A day for gratitude, family & friends and food & drink

Tomorrow is our national Thanksgiving day in the Us, so a time to reflect on our many gifts. Here in the states many of us not on our way to be with others are preparing to host family and friends at our own home. Whether you live here or elsewhere, really, isn’t every day a good day for gratitude? So wherever you are I hope you are feeling abundance and the fullness of life.

So if you do, how do you celebrate Thanksgiving? Are you still lucky enough to have a generation above you happy to host you or have you graduated to hosting? For many years my wife Lia and I would drive about an hour north to be with her parents at their home on Duck Cove near Bolinas bay. Early on I would help them create an enormous table with sawhorses and plywood running from the dining room to the very end of the living room. Now we’re the older generation and host at our place, but our crew has shrunk to just seven this year - happily still including two children. So thankful for good memories of so many missed family members but also so glad one of Lia’s cousins is still in our area as is my baby brother and his family.

Some folks enjoy american football over the holidays. In the past we’d play pool in the basement, go for walks and play a card game they called Hell, basically many handed solitaire where everyone’s aces are available to all and the first one to play all their cards yells the name of the game. We’re a little odd in that we’re not into football but we all enjoy playing holiday poker tournaments, either Omaha hi/lo or Texas Holdem. We’re all competitive enough that no money need change hands since we’re all motivated to be the last one standing with chips.

Here I’m very thankful to have met and gotten to know some of you. You’ve given me a new appreciation of Christians as thoughtful and intelligent people. I appreciate that your faith helps you keep hope and wonder alive, and that is something for which we can all be thankful.


Thanksgiving was always a huge extended family feast with my mom’s side of the family when I was growing up, so being far away from all my relatives, it is hard to recreate. But I would like my kids to have fond memories of the holiday like me, so I always make a big deal out of it, even if it just turns out being our family.

Growing up, my dad and uncles and brothers and cousins and a few neighbor kids and me would always play touch football before dinner (It was always geezers and girl (me) against the boys, we sometimes even won.) There was usually a football game on tv before we ate, but after dinner we would always play silly party games and hilarity would ensue with my mom’s crazy sisters and my cousins and everyone’s significant others and various strays who got invited. Good times. I am always grateful for a functional family and so many great memories with people I love.

This Thanksgiving I am cooking everything (it’s a full two-days plus of cooking to have everything I consider necessary for a traditional dinner, especially since I have to make so much from scratch, like pumpkin puree and the pork sausage for the stuffing), and we are having some friends from one state over come out for the weekend. They have two girls my kids’ age. I bet there will be some board games on the schedule.


The US Thanksgiving holiday comes close to the birthday celebration from our King, born on Dec 1, 7 BC, not on the pagan solstice. We will be celebrating the His birth and being thankful for His mission on Earth.

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Friends and fellowship are the order of the day for our family. Our kids are young adults now, and one out-of-state, and about to get married; so he won’t be coming our way tomorrow. But the three of us have been invited to a friend’s house where a potluck meal and games/fellowship will follow. So it is a chance for us to “mix it up” a little and have an excuse to do what we (my own family) do too little of all the rest of the year, give and receive hospitality with others.

I too thank God for these friends in our lives, and our online community here too with all our frictions and differences - which makes even this online experience a bit more like a real family too. I’ll leave it to other imaginations to pick out who the “wacky uncle” is … (why is it always the ‘uncles’ reputed to be the wacky ones at the Thanksgiving table? - I can ask honestly with some feigned protest since I am an uncle many times over; and have probably been thought to be many things quite beyond a mere ‘wacky’ even.)


That was true of Lia’s uncle too, but not at thanksgiving which was always at Lia’s parent’s house. But we would go to his house in the hills above Berkeley for Christmas dinner. He was a nice guy most of the time, smart, hard working and successful too. But open some wine and then, siting around his table, it never took long before the subject of the jews would come up and he’d soon go full bore conspiracy theorist, making himself ever more angry in the process. But why is it the uncle? I’ve heard it said that men are simply more prone to genetic extremes. But that sure sounds rather simplistic.

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Like all atheists, we sacrifice human children to Beelzebub, solidify plans to imprison local Christians for saying “Merry Christmas,” and then use various chemicals to numb our profound emotional pain due to our separation from the only thing in the world that matters.

