Thanksgiving Miracles 2017


Article Contributed by
Walt Pickut

“Thanksgiving turkey? I shot my first one this year…” said a Jamestown Gazette reader at a local food market last week. “And you should have seen the people in the frozen food aisle scatter!” The mischievous twinkle in this urban hunter-gatherer’s eye said he was ready for a happy Thanksgiving in 2017.

Hunting for Miracles
This year at the Jamestown Gazette, we took time out to harvest a few local, heartwarming miracles and even a couple of humorous stories for your Thanksgiving table this year… gathered from readers around some of the Gazette’s 250 newsstands across the county as readers picked up their latest copy.

“The miracle was that we were together at all this year,” said a Jamestown mom named Jodie toting a full basket and two tots. “We had Thanksgiving a couple of weeks early. Family came from all over to be with our son before he went back on active duty in a war zone. It’s his third tour and we’re thankful for answered prayers every time he is home.”

“We don’t call it Thanksgiving at our house anymore,” said a dad shaking cold November rain off his umbrella as he entered a store with his young daughter last week. “We call it ‘ThanksLiving’.” His daughter, he explained as she stepped away to retrieve a shopping cart, was now a 4-year survivor of a particularly troublesome kind of childhood cancer. “And we take a fresh baked, homemade cherry pie to her doctor’s house every Thanksgiving since. We celebrate ThanksLiving miracles now. That includes her doctor.”

Paying it Forward
“Thanksgiving this year will be at somebody else’s table,” said a young Jamestown man named Trevor as he wheeled an overflowing grocery basket toward his car. “This is going to the food pantry,” his wife said (who asked we not mention her name… “its not about me”). She tumbled five enormous frozen turkeys into her car trunk and piled in with them a half-dozen bags of greens and fresh fruit. “If it hadn’t been for them and some people at our church we would have been a lot hungrier. Trevor was out of work most of last year.”

“When you pray to find work,” Trevor said, “you’re really praying to feed your kids. So this year, we’re feeding somebody else’s and calling it Thanksgiving.”

Perhaps the strangest “Paying it Forward” expression of Thanksgiving we encountered was a sunshine yellow envelope found under a windshield wiper blade. A handwritten note with a $1 bill paper-clipped to it simply said, “Happy Thanksgiving”. A scattering of cars, at least five or six randomly spaced across the vast parking lots shared by three big box stores on Fairmount Avenue in Jamestown, showed similar notes. A brief search revealed a young teen darting among cars with a couple more yellow envelopes.

“I saw the idea on-line,” he said. “And I had 10 bucks. Thought it would be fun,” he added with a shy glance and ran off to continue his strange mischief.

A Different Kind of Miracle
“Nobody is going to talk about politics!” according to a long-time Lakewood resident named Catherine. The retired schoolteacher explained she sent formal invitations including something new, Thanksgiving ground-rules, to everybody in her extended clan of 25 or so – who normally come home every year for their Thanksgiving reunion anyway – to make her point. “We won’t have any verbal food fights this year. The names Bernie, Hillary and Donald are outlawed,” she said with a wink and a smile. If we can keep it to our traditional “What I’m thankful for” this year, that will be all the miracle we need.”

On a more serious note, a gentleman who lost a family member to a lingering illness earlier in 2017, said the miracle recovery everyone was waiting for did not arrive. “But it brought some family together like nothing else could have. We did have a miracle of sorts resolving some hard feelings between a couple of family members. It was better than the old “cease fire”

we’d been putting up with for too long. “Life is too short,” was the message that came out of our family’s tragedy. “Strangely, I think it will be a good, or at least a little better, Thanksgiving this year.”

Thanksgiving Resolutions
“I know, don’t tell me,” Rachel from West Ellicott said. “Resolutions are for New Year’s Eve. But this year, since I don’t have any family around, I guess you have to call me an optimist because I’m starting a diet on Thanksgiving Day. I’m just staying home by myself and being thankful I’m not stuffing myself silly like everybody else.” On a moment’s reflection, she added with a smile, “Well maybe a glass of wine, or two, OK? Happy Thanksgiving!”

“Thanksgiving is a hard day to think about healthy eating,” said a local follower of a popular diet plan that meets weekly in Jamestown for mutual support. “But I am resolved to do right this year. I will concentrate on fruits and vegetables, like, I’m thinking of apple pie, carrot cake and blueberry muffins. I’m thankful for the vitamin-C.”

Words of Wisdom
Two local members of the clergy, one from Jamestown and one from Falconer, contributed their own thoughts in a local coffee shop where the Jamestown Gazette is often passed from table to table.

“I think I’m only quoting ‘Saint Oprah’ here,” one said apologetically, “but I think she once said something like, ‘Be thankful for what you have and you will likely end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will find out that you never, ever have enough.’ I am thankful that I have pretty much of what I want and more than enough of what I need so I can give it away to help someone else.”

“We have a framed quotation over our dinner table,” said the other. “Sometimes we say it as a table blessing. It is especially good for Thanksgiving. Psalm 107: 8,9 says, ‘Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.’ On Thanksgiving it is good to remember who we are thankful to.”

Thanks to All
The Jamestown Gazette is thankful to our readers and our advertisers for helping us be “The People’s Paper” for the people of Greater Jamestown, Chautauqua County, Neighboring communities in Cattaraugus County and in Warren PA. Happy Thanksgiving!

Previous article…So What Comes Next?
Next articleSouthwestern School Girls on the Run Holds Toy Drive for UPMC Chautauqua WCA
Walt Pickut
Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.