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iBerkshires.com Columnist Section

Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

Countdown To Thanksgiving

By Susan Bush
12:00AM / Tuesday, November 14, 2006

from left, Doris McDonald and her daughter Christine Lapedota
Welcome to iberkshires.com Countdown To Thanksgiving, a daily feature launched Nov. 13. Each day until and including Thanksgiving Day [Nov. 23], iberkshires will highlight a Berkshire/Southern Vermont region individual and a specific review of the things that generate thanks. At the end of each interview will be a "family-style" Thanksgiving dinner recipe. Here's to the holiday that is very much America's own!

North Adams - Asking about feelings of thanks when a damp, thickly overcast November day has bent to evening's edge could be a tricky venture. But Christine Lapedota of Bryant Street found many inclusions to her own circle of thanks.

"We're all pretty happy," Lapedota said, speaking of her husband John, 11-year-old son Anthony and six-year-old son Jeff. "John's business [John Lapedota Woodworking] is doing great. I guess I'm really thankful to be with my family and everyone is healthy."

The Best Ever

Lapedota is the Women's Exchange consignment shop manager. The Cole Avenue, Williamstown store is part of the Northern Berkshire Healthcare organization and is staffed almost entirely by volunteers.

"The best volunteers ever are at the Exchange and and the [North Adams Regional Hospital] gift shop," Lapedota said. "I am so thankful for these wonderful volunteers. They work so hard and I am especially thankful that they do so much during our busy season, which is now. I mean, they are fantastic."

A Source Of "Thanks," An Example Of "Giving"

Among the volunteer contingent is Lapedota's mother, city resident Doris McDonald. McDonald is a source of "thanks" and an example of "giving," Lapedota said.

"I'm thankful to have my mom," she said. "In fact, we just had lunch today. I'm really thankful for all that she does."

McDonald provides childcare services to her grandchildren and is among the volunteers who handle duties at the Exchange and the gift shop, Lapedota said.

"She does so much and I am so appreciative," she said.

Family and health filled a portion of McDonald's circle of thanks. The opportunities provided by the Exchange - community service, volunteer work, friendship -completed the circle, she said.

"The Exchange is wonderful and all the ladies love to come to work," she said, and described the recent return of a volunteer whose service was interrupted by a serious illness. The woman is feeling well enough to resume her volunteer endeavor and shared her gratitude with McDonald, McDonald said.

"She looked around and said 'it feels so good to be back. I missed it so much,'" said McDonald. "We all look forward to doing this work. I'm thankful to know all these wonderful ladies who work so hard. I think it keeps a lot of us going, I really do."

Chunky Apple-Cranberry Side Dish

1 16 oz. can whole berry cranberry sauce
6 apples, peeled, cored and chopped
3/4 cup water
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup white granulated sugar

In a 2-quart saucepan, combine apples, water, cinnamon, and cloves over medium heat. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Stir in sugar and simmer for an additional 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and add whole berry cranberry sauce. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

This may be prepared 24 hours in advance and refrigerated until ready to serve. This recipe doubles very easily, as it appears here, the recipe serves six.

EASY CHEAT: Mix whole berry cranberry sauce with two cups prepared chunky-style cinnamon applesauce. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

VARIATIONS: Substitute brown sugar for white, add a bit of orange zest, serve warm from the microwave.

Susan Bush may be reached via e-mail at suebush@iberkshires.com or 802-823-9367.
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