What the holidays mean to me: a personal account of Thanksgiving dinner

Gabbie Bunton is a reporter for the College Heights Herald in Fall 2019.

GabBunton

The time has come where you can sit your ramen noodles down, forget about meal swipes and and get some real food. I speak on behalf of college students everywhere when I say the holiday break is a time to take advantage of home cooking.

For Thanksgiving, my mother, my sister and I always go to Murray, Kentucky, to visit the rest of our family and get some good food.

My family may be small, but we pack a mean punch when it comes getting a full-course meal. Due to our busy schedules, we tend to eat out or just find a quick fix like pizza rolls or cereal, but Thanksgiving is a time to show out.

The trip takes about two hours to get there, but the time is well spent. We catch up with each other and just enjoy each other’s presence while listening to my mom’s old playlist filled of Erykah Badu and Jill Scott.

I can honestly say I cherish times like this. Every year, we get older, and adulthood claims our lives, so we try as much as we can to get back to where we were all in the same household.

When we first arrive in Murray, good memories start to play in my head: From when I spent my summers here to the many times we’ve just come to visit or go out shopping, it’s easy for me to see Murray has always been a staple of my childhood.

We next approach the house of my Aunt Pie and Uncle Big Mike, which is always packed with my younger cousins. You know how every family has those boujee cousins that always look good and pop out? That’s us. No matter what family event we go to, we are always the best dressed.

Upon greeting the family, we are bombarded with hugs, compliments and questions about everything going on with us. We take time to laugh, reminisce and spend time with one another before moving to another house.

We all drive over to my cousin Carlton’s house, where everyone can fit and be seated. The house is filled with cousins galore and also the food.

While we reminisce and anticipate the food ahead, smells of turkey, sausage balls, dressing, gravy, macaroni and cheese, green beans, sweet potatoes, corn pudding, deviled eggs, pumpkin and chocolate pie (need I go on?) waft around the house. In my family, we always get estimated times of when the food will be ready, but they never stick.

It takes about two or three hours and that’s even when all the food isn’t prepared. While we wait for everyone either gets irritated or busy themselves with their phone, unavoidable conversations about my love life and school, or watching the kids do the latest crazes the find on the internet.

When the food is ready, we form an assembly line, sadly letting the kids go first. But when we all get our food, we sit around the house: People are placed in the living room, hallways, kitchen, the porch, the bedrooms — anywhere you can get a seat.

While we all slowly collapse into a food coma, we eat in silence and have little conversation due to our appetites being sated by the food we have been waiting on all month. When we all finish, the kids are responsible for throwing away trash and cleaning the dishes.

The conversation keeps going into the night, and we eventually play a game of “Family Feud.” While both teams battle back and forth, nothing but laughter and happiness spreads throughout the house.

Eventually, we leave each other one by one. We say goodbye to everyone and make promises for the next holidays and so forth.

The drive back to Bowling Green is nostalgic, just remembering the fun time in the past and present in Murray — one of the best and most fun times of the year — not for the holiday but for the family time we get to have.

As I have grown older, I’ve witnessed my family grow apart and grow up in the process. But no matter what, the holidays are a sacred time for me and my family to sit back and enjoy each other.

Features reporter Gabby Bunton can be reached at [email protected]