I have to say, I truly love a good, homemade Thanksgiving meal.

I will take it a step further and say I am particularly fond of my own cooking and look forward to the Thanksgiving holiday every year.

Last year, I was fortunate to have been able to spend the holiday in Mexico.

Unfortunately, the Mexican chefs at our resort were not well versed in how a traditional Thanksgiving meal should be prepared.

While I enjoyed the turkey for the most part, there was no gravy and the mashed potatoes were lacking.

I am not really sure what the heck they put in their stuffing and I thought that the cranberry sauce tasted rather strange and resembled soup.

Nonetheless, I was with 17 other friends and family members in a beautiful tropical resort.

We convinced the Mariachi band to play Feliz Navidad for us at our table which made for a fun and memorable evening.

The only way it could have been better is if my other two daughters had been there to share the experience.

I remember looking around the room at one point and feeling so completely thankful to be in such a beautiful place, surrounded by most of the people who are important to me.

Last weekend, I really started to get excited about the upcoming feast and family gathering around my kitchen table.

Unable to wait until next week to chow down on some turkey dinner, my family and I attended the free community dinner sponsored by Feed the People which was held at St. John's in Lansford.

The meal was enjoyable and I was thankful to those who prepared and served it and to those who donated the funds necessary to provide the meal to the community and who support it each month.

I am thankful also to Rita Trucios, who along with other volunteers, started the program nearly two years ago.

No doubt there numerous individuals in the Panther Valley area who are also thankful that they were able to get a free hot meal when they needed to, or when they simply wanted to dine and enjoy fellowship with others, rather than spending that time home alone.

Since this is the season where we reflect on all of the things for which we are thankful, I thought I would take this opportunity to thank some of the people in our communities who serve me in one way or another.

Thank you to the men who collect my garbage week after week. You have a nasty and thankless job. I certainly do not have the stomach to do what you do, especially in the pouring rain, freezing cold or oppressive heat.

Thank you to anyone who has responsibility of maintaining public restrooms. Seriously, thank you.

Thank you to my mailman who always delivers the mail with a smile.

Thank you to the police and firemen who put themselves in harm's way to protect or save the lives of others.

Thank you to the ambulance workers who undoubtedly see some pretty horrific scenes and provide immediate medical attention that can often mean the difference between life and death.

Thank you to the men and women who serve on the borough council and school board. I do not always agree with how things are run, but I am grateful that you sacrifice your time to do what I am certain is no easy task.

Thank you to the recreational athletic coaches who volunteer their time to not only to teach our children the skills necessary to play the game, but who also teach them teamwork, sportsmanship, character and fair play.

Thank you to the teachers who educate our children and especially the ones who go out of their way to reach them.

A huge thank you to our military servicemen and women for whom I have the utmost respect, especially the ones who serve overseas who will be unable to spend the holidays with their loved ones this year. May God bless and protect you and bring you home safely.

And finally, thank you to anyone who volunteers their time to help others.

Whether it is manning a food bank, cleaning a church, chaperoning a school activity or spending time with the elderly and infirm: Whatever it is you do, thank you for always picking up the slack where it is most needed. The world needs more of you.

As I close out this week's column, I ask that you would take a moment and call to mind those individuals who fill the various needs you have in your life and for whom you are thankful; and then go and tell them so.

A very happy and blessed Thanksgiving to you all.