A cold wind will likely be blowing Thursday, but there is no reason why anyone in Baker County should not sit down to a steaming hot Thanksgiving meal among pleasant company.

This holiday is a favorite for comedians, who often employ the Thanksgiving dinner table as the ideal setting for jokes about family dysfunction. Humor aside, the point is that this is a day when families gather.

But of course not everyone will have a chance to celebrate with relatives.

We are fortunate, though, to live in a community with a goodly number of generous residents — people who, on occasions such as Thanksgiving, seek to ensure that everyone, whatever their circumstances, has a chance to share good food and companionship.

Your options on Thursday include:

• Inaugural NE Oregon Regional Thanksgiving Day Gathering & Potluck, Churchill School Dancehall, Broadway and 16th streets in Baker City, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

• Free Thanksgiving dinner at the Calvary Baptist Church, Third and Broadway streets in Baker City, 3 p.m.

• Thanksgiving dinner at the New Bridge Grange, noon. In addition to a dinner provided by the Grange featuring turkey, ham, potatoes and gravy, everyone is invited to bring a side dish and dessert, and then stay after dinner for games including pinochle, dominoes, Yahtzee, Monopoly and other games that participants bring.

For many people it’s a daunting prospect to attend an event at an unfamiliar venue, one where you probably won’t know anybody.

But those who overcome their trepidation might receive something more in exchange for their courage than just a nice meal. A friendship is a gift that continues to enrich your life long after you’ve forgotten how good the pumpkin pie tasted.

— Jayson Jacoby, Baker City Herald editor

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