By Carolyne Croy
For the first time in my 20 years of Thanksgivings, my family and I deviated from our tradition of spending the holiday at our house and traveled to visit family in Tennessee.
My mom’s side of the family lives in Johnson City, and since my family lives in Northern Ohio, we don’t get to see them very often. Though it’s about a nine hour drive, my parents and I, along with my three sisters and our dog, packed into our minivan at 7am on Wednesday and began our journey to Tennessee.
After a long drive, we arrived at my aunt’s house with warm welcomes from the family. There’s nothing better than sitting by the fire surrounded by your family after a long day of travel and reminiscing on past visits and looking at old photo albums.
Thanksgiving day began early with an 8 a.m. Turkey Trot. All of the family participated in the 5k, including all three of the dogs spending Thanksgiving at my aunt’s house. My younger cousins ran the race, while my aunts, uncles, and my parents opted to stay in the walking group.
The rest of the day was spent cooking Thanksgiving dinner. My mom and I peeled potatoes as my aunt cooked the turkey and made my personal favorite part of the meal, deviled eggs.
I managed to sneak away from my cooking duties long enough with my sister and cousin to take some of out own 'family photos'. But I've never felt as short as I did then, standing next to my 15 year old cousin, and actually being shorter than her.
As if the 5k on Thanksgiving morning wasn’t enough, at 8 a.m. on Friday morning we all headed to Roan Mountain for a hike. I’d never been hiking before in my life, so I had no idea what to expect. But even though the air was frigid and I was completely winded by the time we made it to the top, the view was absolutely breathtaking and 100% worth it.
Before heading back home Saturday morning, my family made one last trip to my grandfather’s condo so he could spend time with all nine of his grandchildren. My mom had all of the cousins go around and give him a little spiel on what was going on in our lives -- our hobbies, accomplishments, and funny stories. It was great to see the way his eyes light up hearing all our stories.
Though I might’ve spent more time in the car than I did anywhere else this Thanksgiving break, I wouldn’t trade my exhausted eyes, sore back, and pile of school work for the wonderful weekend I spent with my family.