Lurline Moore sure hopes she doesn't offend anyone by saying it, but she thinks a Thanksgiving table with just four people around it is "just plain silly."
At the Thanksgiving dinners of Lurline's childhood there were never fewer than 30 people in attendance, which is a lot considering the size of her hometown, Whitethorn, in Humboldt County. "Population 250, being generous," Lurline says.
At the table were relatives, friends, even sometimes strangers. It didn't matter. All were welcome.
Such an "open" table philosophy was just one aspect of small-town life that Lurline took with her when she moved to Livermore in 1970's. "I was just raised that way," Lurline says.
Perhaps it was why, when a friend of her husband, Randy, came up with the idea thirty-one years ago of putting on a Thanksgiving dinner for those unable to provide one for themselves or their families, she was open to it.
"Randy said he was in," Lurline recalls with a laugh, "and he called me and I said I was in."
That first year, the Livermore Community Thanksgiving Dinner hosted 250 seniors, veterans, and anyone else looking for a good, hot, free Thanksgiving meal. "It was the most heartwarming thing I had ever seen," Lurline says.
At the end of the night, Lurline and Randy asked themselves if they wanted to do it again the following year. They said yes. Just as they have been saying yes for the past thirty years.
This year the Moore's are expecting close to 1,500 people for dinner.
Lurline is quick to point out that they never would have made it this far without a key group of long-time volunteers who help with the monumental tasks of organizing the day, as well as gathering and cooking the thousands of pounds of donated food.
Lurline says that Livermore in the 1970's seemed like such a big city to her. It intimidated her for a while. Then, Lurline says, she got to know the people who lived there, and realized that big towns and small towns aren't all that different, and that's a good thing.
"No matter how big a town gets or how small you feel," Lurline says, "there's someone out there who will help you and take care of you and love you."