Okay, I thought it was funny.

Our family is scattered about the continent, so we will congregate by Zoom tomorrow or Friday. We tend to enjoy cooking most of the day Thursday, with offspring watching gladiator-based team sports or playing card/board games. If we were all together (:frowning_face:) we would play our family-defining card game, a raucous affair we call “Kings and peasants” (you may know it as President). We include various sadistic enhancements: the peasant sits on a dictionary on an uncomfortable chair; the king has the most comfortable chair and chooses the music for each hand. I am telling you all this because we can’t do it this year since the kids are adults and live in other places.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.


I knew it! They said I was crazy, well who’s crazy now?! And now that I have proof, they’ll never call me crazy again! (Cue: victorious, maniacal laughter) :wink:


Something like this?


I JUST KNEW IT! Thanks for giving me something to go full-bore with at the Thanksgiving table … see if I can help further solidify the whole “uncle reputation” tomorrow with our friends.

We’ve played that game too … our name for it was “presidents and pee-ons”.

One game we’re looking forward to is playing the equivalent of the new board game: “Codenames” … only in my case it’s just a computer program I wrote up to mimic the real game and take care of the administration stuff.


Yeeeeahhhhh, that ought to do the job. :+1:

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Thanks @MarkD for this post and for sharing. Having grown up in Nor Cal, I really appreciated the two venues that you mentioned (Bolinas and the Berkeley Hills)… Made me smile to read them. I love both of those places because of their incredible beauty.

Thanks Stephen, for your funny intro to Thanksgiving. @sfmatheson Rarely does one have the opportunity to enjoy mentions of atheism and sacrifice to a deity in the same sentence. :slight_smile:

I love Thanksgiving. It, I think, is the best holiday, because it is just about giving thanks and breaking bread with friends and family. I’d be fine with four of them each year, honestly.


If your family doesn’t already have a “wacky uncle” it sounds like you could volunteer for the job now. :wink:

It’s a lot of fun to watch my own kids have fun with my four brothers and two brothers-in-law on my side of the family, so wacky uncles are abundant at our Thanksgiving. :smiley: (it also helps that a couple of them have totes full of Legos in the basement). My son at one point referred to my sister as one of the “uncles” so I guess in his mind any crazy relative that played with him was an “uncle.”

I think being the biggest family meant my parents had to get used to hosting, because it was easier than trying to travel with a tribe that size, so we still go there every year. The parade and football are on TV, but no one gets too crazy about the game if the Patriots aren’t playing. There will often be a game of Settlers of Catan going, but at this point I’ll be too busy making sure my toddler doesn’t run into the woodstove or propel herself down the basement stairs to take part in something that involved. I’ve never played that “Presidents” game some mentioned, but we do have a running “game” at family gatherings where the first person to mention our president by name loses. Only a few of us are in on it though. :wink:

Mostly it’s just lots of food and jokes and conversation with close to 25 people at this point, and still growing. It’s a long day for this introvert, but very much worth it. I’m enjoying reading about the other families and traditions in this thread. :slight_smile:


So I guess Rook is out … since somebody would have to call trump.


Do you get half points off for accidentally playing a song from Six Pence None the Richer?

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Haha! You’re not wrong. It’s the part I was born to play. :joy:


The last 4 years, we’ve hosted at my house. My parents come over. My siblings live too far away, but we saw them earlier this year. My husband smokes a turkey. I make the sides. My dad brings dessert (pecan pie cheesecake with a turkey on top made from pecans). My inlaws don’t come, but we will meet them for lunch an hour and a half away in a few weeks, probably.

I’m thankful for a lot of things this year. Friendships made, faith built up, kids maturing into fine young people. And we’re adding a new dog to the family tomorrow, so that’s exciting. :slight_smile:


Truly, your cup runneth over!


Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends here at BL! Obviously, that doesn’t include @sfmatheson, who persists in writing Merry X-mas despite my repeated warnings of the fires of hell. May his turkey be overcooked!


I’m so intimidated now!


I see what you mean, almost like he is just assuming everyone celebrates the same holidays. I don’t see why he can’t just wish us a happy holiday like a normal person.