“Global Thanksgiving is to remind us there’s a lot more peace in the world than there is war," said Bill Cartwright during Dunsmuir's Global Thanksgiving celebration Nov. 20, 2010. "We celebrate war a lot. If we celebrate peace, then there will be even more of it.”

Though fresh snow discouraged many from attending, Dunsmuir community members half-filled their community building Sunday, Nov. 20, 2010, to celebrate Global Thanksgiving, the observance that peace is much more prevalent in the world than war. Those who attended brought dishes to share, culminating in a potluck holiday feast. The Dunsmuir Rotary Club hosted the event, which they offered to the public free of charge.

“Peace has always been the universal quest of man,” declared long-time Dunsmuir resident Bill Cartwright from the stage during his annual Global Thanksgiving address. He said the event was the brainchild of author Victor Villaseñor, who used money from his book “Rain of Gold” to finance a gathering in Spain in 1992, the 500th anniversary of the landing of Columbus.

Cartwright said that a group of Villaseñor family and friends, including Native Americans and Ecuadorian natives, met in a Madrid park notable for being the site of a battle between the Spanish and the Moors in the 1400s. There, Villaseñor shared a vision of celebrating what peace there was in the world, which Cartwright said, is a lot.

“Yes, there are wars,” he said. “But world peace is going on all the time, at the same time. Global Thanksgiving is to draw attention to the peace.” He cited Columbus’s methods as taking riches and advantage of people, concluding, “The goal of Global Thanksgiving is to bring back to people all the good things, like prosperity and dignity.”

This day, the people of Dunsmuir brought to each other a feast and a familiarity seen often in a small town. Throughout the four-hour celebration, people greeted each other with handshakes if they had not seen each other recently, or with hugs if they had lost contact with each other for a while and were so glad for the reconnection. Here, friends feasted as family.

To keep the crowd focused on topic, the Rotary Club had decorated the walls with sheets of colored paper, each of which bore the word “Peace” in a different language. These hung everywhere, including over the tables filled with potluck desserts. Tables in front of the kitchen offered a variety of main courses, while the kitchen itself was dedicated to carving and plating turkey, turkey and more turkey.

Accompanied only by his guitar, singer-songwriter Mike Smith took the stage and entertained those assembled with mostly soft pop hits from years far away. During a break, he said that he had performed for a long time. “I discovered that there were two types of musicians: the very poor and the very rich,” he said. “I did it for a while, then went into the business world.” He said that for the next 30 years he worked as district representative and then vice president of sales for a corporate manufacturer.

He returned to music about five years ago and recently brought his family to this small community. “I came to Dunsmuir to write songs and raise my kids,” he said.
Cartwright said that on this day Villaseñor was celebrating Global Thanksgiving with more than 3,000 people on his estate in Oceanside. He revealed that the best-selling author had made his fortune through his book Rain of Gold, a derivative of which is about to air on HBO as a 10-part miniseries.

Cartwright shared a story, to explain the snow goose logo on the Global Thanksgiving t-shirt he wore. “I took Victor and his kids out to the Lower Klamath bird refuge,” he recalled. “We laid down in a wheat field, and at that moment the world was at total peace. Then 5,000 snow geese came out of the air and landed all around us!”

He said that Villaseñor had been impressed by how the geese were able to release their fear and see the area as safe to land despite the presence of humans, at least one of which was a goose hunter. “He was totally inspired!” cried Cartwright. He said his friend realized that the birds’ sense of safety connected directly to the sense of peace his family and friend were living in at that moment.

Said Cartwright, “Global Thanksgiving is to remind us there’s a lot more peace in the world than there is war. We celebrate war a lot. If we celebrate peace, then there will be even more of it.”