Friday is for Favorites: Happy Thanksgiving!


With the Carpenters, Thanksgiving is a holiday that is never taken lightly.

Nearly everyone from my mom’s side converges in Vermont for the festivities. She is one of eight Carpenter kids, almost all of whom are married with children and, in some cases, grandchildren. This year, Thanksgiving at my uncle and aunt’s was 54 people. We have everyone from 85 years to 6 months old and every decade in between. We have brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandparents, great-grandparents, nieces, nephews, first cousins, second cousins, and first-cousins-once-removed. My cousin’s fiancée was taught a flowchart beforehand in order to figure out the relations (she did beautifully, but I do not will it on anyone to have to understand the Carpenter mishmash).

Chaos is an accurate word for describing this holiday—one kitchen, two turkeys, four tables, and more dogs than you would believe could fit in one house—but chaos doesn’t completely encapsulate it. My aunt and uncle’s, filled with the thick smell of spices and sweet potatoes, is just as much home on Thanksgiving as Bloomington is the rest of the year. It’s crazy, full to bursting with people and dogs, but it’s family. There are so many memories: one of my cousins breaking his leg on a trampoline when he was pre-teen and not yet 6’8”, my siblings and some of our older cousins playing wall ball in the basement, all my aunts cooing at my cousin Sophie’s first baby (he’s is thirteen, now!). Even this year, two of my out-law (as opposed to in-law) uncles carved the turkeys as they have for years. I got to rock the newest family baby around the kitchen. Another of my uncles made a toast like Granddaddy used to do.

Time marches on, but some traditions stay the same. I, for one, am beyond thankful that Thanksgiving continues to be perpetuated. Family is a pretty incredible thing, isn’t it?

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.


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