As is EN tradition, we start planning our posts for Thanksgiving Day approximately 24 hours before the holiday begins. I put out a call yesterday morning to various fabulous individuals in the eventing community to answer this question: “What’s your favorite Thanksgiving tradition?” Joanie Morris has to win best tradition, with her 92-year-old grandmother supervising as the entire extended family tackles a year’s worth of yard work. Well played, Nana. From the EN family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy your traditions and time with family today, and we’d love to hear about your own Turkey Day traditions in the comments.
EN Asks: What’s your favorite Thanksgiving tradition?
Maya Black: “Always at the grandparent’s cabin — playing volleyball with the extended family; messing on the beach with the crashing waves and wind till past dark; then gathering by the fire, laughing, singing songs off key in the candle light as the wind has knocked the power out; eating leftovers for days since they never really got cooked on Thanksgiving!”
Jen Carter: “Usually our Thanksgiving is very low key. We start the morning out with doing our local Turkey Trot 5K race in Ocala, then spend the day relaxing with the family. We watch football and then usually have a traditional dinner with turkey, pumpkin pie, etc. The people who work for us and are here training with us come over for dinner. So it’s usually a very relaxed, fun day for us!”
Will Coleman: “Well, Thanksgiving at the Coleman house can get pretty festive. Family, friends, Shannon and all the girls from the barn all attend, and so it begins with a fine crowd every time. Pops and Momma Coleman are pretty rad cooks and whip up a feast fit for viking royalty. The red wine has been known to flow like the salmon of the Capistrano. This occasionally leads to some notable athletic contests, such as brother-on-brother form tackling and Greco-Roman wrestling. Injuries are common, though a dislocated shoulder and bite marks have thankfully been the worst of them to date. All in all, it’s a merry time. My favorite holiday by far.”
Tiana Coudray: “Thanksgiving for me is a great excuse to spend more time in the kitchen. I love cooking, so getting the whole family together is a good reason to go all out with the recipes. My mom has four sisters, so it’s a big family! This year I’m staying in England, and it will be the first time I won’t partake in the madness that is two grandparents, four aunts, three uncles, five cousins, and on and on … and, of course, a selection of strays that happen to walk through the door. It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without lots of people, so I’m doing my own dinner over here, with anyone and everyone invited. Of course, they have no idea about pumpkin pie and green bean casserole, but we’ll give it a crack anyway! Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.”
Dorothy Crowell: “The holiday inspires my husband to cook an awesome meal: smoked turkey, mmm! It has become a tradition to go to a movie. We did Harry Potter; now it’s Hunger Games. And we play Euchre for hours! All refreshingly non-horsey.”
Ellen Doughty: “The only tradition I really follow is getting together with family and spending some quality time with them. Two years ago, I spent Thanksgiving in a bar in Colorado (I was there for a ski trip). This year, we’re having my fiancé’s family over and having an untraditional English meal: shepherd’s pie! When I was younger, my brother Brian and I used to bring alcohol to the family get together and drink way too much with all of our cousins! But I haven’t been home for Thanksgiving in at least six years.”
Katy Groesbeck: “My mom’s birthday is Nov. 26, and every so often Thanksgiving falls on her special day, and those years are the most memorable, in my mind. One year, she and a friend and I took our horses to Lake Oroville in California for an endurance ride. Mom was on her warmblood dressage horse; I was on Oz The Tin Man. We camped out, woke up at 4 a.m., dragged our butts over 30 miles of trail, sweated profusely, and had French bread and salami for Thanksgiving dinner. Another year on her birthday, we had a vet emergency with one of our calving cows and my mom spent the better half of the morning up to her elbows in that poor cow. My mom is an amazing woman in a crisis, and she handled it with grace and good humor, but needless to say, we made her wash her hands twice before she stuffed the turkey that year.”
Liz Halliday-Sharp: “Funnily enough, I quite often forget that it’s Thanksgiving time, as I have lived in England for so long and I don’t get to celebrate it! This year, we are in St Lucia over the holiday, so I’m guessing its not a big tradition here either. I do really miss Thanksgiving with my family though, and I do have some traditions! Every year that I actually celebrate it, I ALWAYS make an epic homemade pumpkin pie (or two!) and sometimes mince pie as well. We also have an amazing recipe for vegetable casserole that has been passed down for generations, and is a must for all of my extended family! And yes, we always eat and drink too much. Maybe the best way I can celebrate this year is to eat way too much and put myself into food coma worthy of Thanksgiving. Happy Turkey Day!”
Boyd Martin: “First things first, I make Silva a three-course breakfast and deliver it to her in bed. Give her a kiss then I throw on the wool coat and go chase a bloke in a red coat blowing a horn with the Cheshire Fox Hunt. This is not long followed by putting on 25 pounds eating turkey with longtime owners Ron and Densey Juvonan. Then I get very intense in trying to understand the rules of the NFL football game that is televised. It’s awesome soaking up a true American holiday, which we are very thankful for.”
Joanie Morris: “I’m not sure about favorite, but copious amounts of yard work are the most notorious traditions in my family. Typically, the exponentially multiplying (fortunately, the cousins are breeding the next generation of workforce) family all descend on my 92-year-old grandmother’s house and are immediately put to work. Raking is the first order of business — leaves and pine needles (try raking those off a pebble driveway). We even bring our own rake, and food and beer are withheld until Nana deems the progress acceptable. We then move on to jobs that border on dangerous (gutter cleaning on a duct-taped, 40-year-old ladder), suspect (luckily the EPA doesn’t work holidays), menial (see pebble-driveway raking) and better suited for heavy equipment (pulling the dock out of the water — although we haven’t done that one in a while), but it is definitely a Thanksgiving tradition in the wind, rain, snow (and sometime sunshine). My raking skills generally impress the non-horsey set who inevitably end up with blisters. We’re staying home in Kentucky this Thanksgiving, but I am sure the Menial Task Division will be hard at it in Massachusetts, and I am sad I won’t be there. Happy Thanksgiving and much love to all.”
Meg Kep: “TRADITION of NON-TRADITION: I always work on Thanksgiving. My parents usually trek north, and we spend it with Sinead and Tik, but my new nephew trumps me, so Mama and Papa K aren’t coming this year, which is cool. I usually make a lot of vegetables, seafood (I don’t eat meat) and invite whichever unlucky kids got stuck working on Thanksgiving to come over. This year is particularly small as everyone seems to be out of town, and it is just going to be me, Baby Sarah and our client Kristin Michaloski. Sarah and I are going to go on romantic trail rides, and I imagine her and Kristin will judge the fact I made nothing fattening. Then we will drink vodka and do hood-rat things around the booming metropolis of Chester, N.J. Things I need to make my day complete: 1. “Love Actually” 2. scented candle 3. red wine 4. Tatey 5. BRUSSSSELLLL SPROUTs Happy Thanksgiving! And no, don’t eat Tofurky. That is just wrong.”
Lynn Symansky: “Without a doubt, the most important holiday to my father is Thanksgiving. He takes extreme pride in his cooking, and it means more to him if you compliment a dish he’s made than to tell him you love him. He shows his love through food, and it has also been the root of many fights in the family throughout the years! Sadly, we are breaking tradition this year for the first time I can remember … I think ever! He’s overseas on work in Amman, Jordan, so we’re having to fend for ourselves. He offered to send us recipes, but since we’re all quite busy on Thanksgiving, we decided to (oh the shame) order a pre-made Thanksgiving kit from one of the best restaurants around. While everyone else is busy cleaning a kitchen of dishes and pans, I’ll be enjoying a quick Thanksgiving clean up and for the first time will not be forced to eat leftovers for days.”