A Country Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving dinner
Vintage illustration of a husband and wife pulling the wishbone of a turkey for good luck at Thanksgiving dinner; screen print, 1942. (Photo by GraphicaArtis/Getty Images)

 We all get busy, stressed, and run around in circles too many days out of the year. So, when it comes to the holiday season I’m happy we have Thanksgiving to start it off.

Thanksgiving doesn’t cost any money, and it has no limitations. It is merely there waiting to be recognized. Besides the crazy baking and house cleaning of the host, people are generally thankful for this time and opportunity to reflect on what’s important.

This Thanksgiving we went to MT to spend it with my family. A country Thanksgiving you could say. I love it when we go home. The gorgeous view of the badlands and no neighbors for miles are a welcoming sight and feeling.

On the drive, the radio was turned low and playing old time country music. My brother and I were the only ones awake in the vehicle so we enjoyed the silence and scenery. If you’ve ever visited Montana you know how breathtaking the view is. Even when you grow up there, the beauty never fades! This nice relaxing drive was the perfect way to start our time with family.

                          Pulling up to the farmhouse, everyone unloads and brings in their contribution to the Thanksgiving meal. Delicious smells of homecooked dishes reach our nostrils when we open the door. This draws us into the kitchen where we can see, ”What’s cooking?”


Butterscotch and apple pie are the first things I notice, then it’s peach Kuchen, chocolate cake, pumpkin bars and more. You probably noticed I put the desserts first;). Doesn’t everyone want to know what desserts are available before they eat haha?

Besides the dessert table, ham, turkey, cheesy potatoes, taco dip, salads, stuffing , buns, all homemade were waiting. My mouth was watering in anticipation as was everyone else’s. I know this because the line was formed before the meal was even ready.

At last, the dinner announcement was made. Grace was offered and the filling of plates commenced. How exciting it all was. The kids could hardly stand themselves but had to wait for grandparents and adults to go first. You could’ve have wiped up the drool as they waited their turn.

Everyone had something to be thankful for in the house. The great food they were about to eat, the new arrival of my cousins baby and my own and their first Thanksgiving, healthy grandparents, energetic kids, a warm house. These are the basics. Beyond those, each person has their own things they are thankful for. Me personally, I am thankful for Christ, a family that is always there in good times and bad, good health, the ability to do what I love, and many more.

A Thanksgiving StoryWasn’t that what the first Thanksgiving was all about? People gathering and giving thanks to God for the blessings in their life? It helps us mentally when we choose to be thankful for things. This thinking shouldn’t be, just a Thanksgiving thing, but an all year opportunity to make the best of life and give our minds something positive to think on.

Sure there are downers that happen all year long; these can be major events. It’s not easy to be thankful when these times come for any of us but you have to try. For instance, say the doctor finds something and you need surgery immediately? You can freak out or be extremely thankful they caught it in time. That might sound like I’m playing Pollyanna but the alternative won’t help anything.

Everyone has the choice to make the best out of life. It all comes down to perspective and what that means for each of us.

Okay, Back To Thanksgiving

After everyone made it through the dinner line, they sat shared memories, hunting stories, or complemented the cooks. The kids probably did it while their mouths were full, but we won’t criticize them too much since I’m sure they were starving;).

Thanksgiving Day Turkey
10 Nov 1954, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA — Film starlet Adelle August reminds one and all that Thanksgiving Day is Approaching rapidly. Although Adelle let her: off the spot, it’s almost a sure bet that the Gobbler will find out about the celebration shortly. — Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

Once the dessert of choice was eaten, nap time came next. The kids, however, had a dose of sugar so they ran in circles trying to catch their tails or cousins, take your pick. They also took the opportunity to work out on my aunts elliptical. Two little kids would sit on the foot placements while two older cousins moved the arm bars back and forth. This proved extremely entertaining and believe it or not, no one got hurt (thumbs up). Not everyone could come so there were only 15 children, three dogs, and 19 adults.

With multiple rooms full of people, everyone mingled grazed on more food and visited. It was fantastic!

In the end, our Country Thanksgiving gave us more than just full bellies. It gave us all the chance to break the cycle of going through another normal day. The adults smiled, watched football, played cards while the kids ran around outside playing on hay bales and pretending the little kittens were dolls.  We had come to a place where we could all share stories, catch up and start the holiday season in the right frame of mind. We had come home.

-Heather Earles

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