Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving, a very special and uniquely American holiday, arrives Thursday, followed almost immediately by Black Friday, and then the rush to Christmas is on in earnest because it’s actually less than a month away.

We Americans have much for which to be thankful, and for most of us that includes a day to spend with our families, loved ones and friends as we enjoy a large meal and fellowship.

Many in town will take advantage of the Turkey Trot that begins at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 28 at the Lassen Hall of Justice as an opportunity to have some fun and burn some calories before the big feast.

Of course, the Native peoples celebrated the harvest season long before the Europeans ever arrived in North America at Plymouth Rock.

But any elementary school student can tell you the story of the first Thanksgiving held at Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts in 1621, a time when the Pilgrims and the Native Americans celebrated their bountiful harvest together for the first time.

Pilgrim Edward Winslow wrote, “Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together, after we had gathered the fruits of our labors; they four in one day killed as much fowl, as with a little help beside, served the company almost a week … ”

According to William Bradford, the governor at the time, the festival included turkeys, geese, ducks, venison, cod, bass, corn, barley and cornbread.

All 13 colonies celebrated Thanksgiving in October 1777 to commemorate the victory over the British at Saratoga.

U.S. President George Washington proclaimed a national day of Thanksgiving in 1789, and Abraham Lincoln also declared the last Thursday of November should be a national day of Thanksgiving in 1863, but Congress didn’t make it an official national holiday until 1941.

On Thanksgiving Day friends and family will travel hundreds or even thousands of miles to join in the festivities that often include turkey and stuffing (91 percent of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving), ham, corn, sweet potatoes, cranberries, rolls, pumpkin pies and a host of other family favorites.

Many families use their time together at Thanksgiving to begin preparations for the Christmas holiday that is less than a month away.

The newspaper office will close for Thanksgiving, and the employees will gather for a day with their families and friends to celebrate the holiday.

We hope you, your family, your loved ones and your friends also will gather on this day to share and give thanks as the holiday season begins in earnest.

We wish you and yours a wonderful, Happy Thanksgiving holiday full of the bounty and blessings of the season, and we thank you for reading our newspaper throughout the year.

May God bless us one and all during this festive, holiday season.

Happy Thanksgiving, Lassen County.