Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Family, Friends, Football & Food

            Family, friends, football, and food—what’s not to like about Thanksgiving?  Certainly my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving is unique because it gives individuals an opportunity to make their own traditions.  Unlike most holidays, which are religious in nature, the secularity of Thanksgiving is what makes it truly American.  Of course, there are universal customs like carving the turkey, watching the Macy’s parade, and shopping on Black Friday, that define the holiday on a national scale, but those aren’t the activities that make Thanksgiving special for me.
            The rituals that come to mind when I think of Turkey Day come in a variety of shapes and sizes.  From my mother’s Wednesday night mac ‘n cheese and chili meal that she prepares every year as the family trickles into town, to the annual monopoly game that inevitably ends in treachery and tears, each piece of the puzzle is equally important in fulfilling my Thanksgiving agenda.
            Of course, in addition to the hours-long Monopoly marathon, the spellers in the family always battle for triple-word-scores in Scrabble (despite Grandpa’s tendency to make up words).  On Thursday morning, while half the group is still asleep, the young men venture to a local field to play football; the game goes on until injuries or inept cardiovascular endurance make it impossible to continue.  As the long weekend develops, the whole troupe usually goes to a movie (only if the Harry Potter marathon has ended), and when a house full of family becomes too much to bear, I escape to my friends who are all experiencing similar cases of overdose.  After all, it’s the first time of the year where most of the high school crew is back together, and a preview of the month-long winter break to come.
            All in all, for college kids (at least for me), Thanksgiving break isn’t much of a break at all.  There are a million people to see and a million things to do, and only about five days to make it all happen.  But, in the end, that’s why I love it so much.  The one week of the year where family, and friends—everyone you love—become one.  Nothing makes my grandparents prouder than meeting my “darling friends,” and nothing makes my 12-year-old cousin more excited than tossing a football with the “big boys.”  So, take off class early, and fly home Tuesday.  Hug your mother and wait for madness to ensue.  Thanksgiving only comes once a year—enjoy it while it lasts.