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It’s been the Year of Living Fearfully, with the mind-numbing terrorist attacks on New York’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon, as well as a jittery economy and hundreds of thousands of layoffs. This month Americans will gather around dining room tables to celebrate a Thanksgiving that will be freighted with more meaning than most past celebrations. So instead of the usual questions that we ask in-house lawyers about their favorite books and movies, we asked three top GCs to tell us about their holiday plans. MARK BRITTON Senior vice president, general counsel and secretary, Expedia Inc. The Legal Department Bellevue, Wash.-based Expedia Inc. is an online travel agency offering access to 450 airlines, 65,000 lodging properties and all major car rental companies. The Thanksgiving Feast For new dad Mark Britton and his wife, Brigid, a fellow lawyer, Thanksgiving is a time for some much-needed R&R. Back when both were young associates, he says, “the phone would ring off the hook with business calls — even on Thanksgiving!” This year, the Brittons — with baby in tow — will head to Northern California for what they hope will be a less harried celebration. In the past they’ve trekked to Montana, where Britton was born and raised. His favorite Thanksgiving memory involves a certain Montana neighbor who graced the family table back when he was 13: “Ernest Hemingway’s son came to dinner, with all kinds of stories of his foreign travels.” What Is He Thankful For? “I’m thankful that my friends, family, and even acquaintances — of which I have a fair number — are safe.” JULIETTE WILLIAMS PRYOR Senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary, e.spire Communications Inc. The Legal Department Herndon, Va.-based e.spire Communications Inc. is a telephone and Internet service provider catering to small to midsize businesses. E.spire boasts 1,650 employees and $344 billion in revenue — but it filed for voluntary bankruptcy protection in March. The Thanksgiving Feast If Thanksgiving is especially sweet for the Pryor and her family this year, it may be because it will mark the first such celebration in their 70-year-old home in northwest Washington. Or it may just be a certain mystery ingredient that Pryor likes to toss in with the turkey — confectioner’s sugar. Years ago, during her first Thanksgiving with her husband, she mistakenly put confectioner’s sugar in the roasting bag, thinking it was flour. “It didn’t ruin the turkey,” says Pryor, “so I’ve kept it up just for the fun of it for the past 10 years.” Another treasured family tradition involves a special chair that Martin Luther King Jr. autographed for Pryor’s father at a civil rights meeting in the 1960s. “Dad is very proud of that chair and his involvement in the civil rights movement,” says Pryor. What Is She Thankful For? “Of course whenever tragedy strikes we tend to be more reflective as to what we value most in our lives. That has been my personal response to [September's] events. I did not lose any family in these horrible incidents, but we have a family friend of many years who is now classified as a missing firefighter.” BRACKETT DENNISTON III Vice president, senior counsel for litigation and legal policy, General Electric Company. The Legal Department Stamford, Conn.-based General Electric, a top-five company on the Fortune500 list, is a diversified conglomerate. The Thanksgiving Feast For Denniston, there are three Thanksgiving constants: food, family and football. His plans include healthy portions of all three. Denniston’s three kids will descend upon the family’s Fairfield, Conn., home for the holiday, along with his best friend, who will visit from Chicago. Daughter Libby — who is “clearly the boss” — will don the apron, Denniston says, but the most hotly anticipated dish will be his wife’s famous cranberry relish. And what will everyone be talking about around the table this year? “I hope how well my kids will be doing in school — but that may not be the case,” he jokes. “Oh well, there’s always football.” What Is He Thankful For? “I think I am more thankful than ever for the resilience and courage of the American people, and its public servants — policemen, firemen, and soldiers.”

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