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Thanks for giving!

The "Hilltop Homes Elves" joined Santa and country star Jimmy Wayne (top row, center) at the M&M Auto Group in Liberty to kick off the Thunder 102 Toys for Tots holiday drive.

November 21, 2012

“Charity begins at home,” Thomas Fuller wrote, “but should not end there.” With Thanksgiving upon us, it’s time once again to take stock and give thanks, which is easy (for me, anyhow) to lose sight of in the workaday world of bills, stress and everyday worries that sometimes seem insurmountable. As school children, we are taught that the first Thanksgiving began with the Pilgrims stepping off Plymouth Rock, but a bit of research ( informs us that this is a “hotly debated” topic and goes on to say, “It is believed that the first ‘Day of Thanksgiving’ actually occurred before the arrival of the Pilgrims. This festival was completely religious in nature and did not involve any feasting.” (OMG!) And it did not involve Plymouth Rock. “On 4 December, 1619, a group of settlers from England arrived at Berkeley Plantation on the James River, now known as Charles City, Virginia. This group dedicated this day of their arrival as a Day of Thanksgiving to God.” Hmmm.

It would seem that my own family traditions, including homemade chopped liver and chocolate cream pie, are a bit of a stretch (if Wiki’s answer is to be believed), but thanks, nonetheless, are in order. To that end, I look to the community-at-large for ways that I can give back, and from my vantage point, the food-fest propels. Just before diving into the charity pool, I received an invitation to take part in the first Sullivan County “Tweet-up” held last week in Bethel, NY ( ), and (having no clue what a “tweet-up” is) my interest was piqued. Co-sponsored by Green Door Magazine’s Akira Ohiso ( and Large Media’s David Binkowski (, the event was designed primarily to bring people together.

“When it started out, a tweet-up was simply a small group using the new [Twitter] technology,” Binkowski explained, “and presently, we are launching a local chapter here in the Catskills to give residents and weekend visitors an opportunity to participate. For city dwellers, who call the Upper Delaware Valley their ‘second home,’ we want them to understand that this region is on the cutting edge of technology as well, and that their attachment to social networking reaches beyond the city limits.”