The small handmade chairs were at the tables as part of the table settings. Carefully etched into the little chairs was a saying, “There is always room at the table.” It was a very fitting saying, particularly at this time of year. 

The occasion was the annual fundraising banquet on Oct. 27 at the Riverside Golf Club for Riverside Brookfield Young Life, a worthwhile Christian youth organization for local students of junior high and high school age. 

We took our little chair table decoration home and have put it where we can see it, to be reminded that there is always room — not just at the table but in most of the things we do. We can always include someone else.

That thought carried over for me as we attended the Veterans Day program at Riverside-Brookfield High School on Nov. 10, one of the finest programs in the area. All vets in attendance were glad to be included and honored by the students. 

The key word is included. The students learned what it means to be included in honoring the vets, as many of the veterans struggled to rise from their chairs or wheelchairs to salute the flag, many still carrying injuries from their time in service or the pain that comes with age.

Following the high school program Husband Joe and I went to Brook Park School in LaGrange Park, where the younger students held a program honoring veterans who were friends or relatives. Granddaughter McKenna was glad to have Poppy (Husband Joe) attend, wearing his Air Force hat. Both venues were filled to capacity.

Now we are getting ready for Thanksgiving, the beginning of the holiday season. Time to bring out the family favorite recipes, Poppy’s stuffing and turkey, Tina’s sweet potatoes using Nanny’s recipe and her casserole dish, Mike and Pam will bring the green beans. And me, I’m not sure just yet, but whatever it is there will be room at the table. 

We, as most families do, will enjoy the meal and the company and wonder why we don’t make some of these dishes on other days and not just Thanksgiving. Tradition, I guess. 

I wish to tell you that I am thankful for all of you and your kind wishes. I wish you and yours a happy Thanksgiving and want to remind you to remember others and there is always room for one more, wherever you are.