Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thankful Memories

I never planned on living in my hometown forever.  Always knew that I would move away and start my life somewhere else (even though it ended up only three hours away). But I never considered what that really meant.

Kids sick and needed to miss a day of school?  My friends called their moms, sisters or mother-in-law. Me, I had to stay home.

Family member with a serious illness?  You can't just jump in the car and drive across town to the hospital to visit or stop by to see how everything's going.

Holidays?  Takes some planning.

And then we met Tom and Brenda.  Well, actually, Tom and I met first when we were Cub Scout leaders together, but it wasn't long before the four of us became close friends. Thanksgiving became our holiday because we couldn't spend it with family for a variety of reasons.  For 20+ years we have spent this holiday together.  Our kids have grown up celebrating with this other part of our family. And obviously, there are many, many memories.

The kids "painted" the turkeys for several years when we cooked them on rotisseries.  It was their job to keep them painted with the melted butter. Those were the years we also did "turkey updates" with the camcorder--news reports that recorded the day for posterity!

The kids went sledding some years and played football and rode bikes in others.

I had to take one of ours to the ER the day after one year to make sure that the football injury wasn't more serious than what I thought.

Some years it was just our two families. But many times we had other "homeless" friends, those who needed a friendly place to spend the holiday. Sometimes friends just stopped by to join in the fun. The only rule was, you brought a dish to share that was important to your Thanksgiving memories. One year, when Tom and Brenda's oldest was home from college, he brought foreign exchange students to join us. Sushi was one of our side dishes that year.

Our sons and their families have their own plans this year. Tom and Brenda moved a couple of hours away two years ago, so my husband and I are driving there Thursday morning. Friends and family will join us. We'll cook too much food, laugh over old memories and make some new ones.  We'll play cards and watch football. Some will head out Friday morning for Black Friday deals. And as always, we'll be thankful for friends who have become family.


  1. Happy Thanksgiving Deb. It is hard when one lives away. We live two states away & have made our own 'family' as you have. Thanks for sharing your memories!

  2. That sounds like a fulfilling Thanksgiving tradition for everyone! Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. As we were traveling to our Thanksgiving destination, we noticed many cars at the Denny's here in town. One of my kids said how sad it was that they didn't have somewhere to go on Thanksgiving. Your story is exactly what we were talking about. I am so glad to hear of people creating their own new "families" so they have a place to celebrate.

  4. You were so smart to start a new tradition rather than mourn what was too far away - and how fortunate that you found these wonderful friends, now part of your family, too.

  5. so many wonderful memories in your post. traditions give us all a foundation!

  6. How great to have a "family" away from home! And what rich traditions you have built! Happy Thanksgiving!

  7. Isn't this what Thanksgiving is all about--being thankful for what you have, not searching for things that are not there? I did not grow up celebrating Thanksgiving, but I have grown to love this holiday.

  8. Deb,
    Extended families are the best. Loved reading about your traditions with them.

  9. When blood family is not near, one must create a new family. What a great tradition that developed over time! I know it was a great Thanksgiving for you.

  10. Many good times we've had my friend. I wouldn't trade any of those Thanksgivings we had together!


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