Since I did not do the obligatory Thanksgiving Post yesterday, and it is Flashback Friday, I thought I would take you a on a little journey through my Thanksgivings.
From about age 8 through my junior year in college, Thanksgiving consisted of piling into my dad's Honda Accord at 5am on Wednesday morning and driving 8.5 straight hours from Portland, OR to my grandparents' home in Vacaville, CA. Until I turned 10, it was just my dad and my brother and me. We fit quite nicely in the car. When I turned 10, however, my dad married my step-mom who also had a daughter, and from then on it was all five of us crammed in the car, with feet on coolers (so that we wouldn't have to stop) and all of us kids with our backpacks full of car entertainment, all trying not to talk to each other. Good times.
Once we arrived, we were met by my dad's two sisters and their children (my cousins). Our Thanksgivings were fairly formal - we all got dressed up, the table was set with my grandmother's finest china a silver, there were place-cards with our names (designed by my cousins and me, of course) and we all waited until all 20 of us were served before we began eating. Afterward, we changed into PJ's and lounged around the house, finally crashing on the floor on piles of old couch cushions and even older air mattresses that held air for approximately 30 minutes before beginning the slow deflating process that lasted until morning. After enjoying family togetherness for the following two days, we piled back into the Honda for the 8.5 hour turned 11 hour car ride back to Portland. Thanksgiving was pretty much the only time that I saw my cousins each year, and was one of the two times I saw my grandparents. That is probably one of the reasons why I love the holiday so much.
Since college, I've had a series of very interesting Thanksgivings. Here are a few of note:
The Thanksgiving with the most modes of transportation: The first Thanksgiving after Jason and I got married, in 2006, stands out as probably the craziest I've ever had. My mom's whole family (including 6 brothers and all of their family) decided to rent a house on Orca's Island - a small island off of the coast of Washington state. Jason and I were living in New York at the time. I had some extra time off of work, so I decided to fly to Portland for a few days to see my dad and step-mom before catching a plane to Seattle on Wednesday evening. Jason flew in from New York and met me at the airport, where we rented a car and drove about an hour to the ferry. We missed the first (and faster) ferry so we had to wait about 2 hours for the next one. That ferry took about three hours to get to the island. Once there, we had to drive an additional 30 minutes to the house, on dark winding roads. Two days later, we turned around and did the whole thing in reverse, complete with a red-eye flight back to New York. While on the flight, I contracted the stomach flu, and spent the whole flight trying to not to throw up. I spent the next week off of work, lying in bed. We decided that we would never, ever, travel for Thanksgiving again.
The Thanksgiving with the longest car ride: Despite our vow to remain at home for this great holiday, Jason got really depressed about not being able to be with family for Thanksgiving in 2008. We were still in New York, so the closest family we had were Jason's mom and step-dad in Kansas City, Kansas. On a whim, we decided to drive there for the week. It's a 20 hour drive. We left after work on Friday night and drove through a snow storm to some small town in Ohio. The next day we drove the remaining 12 hours to Jason's mom's. And we brought our dog. Oh yeah, and I was 9 weeks pregnant. In fact, while we were there, Jason and I had a scare with the pregnancy and feared that I was miscarrying. So we actually ended up going to the emergency room on Thanksgiving day to make sure everything was all right. It was. At the end of the week, we turned around and did the whole drive in reverse. Everything went fine until we hit Pennsylvania and realized that our car was shaking violently every time we went over 55 mph. We stopped at a Walmart tire center and discovered that our tires were completely bald and not safe to drive on. As luck would have it, Walmart did not have the correct tire size. Our only option was to sign a waver and put the wrong sized tires on our car so that we could complete our journey home. Quite an adventure.
The Thanksgiving where we should have just gotten takeout: Jason and I decided to host Thanksgiving at our house last year for 12 people. My dad and step-mom offered to get one of those prepared Thanksgiving dinners from Safeway, but Jason and I just couldn't bear the thought. Instead, we decided that we would cook the whole meal ourselves - turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, green bean casserole, peas, apple pie, pumpkin pie, and cheesecake, plus appetizers. If you will remember, we were not in the ideal kitchen situation
Jason and I have yet to create our own traditions around this, my favorite holiday. Hopefully, we can have some stability long enough to do so...or get creative enough that stability doesn't matter!