Here's a little nugget from the Thanksgiving archives. This Your Town column originally published on Nov. 17, 2013.

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to dress up the table with crisp ironed linens, fall-themed centerpieces and special heirloom china.

I remember years ago lovingly preparing the table with a set of china that had been passed down to me a few years earlier. I fondly remembered special meals served on the china during my childhood and teen years. Whenever the china was set out, I knew our family was in the midst of what must be an enduring tradition.

Imagine how thrilled I was when Mom offered me the china set as she and Dad were downsizing, more than 20 years ago. When Thanksgiving rolled around that year, Mom and Dad had come for the holiday and I went about setting the table with the china, just as Mom had done for many years.

The turkey was golden brown, the stuffing and gravy fit for a king and the potatoes whipped to perfection. Everything looked exquisite on my new, heirloom china.

With pumpkin pie slices served on the dessert plates and steaming coffee in the dainty cups with saucers, I approached the question, like an archeologist, digging up the past.

"So, Mom, Dad," I started with excitement, "can you tell me the history of the heirloom china? Which great-grandma lovingly owned it first? Did you eat holiday meals on them when you were a child?"

"What are you talking about?" Mom asked, sipping her coffee.

I still remember the moment I learned the story. It was like the POP! of a huge balloon, followed by latex fragments, floating down like missiles around me.

"Gas station dishes??!!" I repeated, stunned at the revelation.

"When you girls were little, the gas station had a promotion. Each time you filled your tank, you would get a new piece from the set. Over time, and after many tanks of gas, we had the full set," Mom explained.

From that day forward, the china was affectionately referred to as "The Gas Station Dishes."

And, still lovely to look at and used on special occasions, the china's sentimental value — filled with childhood memories — far exceeds its original cost.

Meals on Wheels Mesa County sent an email recently indicating that "Santa Claus has asked us to do a special favor for him."

"He wants us to spread good cheer and snow to the children (and the child at heart) in Mesa County," the email said.

For a $5 donation, Meals on Wheels Mesa County will send a personalized letter to your loved one — children, elders, students, service members, and anyone else who loves Christmas. All you need to do is fill out a short online form with some information for the personalized letter. The proceeds from the project will benefit Mesa County seniors.

"In the past three years we've sent out hundreds of letters, mostly in town, but all over the country and to servicemen across the world," the email said.

Go to mealsonwheelsmesacounty.org/letters-from-santa for information and submit a form. To ensure that recipients will receive their letters in time for Christmas, the deadline to complete the form is Dec. 18.

Western Region One Source will host a reception on Monday to honor the Grand Valley's Korean War Veterans.

The event will go from 9–11 a.m. at the center, 482 28 Road. Coffee, tea, and breakfast sweets will accompany the fellowship and fun.

The public is invited to ring in the holidays with the Grand Junction Symphony Guild's Candlelight Dinner on Thursday, Dec. 5, at the Chateau at Two Rivers Winery.

The evening begins at 5:30 p.m. with appetizers and wine, followed by a dinner featuring a beef entree. After-dinner music will be provided by Elise Anderson, harpist, and Kelly Anderson, baritone.

Tables seat eight. Purchase tickets by Nov. 29 at gjso.org, by phone at 243-6787, or at the Grand Junction Symphony Guild office, 414 Main St.

HopeWest Hospice will present its Lights of Life holiday events in communities on the Western Slope, beginning with the Montrose event on Dec. 5.

"Our Lights of Life ceremonies are celebrated in each community with beautiful lights, music and singing, a holiday message and luminaries all around," according to hopewestco.org.

HopeWest invites the public to honor or remember your loved ones with personalized heart ornaments or Luminaries of Life. A commemorative pewter heart ornament can be purchased for $25 each and personalized with your loved one's name and the year. The cost for a Luminary of Life is a $100 donation.

"Each luminary will bear your loved one's name and when lit, will create a warm glow throughout the holiday season," the website says.

Luminaries will be placed at your local office or Heirlooms in your area. If you dedicate a luminary, a personalized ornament is included at no additional cost.

Here is the schedule of upcoming Lights of Life ceremonies:

■ Montrose: 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5, at the Holiday Inn Express, 1391 S. Townsend Ave. in Montrose.

■ Plateau Valley/De Beque: 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6, at the Mesa Community Center, 48973 KE Road in Mesa.

■ Grand Junction: 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 9, at HopeWest Hospice Care Center, 3090 N. 12th St.

■ Delta: 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 12, at Taylor Funeral Service and Crematory, 682 1725 Road in Delta.

The Lights of Life events come on the heels of HopeWest's Holiday Show fundraising effort that concludes today. More than 800 guests have attended the two-day event, with proceeds going to HopeWest Kids. Funds raised will impact the children, teens and families experiencing grief in our community, a news release said.

Go to hopewestco.org for information.

Submit Your Town and community news items by email to communitynews@gjsentinel.com, by fax at 244-8578, or by mail to 734 S. Seventh St., Grand Junction, CO, 81501. Online calendar items can be uploaded at GJSentinel.com/calendar.

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