Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Virginia late autumn woods … the road home to the Shenandoah Valley


We took the back road home to Staunton from Richmond after the long Thanksgiving weekend, enjoying the late autumn leaves and winter woods along Rt. 250. A late-morning start had us ahead of expected heavy traffic as students returned to western Virginia universities and travelers began their journey home.




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Extra Thankful This Year


The day is over, food has been consumed, we’ve enjoyed time with family, and now we have settled in with a Christmas movie. But as I reflect on the day, this year I am extra grateful.

Five years ago we had a serious health threat with my mom. Throughout it all, my step-dad was the energizer bunny as we dealt with hospitalization, fall backs, and all that goes with caring for someone with chronic health issues.

This year our energizer bunny had a health scare of his own. His little energizer heart was not doing so well and the cardiologists said he needed stents, and a new heart valve. Those can be serious issues for older patients but the prognosis was dire if he did nothing. September and October were spent at hospitals as my sister, and my husband and I, split our time between health facilities and at my parents’ home helping out during that uncertain time.

Today as we gathered around the dining room table for our Thanksgiving meal, we were grateful to have both parents with us, and grateful that my step-dad had not only made it safely through the surgeries and procedures but is again thriving with a new pep to his step. He is quickly regaining his strength and stamina, and is almost back to normal.

As families gather for holidays and other events, we never know who may not be with us the next time we are together. This year prayers of gratitude went up that our energizer bunny had his usual place at the head of the table and performed his usual task of praying over the meal, and us. For as long as we are blessed with the presence of our parents, we will be grateful. They are among our Thanksgiving blessings.

Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell
November 24, 2016


Happy Thanksgiving from LynnRMitchell.com


“Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”
— Charles Dickens

LynnRMitchell.com extends Thanksgiving greetings with gratitude to our readers for continuing to make us a statewide voice in the Virginia conservative online news and opinion websites. We wish you a joyful day with family and friends as America pauses to give thanks for the blessings we all enjoy. Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.


Autumn 2016 … Winter Woods Return, Thankgiving Blessings

Autumn was late arriving this year and warm temps hung on into November. Leaf color was about two weeks later than usual and, like past years, when it began, it went fast. This past weekend a cold front passed through the Shenandoah Valley complete with below freezing temps and extremely blustery winds. Any leaves clinging to trees were no match and flew away, leaving behind bare branches as the winter woods returned. It was a good time to walk the yard and woods to see the transformation from fall into winter.

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One Week From Today … Thanksgiving!


Don’t look now but — shhh — one week from today is Thanksgiving. Isn’t it amazing how fast time flies between Halloween and Thanksgiving? Even more is how quickly the four weeks fly between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

We’re in the time of year that is the fastest and busiest at our house. Menu planning, decorating, gift buying, leaf raking, parties, events — it’s finally here.

Of course, we love it. My sister and I plan Thanksgiving, putting our ideas together as we make up the menu, and then implement it all with family and friends.

And then we all know what comes next. Black Friday! Sales, deals, people — Christmas shopping! It’s a tradition. We don’t trudge out super early but enjoy mingling in the mix of people with holiday music playing and the ching-ching of cash registers.

It is truly the most wonderful time of the year. One week to go … better get busy!


Thanksgiving store openings have dampened my Black Friday enthusiasm

ShoppingBy Lynn R. Mitchell

I may be completely alone in feeling this way but after several years of seeing retail stores open on Thanksgiving to get a jump-start on Black Friday sales, I have to say it has put a damper on the typical beginning-of-the-Christmas-season shopping experience. This year is no exception.

This morning my sister and I watched our husbands head out at 5am for their annual manly shopping experience that consists of Home Depot and Lowe’s before taking a break at a local eatery for breakfast, but she and I slept in late with plans to meet later just for the ambiance of the holiday shopping season. We are two people who used to be out at 4:00 or 5:00 am and happily — even joyfully — stood in line to be among the first in Target or Kohl’s or Macy’s. But that ended when stores began opening on Thanksgiving.

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LynnRMitchell.com gives thanks

Thanksgiving 8By Lynn R. Mitchell

The heart of this blog is those who give freely of their time and talent to make us who we are. On this Thanksgiving Day 2015 I’m grateful to our managing editor and contributor Kurt Michael, and to contributor Daniel Cortez, and to all our guest posters who have added opinions, entertainment, and friendship. We don’t all always agree on issues but we try to contribute to the conversation without being disagreeable.

When Kurt and I began this blog about 18 months ago, it came at a time when I was looking to stretch beyond my SWAC Girl blog that had been up and going since 2006. We were  looking for rational discussion about the very serious issues that face our nation, but not to totally dwell on politics. Our photos of back roads, stand-up paddle boarding, weather, and the world around us as well as light-hearted posts about holidays, family, and anything else that comes to mind keep us from bogging down too much. We bounce writing ideas around, sometimes pitching some out the window while embracing others. There are many talented writers out there who don’t have the time to manage a personal blog but who are often willing to write columns to share. Their insight into issues is invaluable and their opinions are always appreciated.

