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Richard Stokes: Happy Thanksgiving

By Richard Stokes

Reminder: In observance of the Thanksgiving holiday, there is no school all next week in the Carson City School District.

Dear Friends:

I’m not sure what got me thinking about cranberries. After all, cranberries are not a food item you purchase and use regularly. However, during the holidays, the lowly cranberry occupies a place of honor on my Thanksgiving menu. My annual assignment for our Thanksgiving meal is to make the cranberries. You should know that my culinary skills are generally limited to the occasional grilled cheese sandwich and can of soup. Even so, please don’t confuse my Thanksgiving cranberries with the ordinary jellied variety that comes from a can. My Thanksgiving cranberries are a time-honored, Stokes family tradition from my childhood and before. I guess the point I am trying to make is that my one true culinary contribution on any Thanksgiving Day is the cranberries. 



Thinking of cranberries caused me to reminisce of the Norman Rockwell-like images that I have of Thanksgivings of yesteryear. I think my dad shared the same culinary disorder as me. It seems we both have measured usefulness in the kitchen where we are mostly relegated to peeling potatoes and doing the dishes. (Maybe our condition is genetic?). On one of those Thanksgivings from my childhood, my mom was looking for any help she could find to prepare and produce the expected holiday fare. I must have been in about the seventh grade when I was first tasked with making the cranberries. Armed with an ancient Sears and Roebuck meat grinder (washed, of course), the family’s cranberry recipe and a pan full of individual ingredients, I set to work in the basement. First came the fresh fruit that was minced and combined in the correct ratios and appropriate consistency. Next came walnuts and just enough sugar to produce a colorful and lip-smacking medley that has become a family favorite to at least four generations of our family. Over the years, only the tools have changed that now make my mom’s famous cranberry recipe. The ingredients remain the same. This wonderful but simple combination of ordinary fruits and ingredients coalesce to produce the perfect complement to our favorite holiday foods. 

Similarly, our educational tools and methods have also changed … especially in recent times. However, regardless of conditions, the skills, dedication and determination of our staff to improve the lives of our students remain unchanged. Throughout the years, I have witnessed how the attributes and qualities of caring adults at individual school sites and departments have mixed to create a unique blend of talent, competence and love that has and will forever bless the lives of our students. Thank you for being the key ingredients to successfully teach, support, correct and inspire our students. During this season of Thanksgiving, I am especially grateful for you as individuals and appreciate your commitment to our life’s work. Your students and your colleagues will remember your influence, your generosity, your patience and your acceptance all the days of their lives. Your combined examples will help to establish the benchmark for human interactions in an oftentimes-conflicted world. Thanks for all you do!  I wish you and your loved ones a safe and relaxing Thanksgiving. 



Sincerely,  

Richard Stokes 

Superintendent 

Carson City School District