiving so they could cater a community dinner.  Volunteers delivered meals to shut-ins while a number of kids from the junior class would be at the Catholic Church to serve 100 expected guests from the town nursing home. 

The brothers threw the dinner in honor of their parents.  First generation Americans, their parents taught the boys how to work hard and how to cook.  Their parents’ legacy came to life each Thanksgiving for Gus and Tom who could see their parents in the smiling face of each guest. 

The station was on the air, like every other day, but on Thanksgiving each hour included several stories from the hearts of students and listeners about the thing for which they were thankful. 

Connie Temple, a single mother of two, won first place.  She brought her two kids into the station to record her story; 

“I’m thankful for the little things.  The two little things who are my children and so much more.  
I’m grateful this year for my job.  Not only does the job mean I can afford a place to live and am able to feed my kids every day; it gives me the opportunity to help others in the community. 

“My job as a social worker gives me an opportunity to help others find their place in this world.  I love the joy I am privileged to see on the faces of others who get a job or a home or a diploma for the first time. 

“Last year, I was thankful because Gus and Tom included my family at their Thanksgiving meal and then they introduced me to Joan who walked me through the steps of getting my life together, finding food to eat, and a purpose. 

“When I lost my job, I lost more than a job, I lost my hope.  Gus and Tom gave me my hope back. 

“I’m thankful for hope.  Hope enables me to love my family… to work… to help others.  Our world and my life is full of things that are great and make life good.  But hope is one of the greatest things I’ve ever know and the beginning of all things.

"Best of all is the hope in my heart because Jesus is my Savior.  While there are many times I wasn't on the right path, He found me anyway.  He is my hope.

"Hope is my Thanksgiving dream for each of you this year.  As Paul writes, “So now, faith, hope, and love abide, these three.  But the greatest of these is love.”