Bill Eggert

I have much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. I survived a major stroke and I’m in the process of healing. My health is improving in various degrees, slowly but surely.

Hopefully this time next year I will be able to celebrate Thanksgiving back at home. Time will tell.

Something special about Thanksgiving meals is the simplicity when people get together with friends and family and have a great feast for the occasion.

Getting together with relatives and friends, some of whom travel great distances to attend Thanksgiving dinners, makes for a wonderful experience.

Thanksgiving dinners at the Eggert household were special occasions. They changed over the years, without relatives passing on. They were memorable occasions indeed and they were great times to get together with family and friends.

Of course, in our family we had two special family members over a period of about 24 years – our two dogs Inky and Holly, who obviously enjoyed the celebration of food. They would be sitting faithfully in rapt attention as they watched Mom prepare her masterpiece meals and appreciated the little bits of food Mom would sometimes throw down to them as they sat at strict attention.

At each meal every year, first Inky and later Holly would sit down on the floor by everybody and proceed to dutifully go around the dining room table and beg for food. They were always very polite. They didn’t bark. They just sat there and looked at you with those sad, mournful eyes hoping to get a tasty morsel.

Thanksgiving dinner this year will be different for me. I won’t be celebrating at home with the family. But they will come over to Arbutus Park Manor to help me celebrate Thanksgiving there. It won’t be the same as Thanksgivings in the past, but it’ll still be good cause family will be there.

Thanksgiving was first celebrated on our shores in 1621 by the Pilgrims. They had several native American guests.

Thanksgiving became an official federal holiday in 1863 thanks to Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War.

There are many traditions associated with Thanksgiving.

Some of the most familiar are the Thanksgiving dinner, a large feast including a turkey. John F. Kennedy was the first to “spare” a turkey for Thanksgiving, and President Ronald Reagan was the first to bestow a presidential pardon for Thanksgiving.

Other traditions include college football games and NFL football games, most of which people blissfully sleep through after getting their fill of serotonins. Another major event is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, which began in 1924. The parade is about three hours long, from 9 a.m. to noon, and ends with the arrival of Santa Claus on the sleigh. Another Thanksgiving Day tradition on television is the airing of several Christmas movies ushering in the Christmas season. And also the great John Hughes’ film “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” starring the late John Candy and Steve Martin.

Another tradition celebrated on Thanksgiving in America is visiting of relatives for the holiday feast. Meals are prepared with festive decorations and looking like something out of the Norman Rockwell painting.

There is an Irving Berlin song written for the 1942 movie “Holiday Inn” – which starred Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby and was based on a theme of an inn that celebrated all the holidays throughout the year.

For Thanksgiving, Irving Berlin wrote a song called “I’ve Got Plenty to be Thankful For.” It was sung by Bing Crosby and it was a cute little song that nevertheless had some very cogent comments on what we have to be thankful for.

I’m also thankful for friends and family who support me through this stroke ordeal. I’m also thankful for the staff at Arbutus Manor for their help during this difficult time for me.

Another thing that I am grateful for is the many readers of my column. I can’t tell you all how much it has meant to me to receive letters and postcards and greeting cards encouraging me to continue on with my support through my illness.

Since I wrote my first column after coming back, I have received more than 100 cards and well wishes from people – many of whom I’ve never met and yet sent me cards and letters to wish me well on my recovery.

I want to thank all the people again for all their kind thoughts and well wishes as I make my way back from this stroke. I will never forget the kindness of everybody and all my friends and family as well people who come to visit me as I make my way through this illness.

God bless you all. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Bill Eggert is a Johnstown resident and regular community columnist for The Tribune-Democrat.​ He can be reached at He writes an occasional column.

Recommended for you