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It’s Turkey Season: Thanksgiving Traditions & Memories

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Thanksgiving Traditions

That’s right, it’s Thanksgiving week! I’ve been feeling the holiday spirit for weeks now (it’s Yuletide season), but the real fun begins this week with Turkey Day on Thursday. I don’t come from a family that has many Thanksgiving traditions, but it’s still a day that I look forward to every year. I never cook anything for the holiday, so that might be why I love it so much.

My typical Thanksgiving Day is probably not like yours in the slightest. I still drive back to the town I’m from – tiny Jamestown, Indiana. I don’t live far, but it still feels like a little bit of time warp once I get into Boone County. Granted, Indianapolis isn’t THAT big of a city, but there’s a marked difference in the speed of life once you leave the city limits. Who knew that 40(ish) minutes outside of the city is so different? Unless you’re from a small town or rural area, the difference doesn’t always compute. Once you clear suburbia and drive into the fields, it almost feels like an alternate universe. Gravel roads replace paved streets and intersections, numbers and directions are the norm – not street names, and the sheer amount of flatland and crops for miles take over the landscape of rural life. It’s such a change from my day-to-day surroundings.

Upon arrival into town, I drive into the infamous curves that bring you into the town’s center. I remember every winter seeing at least one car spin off those curves in the winter once those roads had iced over, it even happened to me once, but I digress. Once I pass through that stretch of curved roads, I pass the first home I ever lived in with my Mom & Grandma. They’ve since moved, but one of my first friends in life now lives in that same apartment with her son, so it almost feels like a full circle moment. Crossing the railroad track brings you to the main intersection of town where there isn’t even a stoplight or a four-way stop. If you’re lucky, a big truck won’t be blocking your view on the right so you can see into the intersection. I can’t tell you how many fender benders I’ve witnessed at that intersection!

Once you clear that intersection, you’ll see the lone gas station in Jamestown, IN. Yes, just one! There’s a gas station attached to the one grocery store too, but that’s beside the point. From there, you make one right turn and you’re essentially at my childhood home. One of my favorite parts of that house – an ELEVEN car (if you pack ’em in) driveway – a far cry from my singular parking spot downtown. I don’t need a lot of space for my life, so stepping into the expanse of a small town (weird sounding, I know) life again can be a respite to the hectic-ness that is city living.

When it’s time for the Thanksgiving meal, we literally step out of the front door of the house and into the church across the street. We don’t cook our meal, but instead head out to the community dinner hosted by the church across the street. My Grandma is one of the cooks for that community meal – and if you know anything about my family, you know I come from a line of EXCELLENT cooks. I come by my cooking and baking skills very honestly. So, if my Grandma is contributing to any meal, it’s a meal you should go to! ::wink, wink:: Attending the community Thanksgiving meal has been a tradition in my family for around a decade, I think – at least since I was in college. Since so many people are contributing to this community meal, there’s always something for everyone. Multiple types of meat, every kind of dinner roll, steamed or sauteed vegetables, mashed potatoes, dairy-free, no sugar, gluten-free – whatever! It’s all there. I have to give a special shoutout to the PIES at this dinner. There’s SO MUCH PIE. If it were just my family cooking, these multiple pie options would not be happening. So, I’m thankful for that each Turkey Day.

Since we don’t have to do all the cleaning and storing of leftovers that a traditional Thanksgiving meal entails, our Thanksgiving Day is usually done pretty quickly. We aren’t sporty, so there’s no football on the TV. We may watch a replay of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, but that’s to be determined in the moment. There’s usually some guitar playing and talking, but I’m usually back on the road by the early evening. I almost always have to work the day before and the day after Thanksgiving, so I’m usually just off for the holiday. This year’s Thanksgiving holiday has a particularly tight turnaround, so I’m pumped for the day off and a little extra sleep on that day.

I’m curious about what other people do for the holiday! I’m always very interested in hearing how other people celebrate the big holidays – so tell me in the comments! Enjoy your Thanksgiving – whatever that means for you!

How do you celebrate Thanksgiving? What’s your favorite part of the holiday?

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