As we approach Thanksgiving, we thought it would be fun to share some of our favorite memories of Thanksgivings past. We hope you enjoy these fun remembrances from all of us at KOPR!
My family always had eclectic Thanksgivings growing up. We’ve never lived around extended family, so Thanksgiving dinner was always either spent in front of the TV watching How I Met Your Mother reruns or with a consortium of my parents’ professor friends and coworkers from the local university, who also spent their holiday seasons orphaned. We also never had the same Thanksgiving meal twice, as the university orphan dinners were always pot-lucked and could attract anything from German potato salad to Brigadeiros to my dad’s beloved Cajun turducken. Honestly, it is nothing short of a miracle any time my four-person family unit—which has endured just about every food allergy and dietary restriction imaginable—sits down at the same time to eat the same meal. So we treasure the moments where we can.
My family does not cook often… or at all. But every year on Thanksgiving, all of the family on my mother’s side gets together to celebrate the holidays and to enjoy our one feast of the year. It was decided one particular year that we would have the festivities at my Uncle’s new house. His house happened to back up to a beautiful golf course. It also happened to snow around the holidays that year, which for Texas is extremely rare. I remember that my sisters, our cousins, all of the little kids, and even the parents decided to delay our one feast of the year to run around in the freezing snow on the golf course. After a couple hours making snowmen and playing in the snow, we were all exhausted and ravenous. We sat down to eat, and the food had never tasted better (even though it was a little cold). I think a couple of us caught a cold in the following days from being in the snow too long, but that’s my favorite Thanksgiving memory.
My favorite thanksgiving memory would be from Thanksgiving 2013. I was a senior in high school, and it was the last time my family got to spend Thanksgiving with my grandma before she passed away. My grandma just had the ability to light up a room with her laugh. We all got together and gave thanks before eating a great Thanksgiving meal. We concluded the night by eating some pumpkin pie and watching the Dallas Cowboys beat the Oakland Raiders in an exciting Thanksgiving football game classic.
For sure, the best Thanksgiving memory I have is of the last UT-A&M game. My aunt and uncle were hosting in Round Rock, and just about everybody there was either a UT alum, student, or future applicant. I was dating a girl whose father was an Aggie at the time, too, so there was plenty of trash texting back and forth. So, essentially, what followed Thanksgiving dinner was a few hours of pure chaos and yelling at the TV. My family is crazy superstitious when it comes to sports, so I was sent out of the room during the fourth quarter since we’d scored when I left the room briefly. They did call me back in for the very end, so I got to see the winning field goal and the dog-pile on Justin Tucker. The place went absolutely nuts. It was great.
When I was growing up, my extended family was scattered across the country, so we didn’t always get to see each other very much. Our Thanksgiving’s consisted of the usual turkey, stuffing, potatoes, cranberry sauce, everything, and whichever family members were able to get together, even if that meant just immediate family. However, when I was in third grade, my grandpa fell very ill right around Thanksgiving. It was not too long after the death of my grandma, and his health had just continued to decline until he had to be admitted to the ICU. He had his good days and his bad days, but at one point it really seemed like he had started to get better. My family decided to move Thanksgiving to the hospital to be with grandpa because no one knew how many he would have left. The turkey, stuffing, potatoes and cranberry sauce were all packed up and taken to the hospital, but when we got there, grandpa had a different idea. He had convinced his nurses he was strong enough to eat real food and had requested his two favorite things. He said he’d been craving these items for a while, so the turkey and all the fixings stayed packed. The last Thanksgiving we shared with my grandpa was spent eating Cheetos and drinking Dr. Pepper. It was so good to see him so happy before he went home to grandma.
Growing up, Thanksgiving at our house always started before dawn, when my mother would get up extra early to start preparing Thanksgiving dinner. Those of us who slept in would be awakened to the incredible aroma of a turkey roasting in the oven and onions and celery browning in a skillet before being added to cornbread dressing. It was such fun to run to the kitchen and watch while she put various dishes together, and recruited us for lesser chores like setting the table or peeling potatoes.
This is our first Thanksgiving without Mom and we will surely miss her being a part of the festivities! In her memory, we’ll make her legendary dressing recipe and broccoli rice casserole, and we’ll share a toast to her long and significant life. Here’s to you, Jeannie!
We are thankful for your friendship! Wishing each of you a wonderful and joyous Thanksgiving 2017!
All of us at KOPR