The lead-up to Thanksgiving is usually a hectic time for me professionally and personally. The time away with family, the meal, the football and the (hopefully) long weekend … they’re all awesome, don’t get me wrong.
But the push to get there can be a lot: Powering through our weekly print production cycle with one fewer day because of the press holiday, finding the chance to buy ingredients at the store (and actually preparing our delectable contributions for the pot luck) and getting everything and everyone loaded up for the drive to our Turkey Day destination.
In fact, things have been so crazy at work and home that I had to switch out my column topic last-minute. Well, I’m sure my own time management/priority-balancing skills were factors too.
Originally I was planning to pontificate about the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s feasibility study on converting Bay Area freeways to all-lane tolling to alleviate congestion and achieve climate goals. Of all the disingenuous ideas to float, at this time, while ignoring the actual reasons for our traffic gridlock and pretending their effort isn’t really about … No, Jeremy, save it for that future article.
I had also hoped to write recently about the Pleasanton City Council’s conversation last month about consolidating certain city commissions and committees, which is an intriguing and ongoing debate, but I just haven’t had the opportunity.
So with time tight and turkey on the brain I pivoted to Thanksgiving.
The holiday has often been tied to work for me. Back in college, first as a dorm desk receptionist and then a resident assistant (RA), with their 24-hour staffing requirements, I agreed to take on shifts on or around Thanksgiving. I wasn’t flying home to the Bay Area for the five-day break anyway, so why not help out?
When I entered the professional journalism world, I usually wouldn’t find the news slowing down just because there’s a holiday, whether in my general assignment reporter days in Lake County or upon joining Embarcadero Media (which was 10 years ago last Saturday, by the way).
I have a distinct memory of pursuing coverage at an in-law’s house, laptop in tow for on-call purposes, of the terrible DUI crash along Stanley Boulevard on Thanksgiving Eve 2017 that killed two passengers: Village High School student Violet Campbell, 16, and Livermore resident Alexys Garcia, 25.
Breaking news, sadly, tends to find a way on holiday weekends – as I’ve written about here before.
There are also plenty of positive stories surrounding Thanksgiving for us. There’s the annual interfaith Thanksgiving service coming up on Sunday at St. Clare’s Episcopal Church in Pleasanton, presented by the Livermore-Pleasanton Interfaith Clergy Association.
The Tri-Valley Community Outreach Thanksgiving Dinner returns next Thursday from 12-4 p.m. at St. Raymond Catholic Church in Dublin, a good option for local families, seniors, military members, singles and anyone else needing the holiday meal.
Pleasanton North Rotary’s ninth annual Tri-Valley Turkey Burn is back on Thursday morning at Ken Mercer Sports Park, and Bishop Ranch is debuting its inaugural Turkey Trot in San Ramon that same day.
Read more about those Turkey Day events inside this Friday’s paper and/or on our website.
On the “sorta serious” side, it also caught my eye when the city of Pleasanton’s November e-newsletter touted kitchen safety because cooking accidents are usually the most common cause of house fires each year.
Their tip sheet starts with “stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stove top so you can keep an eye on the food”.
Other top suggestions for families included “stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently”, “keep children away from the stove”, “make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids”, “keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags”, and “make sure your smoke alarms are working; test them by pushing the test button.”
Good ideas all, but also to me things we should be watchful for every time we cook, not just the holiday season. Or at least I try to.
And with that, I’m ready for the big meal Thursday to come already, especially the turkey, gravy, apple pie and stuffing (well, actually I prefer dressing). I look forward to telling my family what I’m thankful for this year, and hearing from them too. “Happy Thanksgiving” to you all.