So on this Thanksgiving I’d like to give thanks to all of them. Our list of contributors and guest posters is here. It is a varied list from all walks in life. Thanks, Kurt and Daniel … you help make this a fun adventure. Happy Thanksgiving!

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‘Twas the day before Thanksgiving … Virginia family traditions


By Lynn R. Mitchell

‘Twas the day before Thanksgiving and all through the house
Lots of goodies were cooking (but not the mouse). 
The pies were all set on the counter to cool
While Ma in her apron was a holiday-cooking fool.

That’s my sad attempt at putting a poetic spin on the holiday as I swirl around the house on Thanksgiving Eve.

Like many, I’m in the kitchen today prepping for tomorrow’s big meal with family. My sister Lori and I traditionally take on the cooking and baking, something we both enjoy, as we incorporate old favorites along with the occasional new dish.

We broke tradition three years ago when we roasted a chicken, a new idea that carried over last year and will continue this year. Lori’s cooking the bird along with a spiral ham, and she and her husband Jon are adding their own side dishes including sweet potato casserole. As for me, I make passed-down family favorites from aunts who are no longer with us: macaroni and cheese, and chocolate pies. This year I’ve added a very veggie garden salad and dressing, fresh steamed kale, mashed potatoes, and crustless pecan tart ramekins.

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Thanksgiving “Fun With Taters” from Hoops & Yoyo

By Lynn R. Mitchell

Reprinted from 2008 … for my brother-in-law Jon.

So it’s Thanksgiving morning and we’ve got the turkey in the oven cooking, and my Mom, sister, and I have planned the side dishes, bread, dessert … and then my brother-in-law asks, “Are we having mashed potatoes?”

Some years we have mashed potatoes but most years we have macaroni and cheese, which is what was planned this year. I laughed and asked him did he want mashed potatoes? He just laughed.

Then I slipped out of the kitchen to the office to check my email … and there was an e-card sent by him, his wife who is my sister, and their daughter — SWAC Niece. I opened it … and burst out laughing. Mashed potatoes, indeed!

Check it out here if you want a good Turkey Day laugh. Be sure to click on the butter sticks for more funny commentary from Hoops and Yoyo.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

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Staunton’s Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot raises funds for traumatized children

TurkeyBy Lynn R. Mitchell

It’s the fourth annual Turkey Trot at Ironwood on Thanksgiving Day.

Residents of Staunton and surrounding areas will do a good thing that morning. Well, yes, they will run to earn the extra calories at the dinner table later in the day, but they will also be donating to benefit the Valley Children’s Advocacy Center, a nonprofit to help children traumatized by physical abuse. The event is expected to pull in several hundred people. Join the fun and help kids all at the same time.

What: 4th Annual Club at Ironwood Turkey Trot 5K Run/Walk
Date: Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 2015
Time: 9:00 a.m.
Place: Club at Ironwood, 62 Country Club Circle, Staunton
Cost: $25/ages 14 and under; $25/ages 15 and up.

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It’s Black Friday … are you shopping for bargains?

ShoppingBy Lynn R. Mitchell

A long-time tradition has fallen by the wayside for my sister and me. For years we enjoyed the morning bustle of joining the crowds on the Friday after Thanksgiving, looking for shopping deals while cheerful Christmas songs played in the background and shoppers crowded aisles to reach blockbuster items planted to entice us to part with our money.

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Broken water pipe closes Staunton restaurants on Thanksgiving

Rowe's RestaurantBy Lynn R. Mitchell

Thanksgiving Day business was not to be for some very popular Staunton restaurants after a water pipe broke Thanksgiving morning (see Pipeline break nixes holiday business).

Rowe’s, Cracker Barrel, Texas Steakhouse, and Hometown Grill (formerly Shoney’s) had all planned to be open to serve Thanksgiving meals but were forced to turn away patrons because of the water issue. By late Thursday afternoon the source of the break had not been found.


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The final Thanksgiving menu

aa71a-thanksgiving3By Lynn R. Mitchell

We all collaborated and when it was finished and everyone had contributed their dishes, we ended up with a bountiful feast for Thanksgiving dinner: Roast chicken, spiral ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potato casserole, macaroni and cheese, very veggie garden salad with dressing, fresh steamed kale with red wine vinegar, cranberry sauce, stuffing, yeast rolls, chocolate pie, and pecan tarts. (See also ‘Twas the day before Thanksgiving … Virginia family traditions.)

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Small Business Saturday is November 29

by Lynn R. Mitchell

The National Small Business Association is urging small-business owners and their customers to participate in the annual Small Business Saturday on Nov. 29, 2014. Building on “Black Friday,” where most retailers do a significant amount of business, Small Business Saturday is a campaign to urge consumers to dedicate a portion of holiday shopping to local, independently-owned small businesses

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