By Emily Bialkowski
Nothing screams Americana better than Thanksgiving. Born of the desire to celebrate a first successful harvest in 1621 by the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Native American Tribe, and further solidified as a federal holiday in 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln, Thanksgiving tells us to take a step back and be grateful for all that we have.
It’s also a time to remember our friends and neighbors who might not have as much or who might not have anyone to celebrate with. For that reason, Elsie’s Bar and Grill will play host to a free Thanksgiving meal on Thursday, Nov. 28, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event is coordinated by Elsie Rud and Nicky and Larry Salm and has been for the last six years.
Everybody is welcome.
“I would have to say the community is extremely happy about the whole situation,” Larry Salm said. “People really enjoy being able to come and have a meal that they don’t have to cook themselves. It’s very difficult for two- and three-person families to buy a big turkey and cook all the other items. And, of course, there are a lot of shut-ins on holidays.”
It’s not just hunger that drives people together for Thanksgiving; it’s also the fellowship.
“In this day and age, immediate family isn’t necessarily in the area,” Salm continued. That’s why everyone, no matter the sitaution, is invited to Elsie’s at 226 E. Main St., Caledonia.
The menu will include turkey, ham, gravy, mashed potatoes and all the traditional fixings.
Last year about 275 were served; plans are for 300 this year. To help offset the cost, an offering is taken up, and anyone can donate a dessert, volunteer or make a donation.
Organizers are also asking people to reserve a slot for delivery or take-out on Nov. 27, the day before Thanksgiving.
If you prefer to dine with the friendly faces at Elsie’s, then rides are available as well.
“Some elderly don’t drive anymore but they’d rather come than stay home by themselves,” Salm explained.
All things considered, residents can get whatever they’d like, and they do. Where homes are grouped, like Whispering Pines, people choose to congregate among themselves and appreciate the delivery.
“The best thing, to sum it all up, is every year we do receive thank you notes when we deliver. Last year we got one that said, ‘Thank you. Without you we would not have had a Thanksgiving meal.’ I think that goes for a lot of them,” Salm said.