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Thanksgiving greetings to all our friends and neighbors. Several faith communities and organizations provided a meal and company on the holiday for anyone who wanted to come.

The Amherst Survival Center was one group that provided dinner at the Immanuel Lutheran Church. But it is about to move into brand new quarters built with community donations and I was fortunate to have a tour (along with others) of the facility on Sunderland Road. It is light and spacious and handicapped-accessible, no more having to go down concrete stairs into a basement. That has been a challenge for tall people. There is a niche for the coffee pot and another for computers. I was struck by the openness, which will change a bit once the furniture is in. However, the main room has a cathedral ceiling with skylights. On this sunny day it was so bright inside that none of the electric lights were needed.

The Survival Center raised $1.9 million for the project. The building is a testament to the care and support of the community for those in need. Thanks to all who helped make it real.

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Sort-of-garden news: I have a cactus that is blooming with several buds ready to open. I can call it a Thanksgiving cactus and I am thankful that I have color in the house. Soon: time to plant the paper whites.

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Beth Souza and Bill Stapleton of Amherst sent a card from Algarve, Portugal. It depicts a white stone, sun-drenched home with a beautiful dark pink vine growing in the courtyard and along the wall. It was wonderful to look at on a very cold fall morning.

They visited many towns including Porto, Douro, Coimbra, which is an old university town, and Algarve, which has gem-like villages. They came back in time for Hurricane Sandy.

Please send items of interest to phyllehrer@gmail.com.

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