Hayden residents load up their plates during the fourth annual Hayden Thanksgiving Dinner on Thursday at the American Legion Hall.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Hayden residents load up their plates during the fourth annual Hayden Thanksgiving Dinner on Thursday at the American Legion Hall.

Hayden Thanksgiving dinner draws crowd

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— Anne Daugherty insisted it had nothing to do with the food and everything to do with the food.

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Kathy Hockin checks on the gravy before Thursday's Hayden Thanksgiving Dinner.

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Mayor Jim Haskins says a prayer before Thursday's Hayden Thanksgiving Dinner.

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Hayden residents fill the American Legion Hall during the Hayden Thanksgiving Dinner.

As she tried to explain why she and a couple other Hayden ladies started the Hayden Thanksgiving Dinner at the American Legion Hall, Daugherty said it was the food that brought people together, but it’s what happens when that food is in front of people that matters.

“There is food and lots of it,” Daugherty said. “But it’s sharing with people and this community. It’s a special place.”

The event started three years ago with Kathy Hockin and Debby Shaw tossing the idea around about having a community Thanksgiving dinner.

When Daugherty heard the idea, she jumped right in.

In addition to Hockin, Shaw and Daugherty, Dana Haskins and Nikki Halone helped put on this year’s event.

As much as the event was a reflection of Thanksgiving ideals, it probably was a better barometer of the town of Hayden.

It didn’t feel like a special event. The meal was different, but the gathering seemed like it could have taken place on any day of the week.

About 30 people came, each group bringing along a side dish. After Jim Haskins said the blessing, people ate and conversed like any other day.

The thing, though, was some of the people didn’t know one another.

It’s the exact idea the ladies had in mind.

“We did it for people that didn’t have anywhere to go or just wanted to be with other people,” Hockin said. “It’s for people that’s kids may be gone or who just want to come be part of the community.”

Most of the turkeys were either donated or bought by the ladies. One of them — no one was quite sure who — paid money to rent Legion Hall and the rest of the community brought sides in potluck fashion.

“It’s not sponsored by anyone,” Hockin said. “It’s just a bunch of little old ladies.”

The idea behind the event wasn’t in the food. Daugherty was right — it was and wasn’t about the food.

The dishes were delicious, homemade creations that all went quick. But the conversation was better, the colorful people of Hayden reminding what Thanksgiving is really about.

“We’re a small town and we have a good community here,” Daugherty said. “We want people to get to know each other. It’s a wonderful thing to do. It’s not work because of the people and it feels good to do.”

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229, email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @LukeGraham

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