Thanksgiving is traditionally a time to gather together with family and friends to give thanks for all of the many blessings. Every family has their own traditions which usually involve a wonderful dinner, but then sometimes the perfect dinner is filled with problems.
WHS math teacher Amy Spunaugle recalled a Thanksgiving catastrophe.
“One year my mom put the Thanksgiving ham out on the picnic table to thaw and our dog ate it,” said Spunaugle.
She didn’t recall what they ate instead.
“Thanksgiving 2016 and we had sold our home and were in the process of moving into a duplex for seven months until we both retired,” said Beth Halsey. “We were to turn the house over to the new family on the Monday after Thanksgiving. They called and asked if it were possible to move that day to the Friday after Thanksgiving because they had both sets of parents coming and wanted to show off their new home and have help with moving. We agreed and spent all Thanksgiving day packing, moving and cleaning. We finished at 9:30 PM and all the restaurants were closed. It wasn’t turkey and all the trimmings, but that Big Mac meal never tasted so good! We were thankful for McDonald's in addition to our other blessings!”
WHS English teacher Amanda Adler recalled a special Thanksgiving dinner when she was in charge of the big meal.
“When I was 12, Mom had knee surgery a few days before Thanksgiving so she was on crutches which left my three sisters, little brother and I in charge of the big meal. Mom sat in the living room giving us directions. My sister Amber and I did most of the cooking with the three younger siblings helping. We were pretty proud when we prepared the turkey but when it was time to make dressing and gravy, I couldn’t find the giblets. Mom asked if we had taken the package out of the turkey. I asked her, ’Where is the package with the giblets?”
“'Put your hand up the turkey and grab the sack,’ she said."
“We had already baked the turkey so it was hot but I grabbed the sack and pulled it out. We had baked the turkey with the sack of giblets inside of it. It was good anyway. Then when we took the ham out of the oven, Amber exclaimed that it was too hard to cut. Mom hobbled over to the kitchen and explained that we had baked the ham with the wrapper still on it. We peeled it off and it was easy to cut and very delicious. Mom always said that ‘You learn by doing!’”
“I was working as an EMT at Pettis County Ambulance and I had to work on Thanksgiving day,“ said Vicky Redwing. “So we had our meal at the station all planned out on what we were fixing and I, in advance before shift, made a BEAUTIFUL pumpkin pie, and you know my family takes pride in what we make , but this pie was absolutely beautiful with cut out leaves arranged so pretty on this beautiful crust I made from a family pie crust recipe and when I took it to the station for everyone to enjoy. The crew stated how good it looked and when one of them cut into it to eat made an awful face and started spitting it out, I thought they were just trying to tease me about it, saying it tasted awful. They were always teasing me about stuff. But I went and cut myself a slice to make sure it was good and it was AWFUL, I had forgotten to add the sugar to it. I was so embarrassed and was so disappointed because it was so beautiful to look at.”
Warsaw native Charlotte Beck had a memory of a fun time with her family at Thanksgiving.
“It’s been probably 20 years ago. We were eating dinner at my grandma’s house. My cousin Emily asked me to pass her the center roll. I had already decided that I wanted the center roll though. She thought she should get it, so when I picked it up to pass it to her, I licked it. She didn’t want it after that and I got the roll. She was not amused then, but we laugh about it now. She has told that story to her boys. One evening earlier this year, they had rolls for dinner. Her 9-year old had his eye on a specific roll so he licked it then announced that no one else could have it,” said Beck.
Every family seems to have their own special traditions.
“My side of the family started a family tradition of building gingerbread houses. The recipe for the gingerbread houses is homemade and have to be made a week ahead of time to dry out. Everyone brings all sorts of candies to share to decorate. At the end, the oldest at dinner gets to judge and winner gets a prize,” said Eryn Downs-Kellner.
"Growing up, Thanksgiving was and still is my favorite holiday," said Warsaw North School teacher Ally Richardson. "Every year we’d go to my grandparents’ house to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade while eating shrimp cocktail, cheese and crackers and other goodies while my grandma fixed our meal. My grandma always set out her red Chinaware, and my sister and I would set the table specifically choosing who would sit where. We drank ginger ale with our meal, and I always felt so special and grown up.”
“One of the Thanksgiving traditions that my family keeps every year is playing games after the big meal,” said Golden Valley physician Dr. Amber Campbell. “One year when we were playing SPOONS. My uncle Hadley got a little carried away and hit a pitcher of iced tea that went up in the air, flipped over and then came back down on the table without spilling a drop of tea. If I hadn’t seen it, I wouldn’t have believed it. Then one year my brother-in-law Rob said someone broke his pinkie finger when he/she was going for a spoon during this same game. We are very competitive,” said Campbell.
Of course, there is sometimes the Thanksgiving visit to the ER.
“The year I was in kindergarten, we learned a little dance in class just before Thanksgiving,” said Dusty Mills. “I wanted to show this dance to everyone at the dinner and, of course, I needed a stage on which to perform. I looked around until I found an old wooden footstool, drug it out to the living room, and began my little performance. Unbeknownst to me, it was broken and just as my mom realized what I was doing and told me to get down, I fell off the edge of the footstool as it tipped on the broken edge. The footstool flipped up and as it and I landed into a little pile - it hit my elbow just so, breaking my entire elbow cap and I spent the next several weeks in a cast. I keep Thanksgiving pretty low-key these days; no dancing and definitely no footstool stages.” said Mills.
“Most of our Thanksgivings are fairly humdrum, and that’s not a bad thing, just plenty of family, great food, and lots of fun,” said MU Extension specialist Amie Breshears! “One of the most memorable happened 18 years ago. Benton had to go to Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City hours after he was born and he stayed there for 2 1/2 weeks. Thanksgiving fell during the time that we were up there and we didn’t want to be far away from him on Thanksgiving day. It was only two hours from there to home, but it was still too far. One of my college roommates and her husband lived in Kansas City; they invited us over to celebrate Thanksgiving with their family. It was so kind of them, and it really was a great day, especially as I look back on it now. I’m so thankful that Benton is healthy and grateful for the good care he got there when he needed it most. Every Thanksgiving that we are all together is extra special now,” said Breshears.
Not everyone loves to cook, but most try to make the perfect meal.
“We spend our Thanksgiving at my parents. My mother HATES to cook so it usually starts out with her drinking wine and we laugh at her while she cusses and tries to cook. We have the best time and always the best food,” said Stephanie Adair.
The holidays can be difficult for people as it is a time to remember who won’t be around the table for that special family time.
“Now that I have lost my dad and both grandpas and a grandma, all my special memories are ones spent with them. Our lives go so fast making new memories each year, but Thanksgiving always reminds me of my childhood with my family,” said Kenzi Culton-Wilson.
“We always celebrate Thanksgiving with my Grandma and Grandpa, Vernon and Barbara Gemes. This will be our first Thanksgiving without Grandpa with us. The holidays will be hard, but being together as a family will help to ease the pain. We will share stories and cry and laugh together. Grandma always forgets the corn in the microwave, we usually discover it when we go to warm up leftovers later in the evening. Maybe we will all remember it this year.,” said Brooke Daleske.
“2011 is the Thanksgiving that sticks with me forever, said Kelly Drake. "It’s the last one I had with my mom. The traditions she had were my favorite; turkey, greasy noodles, and her homemade chocolate pie were the best! Then after dinner we set up her Christmas tree and watched White Christmas. 3 weeks later she was diagnosed with brain cancer and our lives were forever changed. Holidays just aren’t the same.”
Wishing everyone a special Thanksgiving wherever and however the celebration is carried out. (We just hope your meal is not carry-out!)