Thanksgiving, one of my favorite holidays of the year! It’s the one day of the year it isn’t weird to tell all of my friends and family how thankful I am to have them around and how much I love them! Across America, everyone does things a little different, but for me, Thanksgiving is all about Family Traditions!!
For 19 years I have been going to Faison, North Carolina on Thanksgiving day to my Aunt Hazel’s house! Every year we have around 100 people! It is an amazing day that I am incredibly thankful for! Everyone that comes brings a covered dish on top of the delicious food that Aunt Hazel makes! Her kitchen is covered in food and that doesn’t include the laundry room that is covered in desserts of all kinds.
The day starts out with everyone trickling in from across the state and simple greetings of love with hugs for everyone as they walk in. Around lunch we all head inside in the tiny living room, hold hands, and thank God for the amazing family that we have. We are extremely lucky to all be able to come together the way that we do, so we must praise God for that chance! After our prayer, it’s time to eat! Turkey and Stuffing, the traditional Thanksgiving Day foods, are always the last thing on my plate because there are so many other things that are so important to make sure to add first! Ranch Potatoes, Hash brown Casserole, Country Ham, Deviled Eggs, Homemade Creamed Corn, Homemade Green Beans, and so much more! (These are things I put on my plate, the other things I don’t put on my plate include, Homemade Collard Greens, Fresh Quail, Homemade Chicken and Dumplings, Broccoli Casserole, Pineapple Casserole, Sweet Potatoes, etc. (The List goes on forever)) After going back for seconds, it is time to jump on the room full of desserts! Coconut Cake, German Chocolate Cake, Chess Cake, Rice Crispie Treats, Cornflake Candy, Pecan Pie, homemade fudge, and of course, TURKEY COOKIES!!! There is so much food, you actually have to go back for seconds on food and desserts just to ensure to get a small bite of all of it.
After visiting with the family for a while, it’s time for the annual McNeill Family Hay Ride! The whole family packs into the hay of a truck and trailer and head down the road to the “Bear Swamp Taxidermy” which is odd to most people, but to my family, it is simply tradition. There are stuffed animals that range from deer to cheetahs. The Taxidermy also includes a few live animals which includes peacocks of all kinds, including two albino ones! If you put the pictures of the peacocks together year after year, you can probably see a very easy line of growth between the years. There are also some live ducks, dogs, and sometimes kittens! After visiting the Taxidermy, we head down the road to a family friend’s house and we get to hang out by the lake for a while! it is a great place to get family photos taken and swing in the one person hammock. After visiting there, it is time to head back to Aunt Hazel’s house!
Guess what now? It’s time to eat again!! Before everyone gears up to leave, it is time for another plate of food and ziplocs full of leftovers to be taken home! This is the best time of year for any of the food that is anywhere in that kitchen, so leftovers must be taken! Soon after everyone begins to head home, but not before we all pitch in to make sure it is cleaned up! It’s a long day, but I wouldn’t give it up for the world. The end of the day always ends with a beautiful sunset that shows all of us how wonderful God is that he has brought us together in this place!
Thanksgiving Day in my family is a big deal and it is the one time of the year that we get to see everyone, but it is a wonderful thing! The next best thing about it, YOU’RE ALL INVITED!! We have always said, the more the merrier and I can promise you one thing. Once you come to a McNeill Family Thanksgiving, you’ll be there year after year! I love my family, our traditions, and especially the blessings that God has given me!