by Alice E. Gerard
Approximately 75 persons shared a Thanksgiving dinner at Island Presbyterian Church, each with a different reason to be thankful.
Bill Wilson, member of Island Presbyterian Church, 1822 Huth Road, said about 100 pounds of turkey was cooked and 30 pounds of potatoes were peeled and mashed in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving.
On Wednesday evening, a group of people got together to peel potatoes and to do last-minute preparations for the dinner. One of them was Eloise Booker, who said she decorates a Thanksgiving table with squashes and pumpkins, corn and other earth things. She said she also enjoys coming to the church on the night before the dinner.
Booker said she had a great deal to be thankful for this year. "I am thankful for the opportunity to have good friends who stand by you in your time of need and who don't wait until there is a tragedy to let you know how they feel," Booker said.
Wilson said he was a "very lucky person. I am thankful for my family and my health."
Some people came to the Thanksgiving dinner alone, while others brought their families.
Wilson was surrounded by family at the Thanksgiving dinner: his wife Barbara, his daughter Becky Mason, his son-in-law Adam, and his granddaughters Molly, Laura, Julia and Audrey. Becky and Adam Mason live in Schenectady, which is near Albany. Becky Mason said that she was thankful for "my family and my health." Adam was thankful for "my family and for volleyball." Molly was thankful for "softball." She said that she enjoys playing either shortstop or center field. Laura was thankful for volleyball, Julia was thankful for stuffed animals, and Audrey was thankful for "Mom and Dad." Adam Mason's parents also came to Island Presbyterian's Thanksgiving dinner. Ginger Mason said that she was thankful for family. Don Mason said, "I am thankful for people who are willing to do something like this dinner for the love of other people."
Candy Bouley, her husband Al Bouley, daughter Tina Winker, and grandson Zachary Winker drove from Niagara Falls to attend the dinner. Tina Winker said, "I am thankful for family, animals, and my son." Candy Bouley said, "I am thankful that I can sing with many choral groups despite my health conditions." Al Bouley said, "I am thankful for my health and my family." Zachary Winker said, "I am thankful for video games and for my new dog, Olivia, a terrier mix." Candy Bouley explained that Olivia is 2 years old and that she had been rescued from an abusive situation. "She (Olivia) loves my other dog, Fluffy (age 4)."
Mike Owen came to the Thanksgiving dinner with his friends Georgina and Gunnar Munk. Gunnar Munk said, "I am thankful for life itself." Georgina Munk said, "I am thankful for my health." Mike Owen said, "After serving my life in the military, it is good to be home safe. I am enjoying this. It's a wonderful community church dinner. Let's keep in our hearts, minds, and prayers all of the men and women serving around the world in the armed forces, that they are enjoying a Thanksgiving dinner and that they'll all be coming home to a family Thanksgiving dinner."