Three weeks ago, I shared how my family spends our Thanksgiving in a nontraditional way and asked readers to give us their Thanksgiving tales. From spending Thanksgiving on the farm to giving a beloved mother a pizza party in her nursing home, you responded with your unique stories. Read how these families spend their Thanksgiving days.
-Hannah Vandegrift, home school
My parents grew up in the Winston-Salem, NC area, but moved to Gretna almost 50 years ago. So every Thanksgiving, we would travel to Winston-Salem and cram in 2 huge Thanksgiving dinners in one day. One with my dad’s family and one with my mom’s.
I am an only child, so when I got married and had children of my own, somewhere along the way, we decided that we would have a big breakfast meal the morning of Thanksgiving with my parents. Then later in the day we would have a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with my husband’s family. This eliminates the double dose of tryptophan on Thanksgiving day.
Debbie Ferguson, Rocky Mount
Mama loved having the family for Thanksgiving dinner. She was a marvelous cook and we looked forward to the happy occasions.
Since mama was now in the nursing home, we decided to do something different one Thanksgiving. We reserved the private dining room, and brought in mama’s holiday linen tablecloth, napkins, napkin rings, centerpiece, etc. We also placed one of her favorite pictures in the room alcove.
We wheeled mama into the festive room. At 96 she was still mentally sharp. She quickly took in the family faces and then the familiar treasures. She beamed! Her expression was priceless, and her toothless smile was beautiful.
Mama could no longer eat solid food, so we had decided to order pizza. Her nurse had said one of her favorite treats was milk with crumbled-up pizza. We all enjoyed the pizza, but we did end up with the traditional pumpkin pie!
It was a most wonderful “pizza party” Thanksgiving, filled with much thankfulness and love!
Margaret East, Roanoke County
After watching TV and reading about Thanksgiving and all the great meals that would be consumed, I remember Thanksgiving on the farm. We were up by daylight, a lot of the years with blowing snow all day. We butchered five hogs to have meat that year. The men killed and cut up the hogs with the hams, shoulders and side meat being salted down and hung from the smoke house rafters, the livers made ready to grind to make liver pudding and all fat cut off for lard.
It was then the women [who] started grinding the parts to make sausage. A big pile of ground meat was piled on the dining room table, which was covered with oil cloth. It was mixed with seasoning and small patties [were] being cooked off and on and tested until Mom said the right amount of spice and sage had been added.
The rest of the day was spent preparing the sausage into patties, the tenderloin being sliced into the right size and the back bone being cut to pack in jars and canned. Black Friday was up early, but not to shop! There was canning to do all day.
The sausage, tenderloin and backbone was prepared into jars and boiled for three hours over the open fire in a large kettle, there were no freezers. While they boiled the liver was ground and made into liver pudding, and the feet, nose, ears and anything else that could be used was made into souse.
Then the fat was rendered in a big kettle the next day. Nothing was left of the hogs, as old times said, “nothing left but the squeal,” but it sure was good to have all that meat and lard with the canned vegetables and fruit that was canned in the summer. We were thankful! Wow, what a Thanksgiving weekend! That’s why Thanksgiving is just another day now.
Peg Hannah, Blue Ridge