Well, Thanksgiving is around the corner. You can tell because every store that advertises started having their “ Black Friday” sales two weeks ago. I guess that’s a good thing. Keeps people from feeling like they have to leave their warm, cozy houses right after Thanksgiving dinner to go camp out overnight to save a few bucks on a television. You can just go online and start saving the day after Halloween on things you will be giving away in December.

With that in mind, I want to let everyone know that my favorite place to do my holiday shopping seems to be opening a little early this year as well. It’s the annual Foothills Art Center Holiday Art Market. It’s opening this Friday, Nov. 19 and running through Dec. 29.

This is my personal seasonal tradition and I always do my shopping there first. It features unique works from over 100 artists and includes things like jewelry, hand woven clothing items, paintings, photographs, pottery, glass, sculptures, Christmas ornaments and limited edition cards that you won’t fine elsewhere.

Admission is free, it’s open daily and it’s one place that you can find something that isn’t available on Amazon. The Foothills Art Center is located at 809 15th Street, here in Golden. For more information go to www.foothillsartcenter.org or give them a call at (303) 279-3922.

Last year Thanksgiving was pretty strange. You weren’t supposed to have contact with people, restaurants were either closed or under heavy restrictions so all of our celebrations were on a much smaller scale than usual. Except at my house. If we have one person over for Thanksgiving, that’s considered a huge family event. Most of our relatives live near some kind of ocean in either direction from here. But, our doggies Max and Ivan will be there and they don’t seem to be too critical about how the turkey turns out.

Speaking of turkeys, there is some kind of buzz about them being in short supply or more expensive this year. To be honest, I haven’t even started looking at those in the store yet, but I suppose I should pretty soon. I still have memories of my Mother trying to thaw one out at the last minute with limited success back when I was a kid. We didn’t have Google with 3,000 solutions to every problem at your finger tips. In fact, I don’t think we even had microwave ovens yet. We just had a sink full of water. Good times.

One year, when I was going to school in California, I decided it would be a good idea to cook a Thanksgiving dinner for my roommates and friends with their help. I forgot that all the people I invited to participate were basically rock and roll musicians from Europe and Australia. Anybody know how to stuff a turkey? Stuff it …with bread crumbs or something … I don’t know, I’m asking you. Yeah, I racked up quite a long distance phone bill calling my Mom back here in Golden every half-hour. The lesson learned? Sometimes it’s better to let the professionals do the cooking, or at least it’s a lot easier.

That being said, you can also let the professionals do the cooking. Both the Bridgewater Grill in the Golden Hotel and Grill and Cantina are offering special Thanksgiving dinners again this year but you may want to make a reservation sooner than later. You can do that by going to www.bridgewatergrill.com/thanksgiving and www.tmgrillandcantina.com/menus/thanksgiving respectively. They have pretty elaborate menus planned so take a good look at what they have to offer. You won’t be wanting for much else, that’s for sure.

But, if you are looking for a less formal place to dine that feels more like a family gathering than going to a restaurant, check out Dirty Dogs Roadhouse. If you don’t have any where else to go or you just want to get away from the relatives. They will provide the turkey, you all bring the sides. Let them know what side you are bringing so that everyone will know what is already going to be prepared. Just go to their Facebook Event Page at www.facebook.com/events/261023659159401/ to RSVP and follow their directions.

Thanks to owners Rob and Mark for offering this to the community. These are guys with huge hearts.

John Akal is a well-known jazz artist/drummer and leader of the 20-piece Ultraphonic Jazz Orchestra. He also is president of John Akal Imaging, professional commercial photography and multi-media production. He can be reached at jaimaging@aol.com.