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Weigh In - If you could invite anyone living or dead to...
11/01/2011 - By Paul Williams

Weigh In - If you could invite anyone living or dead to...

“If you could invite anyone living or dead to Thanksgiving dinner, who would it be?”

According to a survey taken by USA today, it’s estimated that 89 percent of Americans  sat down for a Thanksgiving dinner last year—roughly 270 million of us! That means that  whether you like your turkey roasted, deep-fried or made out of tofu, odds are pretty  strong that you will share a fabulous feast with your family this year, too.

While the origins of this national holiday are murky, and many historians have argued  over what year Thanksgiving was initially celebrated in the United States, I’m sure  everyone would agree that we closely associate the word “family” with it. How can one  not recall a Thanksgiving meal that didn’t include their mother’s creamy mashed  potatoes, the smell of grandma’s pumpkin pie wafting through the air, or their uncle’s silly jokes? For that reason it should come as no surprise that many shoppers in the various  malls in Monmouth County (some of whom were already getting some holiday gifts out of  the way) said if they could have anybody over for Thanksgiving, they would choose to  host their family over anyone else.

As I conversed with people of a variety of ages and backgrounds, it also became evident  that we all share similar dinner conversations: politics, music, and pop culture. Many non- family responses involved Presidents, musicians, and famous actors. And who would be  better to discuss your favorite opinions, songs, or scenes than with than the experts  themselves? Interestingly enough, no one suggested inviting a famous chef into their  home for the biggest dinner of the year, perhaps lending more credence to the thought  that nobody beats mom’s cooking! So before you prepare to stock up on stuffing, cream  the cauliflower, and gobble up the turkey, try to envision who your dream guests would be  (and yes, the in-laws are optional)…


Ronald Reagan, since I admire his thought and understanding of what America was.

- Richie Collins

Spring Lake

I’d like to dine with Jack Welch and Bill Gates and talk to them about their vision for enterprising.

- Fran Hackett


 Abraham Lincoln, so I could tell him what a difference he made in the world.

- Dganit Dana Weiss,


Prince William and Kate. It would be great to hear about their thoughts on their royal wedding.

- Ann Frost


There is only two guests we would like to invite: our mothers, who are deceased.

- John and Mary D.

Colts Neck

Christopher Columbus since he was the one who helped start everything on this side of the world.  And my grandparents there with him, we could show Columbus how he helped bring all these  different generations together.

- Judi Cook



I think the perfect table would include George Washington, Carl Sagan, and Copernicus. Washington is a great man, and I’d like to hear Sagan and Copernicus debate about the cosmos.

- Todd Sylvia

Tinton Falls

Thanksgiving is all about spending time with the family, so my mother, my mother-in-law, and the  kids are all I need at the dinner table. Just good conversation amongst ourselves makes for a perfect holiday.

- Jessica M.

Long Brach

I’d like to invite Obama and Truman. Since I lived through each of their terms, I could tell each how  the country has changed, for better and for worse.

- John Reinhold



Christopher Columbus and Queen Isabella. Without them, we probably never would have started this  country, and they should see the fruits of their labor.

- Kevin Kanher

Ocean Township

Donald Trump and President Obama. They are both intelligent people and great debaters. It would be interesting to hear Trump’s flamboyancy and Obama’s calmness over dinner. It would be a great discussion.

- Bob & Marilyn Weiss

Ocean Township


(No picture)

Kim Kardashian and Cleopatra. I’d just love to meet Kim, and since I’m part Egyptian, Cleopatra  would be fascinating to talk to.

- Jena Victoria


That’s easy. Johnny Cash, Ray Charles and Louis Armstrong. My wife and I listen to their music  every night during dinner.

- Jo Lis

I would invite Ronald Reagan, Reggie Jackson and Denzel Washington. They each round out all my interests, and I’d like to hear Reagan talk to Denzel about showbiz.

- Gary F.

Long Branch

If I could, I would invite my dad and my grandparents. Thanksgiving is all about family, and I’d like to  see them one more time.

- Lisa M.

Freehold (left)

All my deceased family members. It would be neat to have us all sitting at the same table for a  holiday dinner.

- Joanne Dignatar

Tinton Falls (right)

Groucho Marx because of his witty perspective on everything, and Bob Keeshan since he was the  original Captain Kangaroo. I grew up watching that show, and loved it as a child!

- Pat Cashin

Tinton Falls
Bruce Springsteen and Jane Goodall. I admire Bruce’s charitable work and have seen him live many  times, and I’d love to ask Jane about the chimps. She’s led an interesting life.

- Sharon Wise

Long Branch
I’d like to talk to Bill Clinton about his political beliefs, and because he’s so charismatic.

- Marilyn Conte

West Long Branch

My grandparents and Robert De Niro. I like all his films, but “Goodfellas” was his best. I’d want to  ask him about the filming of it.

- Oren Linder



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