Saturday, November 29, 2008

Family Traditions

On our drive back home tonight, my husband and I were discussing how different families can be. We actually have 4 sets of family (well really 5, but 2 really blend into one) and each has their own little quirks, traditions, and ways of interacting with each other. Most of the differences in interactions come with the amount of time they actually get to see each other; but no matter the distance, baggage, or age differences, we found that it is really the traditions that bond a family together and make them who they are.

My dad's side is probably abnormally close. Not in any weird sort of way, but more in the way that they are extremely large and still manage to see each other on a weekly basis. Thanksgiving day starts early with a 6 AM breakfast at the Huddle House with the men of the family. My dad didn't have any sons, so I filled in on the tradition throughout the years and it really is my favorite part of the day mostly because I get to listen to my uncles and cousins tell all their crazy stories that aren't normally told at the Sunday dinner table. The early morning tradition actually started because they use to go bird hunting (quail/dove/both - I forget) every Thanksgiving. This came to an end after my granddaddy accidentally shot my Uncle in the rear one year. After that we switched to playing cards after breakfast. However, after my granddaddy passed away and the fear of being shot by one of your own family members had subsided, we got back into the guns with some good ole skeet shooting and target practice with the pistols. Although, I do notice that my Uncle stands very far away from anyone holding a gun. Some years we get lazy though and just do breakfast and head back home for a quick nap before lunch.

Yep, that is me with a gun doing a pretty decent job at skeet shooting for a girl who normally doesn't shoot.

Hunting is one of the highlights of the weekend for most of the men in both families. Dad has always been a loyal duck hunter and has recently gotten Michael into the action as well. Sadly, dad decided this was the year to retire Maggie (his Golden Retriever) due to her age.

She is about 11 years old and although she still acts like a puppy, she has been losing weight and isn't in the best of health. The last couple of years she has been coming home from hunting and has been so sore she can barely move around for the rest of the day. Don't feel too sorry for her though - she lives for hunting.

This morning was so terribly sad, after dad and Michael headed out at 4AM Maggie sat in the garage and howled for over half an hour because she couldn't go. I think dad may at least have to take her once or twice. The poor dog just doesn't understand why she is being left behind even if it is for her own good.

On a happier note, hunting brings us to another one of our lovely traditions - dad's appetizers. Duck and geese wrapped in bacon - yum! These usually go pretty quick!

As for Michael's side of the family, their main interest is deer hunting on the farm. He has family spread out from Michigan to New Orleans and a good number of them come down every year to celebrate Thanksgiving at his mom's house here in Tennessee. They start out their day early in the morning as well, skipping breakfast and going straight into the woods. Sometimes they are lucky, sometimes not. Here is a picture of a lucky year (don't worry, I cropped out all the goriness).

After two sessions of hunting (one in the morning and one in the late afternoon) they head on in to eat Thanksgiving dinner that Michael's mom has prepared. My lovely husband is always in charge of carving the turkey. I usually supervise (well, really it's more like taste test) as he puts the freshly oven baked goodness on the platter.

The next morning the women in his family head out to all of the big sales. They do the crazy circuit of the mall, Wal-Mart, JC Penny and all of those other top sale places. I however choose to pass on this tradition. I'm not very good with crowds and can hardly come out of Wal-Mart on a normal day without having a panic attack! I swear when people go into Wal-Mart they turn into complete zombies, but that is a whole other blog post that I should save for another day. As for me, I like to spend Black Friday with my mom and just shop at the local small stores.

Overall, this Thanksgiving was just as wonderful as all the others I can remember. I hope everyone else out there in the blog world played their own quirky part in their family and shared the traditions that make the family bond so close and unique.

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