Search This Blog

Monday, November 12, 2018

Thanksgiving Traditions

It's November! And that means Thanksgiving is just around the corner. 

There’s just something about Thanksgiving. The food, of course, and getting the family together. I think every family in America has a few inviolable Thanksgiving traditions. I know we do.

For instance, when we were first married, we moved to Dallas and didn’t have any family close by. For Thanksgiving, Dan and I invited any fellow grad students who weren’t going home to come to our house for dinner and bring a traditional dish that you couldn’t imagine not having on the Thanksgiving table. We lit a fire and turned on the air conditioning—it was 75 in Dallas that year. We got to taste some good food that day and made some great friends.

Now that we live much closer to family, we each have a dish that is “ours.” My sister always makes deviled eggs and the sage dressing—she took those over from Mom. Dan and I brine and roast the turkey and make the green beans and cranberry sauce. My mother-in-law makes the mashed potatoes, my sisters-in-law bring sides and desserts and… well, you get the picture.

How about you? Do you have a Thanksgiving tradition you honor every year?

Thanksgiving, to me, is about home, so here’s a scene from WILD TEXAS HEARTS where Wolf and Cal finally get back home.

Wolf and Calvin topped the last rise, both eager to see their little house come into view at the end of the long valley. It had taken all of the week Wolf had predicted to get here, but tonight they would sleep in their own beds.
“There it is, Pa! We made it!”
He smiled at Cal’s enthusiasm. Though Wolf wouldn’t admit it to his young son, the ghosts had been riding him hard the past few days, visiting him in the darkness and daylight, reminding him of all his failures. His wife, beautiful, gentle Emily. She deserved so much more than to die because he hadn’t been there to protect her. And little Amanda, his baby girl, who shouldn’t have known the horror, the violence of men at such a tender age.
“We’ve still got the better part of an afternoon’s travel to get there, Cal. So keep moving.”
The sun was setting when they rounded the last bend. The little house looked the same, almost eerily so. The yard was swept of leaves and debris, the porch looked freshly swept and…
“Pa?” Calvin guided his little horse closer to his father’s side, fear and confusion in his voice. “There’s smoke comin’ from the chimney.”
Wolf had seen the wispy white trail more than an hour ago, but had convinced himself it was lack of sleep that had him imagining things. But if Cal could see it, it must be real.
Squatters. Someone low life had moved into their home. “Whoever it is, they won’t stay long once we get there. Get behind me, son.”
He checked the load in both revolvers and his shotgun before bumping his horse in the ribs. As they neared the house, he spotted the lazy freeloader, on the roof of the barn. What the hell was he doing up there? When Wolf saw fresh patches, he realized the squatter was fixing the holes.
That made no sense. All the squatters Wolf had encountered moved into an empty structure and made use of what was there until they were forced out again. He should know. He’d made use of his share of empty houses while he searched for his children.
But the evidence was before him. “This should be interesting,” he muttered. Motioning Cal out of sight, he slid a revolver free and rode up to the barn, stopping just out of the shelter of the eaves.
“What the hell are you doing to my barn?”
The intruder spun around, forgetting his precarious perch. Wolf spotted the flash of sun on a barrel, but before he could react, the man lost his footing, let out a squeal, and started sliding off the roof.
Wolf was moving almost before the realization hit. The curve of hip, the narrow waist. He snagged the falling body just short of the ground.
“Damn it. You’re a woman.”


  1. I think Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. Usually I share it with friends and that's a great way. Then I come home and read or put in a movie.

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving yourself. Doris

    1. Sharing with friends around is what thanksgiving is about, I think.
      Happy Thanksgiving, Doris!

  2. I look forward to Thanksgiving. Like Doris, I ranks right up there as a favorite time to be with family or friends. We usually have a small family get together at lunch and everyone brings their favorite food. I always cook a turkey to have as leftovers, because I love cold turkey sandwiches with cranberry sauce. My husband and I have a tradition. We tune into SiriusXM radio to listen to Arlo Guthrie and Alice's Restaurant. Sure, we could put the song on the cd player any old day of the year, but there's no fun in that. We always wait for it to 'come around on the guitar' on Thanksgiving.

    1. Kaye, I love cold turkey sandwiches with cranberry sauce! My whole family does. I've been known to cook a second turkey breast just so we have leftovers.
      Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. Tracy, I apologize for being so late responding to your post.
    I love hearing about family traditions. It's tough living far away from relatives, but I was glad to see how you and your husband reached out to others at Thanksgiving. That was quite a power bill you must have had to turn on the air conditioner and light a fire in 75 degree weather to create an atmosphere conducive to Thanksgiving. I'm glad you finally moved closer to relatives so you could establish some wonderful traditions with them.
    Now that my parents are gone and only my sister and I remain, we usually have Thanksgiving together with the traditional foods. My favorite thing to make is squash casserole--not exactly everyone's tradition, just ours. One thing we always have is one crazy relative to show up. LOL

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Tracy!

    1. we do scalloped corn instead of squash casserole, but we always have at least one crazy relative--usually me. lol
      Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. Tracy, I love your description of your Thanksgiving in Dallas with the a/c on and the fire going! LOL That's sometimes how it is here in OK, too. Growing up, we always drove down to my grandparents' houses for Thanksgiving and on Christmas Day. Luckily, both sets of grandparents lived in the same little town, and I had cousins on both sides of my family who went to school together and were friends. I remember loving so much just getting to go be with all my cousins, since I was raised almost as an only child, as my sisters were 10 and 12 when I was born. I loved getting to see my cousins more than anything we could have had for Thanksgiving dinner. LOL

    I usually make a turkey these days, and those wonderful frozen yeast rolls that have to rise and taste like you made them from scratch. I make mashed potatoes for everyone but my daughter, and sweet potatoes for her. You're right--Thanksgiving means "home" and I have fond memories of that holiday from growing up as I did.

    Great excerpt. I love this story so much, Tracy.

    1. Thanks, Cheryl. We've tried going to a restaurant in the past, but it just isn't right. As tired as I get that day, I love putting everything together.