Thanksgiving with the Mulligers

Nov. 28, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

Thanksgiving is one of the year’s most highly anticipated occasions in my family.

In the Mulliger household, it is always a joyous time full of gathering family and friends together, counting our blessings in life and, of course, second (and third) helpings of Dad’s turkey, Mom’s mashed potatoes and Grandma’s gravy.

We like to spend the holiday catching up with one another by sharing our latest accomplishments, challenges and experiences.

Every year in college, Thanksgiving was the first long break I got to visit back home with parents, siblings and relatives.

Although I have since moved away from home, I continue to be grateful every November to have a place to travel back to on Thanksgiving.

During the holiday, my parents have always opened their house and home-cooked meal to friends unable to travel to see their families and to neighbors without any family.

It has made the occasion even more special for our family throughout the years.

One of my favorite aspects of Thanksgiving are the traditions my family maintains.

On Thanksgiving morning, we awake to the tempting aromas of turkey which has been cooking in the oven since the middle of the night.

We have a very, very light breakfast as we watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and continue preparations for the afternoon’s feast.

It is also tradition for my father to select a turkey much larger than necessary for the occasion. While it may seem silly, I realized years ago that his intentions were perfectly logical: leftovers.

Our Thanksgiving table largely consists of foods similar to many other families’ tables.

Besides the centerpiece turkey and supporting acts of mashed potatoes and gravy, you can always find some staples on our table: stuffing that was STUFFED inside the turkey; the coveted baskets of crescent rolls; cranberry sauce from the can with those ridges; pumpkin pie, or as my grandmother says it, “punkin” pie; and that eerie mint green goop with marshmallows that goes by several names.

With such a large amount of food we could never dream of consuming, the days following Thanksgiving are full of leftovers of hot turkey and gravy sandwiches.

After our meal, my family proceeds into wishbone splitting, football watching and card game playing, always guaranteed to mix laughter with friendly competition.

Perhaps the most touching part of the holiday is reflecting on what we are thankful for.

This Thanksgiving I can say that I am thankful for a loving and supportive family, friends I can rely on and confide in, a job that allows me to have new experiences every day and the opportunities I continue to be presented with so that I may pursue my passions.

During my study abroad trip in college, my classmates and I were in London for Thanksgiving.

It was the first Thanksgiving I had spent away from home and away from my family.

And although I was thousands of miles away across the pond, somehow the spirit of the holiday made me even more thankful for everything.

This will be my first holiday season in Rutherford County, and I am already thankful for the hard work the pantries, shelters, churches and next door neighbors here do to ensure every citizen has the opportunity to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal and have something to be thankful for.

May everyone have a happy Thanksgiving!