Lake County is feeling very thankful

Residents share what Thanksgiving means to them

LAKE COUNTY — Thanksgiving is a special time of the year set aside to count blessings and gather together to enjoy feasting on the goodness of the land.

Proclaimed a national holiday by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, in the ongoing strife of the Civil War, the holiday has held a precious place in people's hearts throughout many generations. 

People in the area shared with the Star what Thanksgiving means to them, and what they are thankful for. 

Marianne Cooke, of Baldwin, recalled special memories at Thanksgiving time. 

"When I was growing up, we'd go to two grandmothers' homes for Thanksgiving and would eat at both. I remember cutting down what I ate at one place, so I would have enough room to eat at the other. Thanksgiving was always a big family get-together, back in the day." 

Sue Ann Crawford also recalled big family gatherings. 

"Thanksgiving was always about getting together with the whole family - that's what meant the most," she said. 

Glenn Williams and his wife, friends of Crawford, have a specific tradition each Thanksgiving.

"We go around the table and say what we are thankful for, then the family patriarch says a prayer. This tradition passed on through my family," Williams said. 

For Ashley Norton, her husband John and little son, Johnny, even though this year brought some challenges, they are feeling especially thankful.

"Thanksgiving to me is spending time with family. From military deployments to Kawasaki disease, to Covid, to strokes, we have been through it all this year and I am thankful to God for His healing and His mercy and forgiveness," she said. "My son Johnny is thankful for grandma and grandpa. My husband, John, is thankful for his wife, son and all the blessings God has given us."

Scott VanSingel, state rep. for Lake County, is counting his blessings this Thanksgiving with his marriage.

"After getting married in August, this is the first Thanksgiving my wife and I are spending together, which makes it extra special," he said. "Furthermore, with her being from a country filled with poverty and violence, we are especially thankful for God's blessings on us and our country."

Others named some of what they are thankful for. 

"I am thankful for family, friends and everything I have," said Kay Katona, of Baldwin. 

Daina Venema, Peacock Township clerk, is thankful for good health and family, 

Thanksgiving has a rich tradition of feasting on great food and many goodies. 

With a great big smile, Emily Allison, of Baldwin, said her favorite thing about Thanksgiving is, "Eating." 

One of Chris Walker's Thanksgiving traditions is pecan pie. 

"You have to have pecan pie," Walker said. "I make it homemade." 

For Walker, it was about combining good food with a good cause. She told how for a few years her boss would let her have a day off so she could make pecan and pumpkin pie orders at Thanksgiving time. Proceeds from her pie sales went to Toys for Tots. Some holidays she would make over 100 pies, all by herself. 

From family gatherings, to great friends, to faith and freedoms, to memories, traditions and feasts, people in this area are feeling gratitude in this season of thankfulness.