Carter Johnson

Whether you’re traveling to a Thanksgiving meal or hosting one of your own, it’s a favored tradition for most of us. Growing up, our family would often travel to Park Rapids to join my grandparents; as I got older we went on family ski trips to Colorado, as it was timely with a downhill race camp I would attend. More recently the holiday has been with my in-laws around our table, as my parents and siblings have created new traditions. It’s great because my mother-in-law cooks a 20-pound turkey for four adults and two kids, so we can eat leftovers for several days. And she still makes the cranberry Jello mold, even though I am the only one who still likes it.

While many of us think of a big turkey dinner, Thanksgiving isn’t all about the food. I talked to some colleagues and friends about what Thanksgiving means to them. Several mentioned getting together with family they don’t get to see as often as they would like. One said their mother has everyone go around the table and say one thing they’re thankful for. She said they made fun of it as kids, but now she really appreciates it. Another spoke of a drunk uncle who gets loud and tells the same jokes. Another mentioned the love of trying new side dishes and will be making the butternut squash soup recipe by our ‘Wild Chow’ food columnist, Lisa Erickson. Her family is also into doing the Thanksgiving 10K runs so they can justify an extra slice of pie. My parents talk about how my oldest sister Julie would bundle up and join Art Ramberg and family for a walk around White Bear Lake each year.

One activity we have enjoyed is the Thanksgiving Meals on Wheels coordinated by Bill Foussard. I have volunteered when possible the past several years with my kids and father-in-law. It’s a few hours in the morning that leaves us humbled and inspired. Now in it’s 48th year and stationed out of Cretin Derham Hall High School in St. Paul, this program will serve more than 18,000 meals to families all over the east metro area on Thanksgiving Day. You want to be part of this. You can show up at 2 a.m. to help pack meals, or arrive at 7 a.m. and pick up a delivery route. We have always delivered meals, which is typically to a half dozen homes. The key is having two people in the car so one can drop the meal while the other stays in the car for fast and efficient delivery. Cretin Derham Hall is located at 550 South Albert St. in St. Paul.

This Thanksgiving, think of the things you are thankful for, both big and small. May your home be filled with the smell of melting butter and gravy; may you take on a new challenge, such as a family walk, fun run, or volunteer opportunity; and may you be surrounded by the people you love continuing to create fond memories.


Mid-term Election

In many ways it was a wild ride this election season. There were many change-ups at the state and national level, as well as here locally. Local elections in Grant brought in two new faces, Mahtomedi, Forest Lake and Centennial school district levies and the Ramsey County Sheriff’s race were something to watch. The Vadnais Heights City Council seats were so close that an automatic recount was necessary. Voter turnout showed a positive trend with early voting numbers. One letter to the editor writer asked that we get our Voter’s Guide out earlier. We will strive to do that. Elections are important to all of us, even if we tire of the junk mail and commercials. Get to know your local representatives, city council, and school board members so you know where they stand on the issues that affect your family and neighborhood.

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