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It’s Thanksgiving week and people are getting ready for holiday gatherings – shopping, baking, cooking or packing up and traveling. All that means it should be a quiet week for your favorite local news outlet, as the rest of the community busies itself with holiday-related activities. There aren’t many meetings to cover this week and there won’t be any breaking news to cover — isn’t that right, dear news gods?

Since news pretty much consumes my life, I look forward to a quiet news week, when I get to do things like cover Thanksgiving feasts at local elementary schools and turkey giveaways, and write some feel-good feature stories. This is, for sure, one of the things I’m thankful for at this time of year.

Sure, I’ll be prepping Thanksgiving dinner with police-scanner chatter in the background, but I’ll have music playing on the Echo as I put the turkey in the oven, cook the butternut squash soup, stuff some mushrooms and get a head start on the Beaujolais Nouveau.

Thanksgiving has changed a lot for me over the years. It was once a huge family affair, with extended family from around the region gathering at my aunt’s house in Rocky Point for an unrelenting marathon of eating.

The Italian version of Thanksgiving started with antipasto and moved on to lasagna (complete with meatballs, sausage and Italian bread “imported” from Brooklyn) before getting to the traditional American meal. It was an hours-long event, a feast served at three tables — whose diners were roughly segregated by generation.

It was also very, very loud. Because, hey, that’s how we roll.

Thanksgiving at our house is a lot tamer. There will only be 10 people around our table and we’ll skip the antipasto, lasagna and meatballs, thank you very much. The menu may be different, but we will still over-indulge.

After dinner and dessert, we’ll all play a game — like “Heads Up” or “Cards Against Humanity.” We will laugh a lot. We won’t talk politics. And, consequently, things won’t be nearly as loud as they were on Westchester Drive in Rocky Point — or before that, at Nana’s house in Brooklyn, where an equal number of people were somehow stuffed into my grandparents’ modest apartment — all of them talking at once.

I wouldn’t trade my life for anything — police scanner soundtrack and all. I’m grateful we’re able to keep a roof over our heads and put food on our table while doing work we love and providing what we hope is a valuable community service.

But I would give (almost) anything to go back in time to those Thanksgiving dinners with people who left us long ago — people whom I miss more than I can find words to express. Another thing to be thankful for: the video recordings we made during at least some of those dinners, that allow me, even if only superficially, to travel back in time.

As columnist Eileen Benthal wrote this week, gratitude is an attitude. We all have the power to choose to be grateful for the life we live and the loved ones we share it with, rather than focusing on the unpleasant things, people and circumstances we endure.

Thank you to the public servants who work on holidays and through holiday weekends to keep us safe and healthy: our police, firefighters, EMS and the doctors, nurses and staff members keep our hospital there for us 24/7/365.

Thank you for reading RiverheadLOCAL. We are grateful for your support and ask you to support the local businesses that make this website possible: our advertisers. Without them and without our members, RiverheadLOCAL would not exist. Please shop local, eat local and read local. This place matters.

On behalf of “Team Local” — Peter Blasl, Katie Blasl, Courtney Blasl, Laurie Nigro, Amy Davidson, Jill Lewis, Julia-Anna Searson, Maria Piedrabuena, Laura Huber and columnists Greg Blass, Eileen Benthal and Celia Marszal-Iannelli — I wish you and yours safe travels and a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Public meetings this week:

The Suffolk County Legislature will meet in Riverhead on Tuesday. The meeting, in the Maxine Postal Auditorium at the county center, starts at 9:30 a.m.

Coming up this week:

There will be a Climate Smart Communities presentation at Riverhead Town Hall on Monday at 6 p.m. Riverhead Town pledged to become a climate smart community this summer. See story. A representative of the state program will discuss next steps.

Peconic Bay Medical Center will host a blood drive at its Entenmann Campus, 4 West Second Street, Riverhead on Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Thanksgiving dinner will be served at Church of the Harvest, 572 Raynor Avenue, Riverhead, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday. Meal delivery is also available, as well as transportation to the church. Call 631-727-1977.

Riverhead Farmers Market opens for its seventh season on Saturday, Nov. 30, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., featuring 42 vendors, live music and local produce, fish, poultry, dairy, meats and baked goods — and more.

In case you missed it

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Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.