Thanksgiving at “The Farm”
For as long as I can remember, my family has celebrated Thanksgiving the same way each year, almost like clockwork. And for someone who isn’t fond of change, I can’t imagine spending my Thanksgiving any other way.
My mother grew up on a farm on the outskirts of Stephen, MN with her seven sisters and two brothers. My Grandpa farmed while my Grandma ran a beauty shop out of their farm house in between caring for their 10 rambunctious children. The place which we refer to as “the farm” has been in our family for years as my Grandma has lived there her entire life. To this day, after traveling throughout the country and internationally, the farm is still my absolute favorite place to go. The Wi-Fi is dreadfully slow, my Grandpa has to turn off his hearing aids because of the noise and it’s usually hotter than heck due to the number of people inside a small space, but none of that matters. Spending quality time with this crazy family of mine is what makes the experience at the farm something so extremely special.
Okay back to Thanksgiving. We all drive up from various locations to the farm on Thursday morning. Somehow my family is always the last to arrive, even though I’m a stickler for being on time. Automatically we get the “room” in the basement, which isn’t really a room, but there is a bed and a few couches so who’s complaining? After everyone arrives, the real fun begins! As for preparing the Thanksgiving meal, my family does things a little differently. The women stay as far away from the kitchen as possible, as the men fully enjoy taking charge and, from what I understand, actually enjoy cooking! So as they slave away in the kitchen preparing food for a small army, you might be wondering what the women do? Bring out their boxes of wine of course! But don’t get me wrong, the women help a little. Someone has to take out the paper plates, because with a family close to 40 there’s no dishwasher in the world that can clean up that mess!
The meal is finally ready and we gather around my dad, who is always the one to lead the prayer at family functions. We then assemble a line into the kitchen. Kids first, followed by the women and then last, the men who prepared the feast. I’m not naïve enough anymore to not realize they do indeed hide some special cuts of turkey under tin foil from the rest of us who lead the line. Now comes the fight to get a seat at the dining room table. The kids trot down to the basement and by kids, you would think 18 and younger, but that’s just not the case. I’m a 22-year-old college graduate who still somehow gets stuck at the kids table and offered a cup of sparkling juice, or “kid wine,” as we call it. Maybe once I get married they’ll let me sit with the adults? I’m not holding my breath.
After our bellies are filled to maximum capacity, it’s time for the dreaded cleanup. While the men are sleeping in recliners and the kids are outside revving the four-wheelers or snowcats, the women and myself, because when it’s time to cleanup I’m no longer a child (it doesn’t make sense to me either), begin restoring the kitchen to its normal state. The debate of who is going to wash goes on way too long before someone finally volunteers and 30 minutes later the place is back to new! That is until we bring out the leftovers for an evening snack.
I can’t help but smile thinking of the memories we’ve created at the farm with our family over the years. I’ve been blessed with an extremely loving family who make holidays, and every other day for that matter, special. For that, I am forever thankful. Looking forward to this year, I’m hopeful I’ll finally get my spot at the adult table! But on second thought, after exposing my family’s secrets, I’m sure I’ll have a permanent spot at the kids table for the rest of my life. Happy Thanksgiving!