Thanksgiving Memories

With Thanksgiving approaching, I’ve thought back over some memorable such holidays in the past. Two were strange enough I wanted to share them with you.

The first one was probably in 1956. Our family, along with two others, had a cabin in Ute Park, New Mexico, 7500 feet up in the mountains. It was built for summer use, and compared to our Texas heat the weather was delightful. Our air conditioning system consisted of a six or eight inch gap between the walls and the roof, which was very pleasant in the summer.

That year, we decided to spend Thanksgiving in the cabin. As we soon learned, that gap was a bit less helpful this time of year with morning lows of five, four, and six degrees for the days we were there. There was no provision for heat in the place, since it was a summer cabin, so opening the oven door was the only way to get any heat into the place. We bundled up in heavy clothes when we got out of bed, and kept them on all day, whether we went outside or not.

Somehow, we made it through the ordeal, and on our last day there, we came up with another brilliant idea. We would cut one of the abundant pine trees and haul it 600 miles back home to serve as our Christmas tree. The worst cuss word my father knew was “damn,” but he used it liberally on the drive home. I don’t know how many times the front end of the tree came untied, but it was several, and each time we would have to pull over and stop and reattach it. Lots of fun.

The other memorable Thanksgiving was in 1982. My 13 year-old daughter was flying from Oklahoma City to Lubbock to be with me. As always, there was a plane change at DFW—there are few places you can fly directly to from either OKC or Lubbock—and she got snowed in at DFW.

Fortunately, my wife had a sister who lived in the area, and she drove through the storm to the airport and took my daughter home with her for the night. The next morning the planes still weren’t flying, so we drove down to get her, missing the normal turkey time in the process.

Time had dimmed my memory of the details, but I think we ended up spending a day or less at home with her before we had to put her on a plane to return. Not exactly what we had planned.

What SNAFU’s have you incurred through the years trying to get family together for this holiday?


We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.


For more information about David N. Walker, click the “About” tab above.

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About David N. Walker

David N. Walker is a Christian husband, father and grandfather, a grounded pilot and a near-scratch golfer who had to give up the game because of shoulder problems. A graduate of Duke University, he spent 42 years in the health insurance industry, during which time he traveled much of the United States. He started writing about 20 years ago and has been a member and leader in several writers' groups. Christianity 101: The Simplified Christian Life, the devotional Heaven Sent and the novella series, Fancy, are now available in paperback and in Kindle and Nook formats, as well as through Smashwords and Kobo. See information about both of these by clicking "Books" above.
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10 Responses to Thanksgiving Memories

  1. I’m fortunate in that we really haven’t had very many serious or funny get together snafus for the holidays. 🙂


  2. Lynn says:

    I have no memory of the Thanksgiving in which I was snowed in. Interesting. My family has at least one Thanksgiving and one Christmas in which we had the violent stomach virus. That is always a fun bonding time.


  3. Barb Estinson says:

    Brrr …. Yes, I remember we were so cold in Ute Park … but how in heck do you remember the exact morning temps? I had forgotten about Dad and the Christmas tree. Damn it all anyway! It did give us some memories, didn’t it? Like Kristy, my oven went kaput two Thanksgivings in a row … I ended up doing the turkey in an electric roaster we borrowed from the church. One of the most fun Thanksgiving memories was just a few years ago .. in about 2008, when all of Joe’s Spokane family and both Ashly and Kelsy (and Dion, Danner, and Westin) were here, and we all played Apples to Apples …. such a fun day.


    • Guess those temps made a bigger impression on me than on you, Sis. I’m not sure I have them in the right order, but those were definitely the low temperatures for the three mornings we were there.


  4. Sharon K. Walker says:

    Interesting tales. Rowena was a sweet sister to risk the storm to pick up Lynn and take her home with her. Ah, the precious memories of Thanksgivings gone by! I do remember one Thanksgiving when I was in my twenties. I experimented with sage dressing and evidently added way too much sage because no one could eat it — including me! Happy Thanksgiving, all!


  5. Exciting times! I’ve never heard of a cabin like the one you described. When you said something about cutting down a tree, I thought it was going to be to fill in the gaps. 🙂

    I can only remember one Thanksgiving that was a little different. We were living in an apartment and the oven stopped working. The landlady didn’t want to replace it so I wound up having to bake pies, rolls, and then the turkey in a big electric roasting pan. The burners still worked, so that helped. Thank God for the roasting pan because the landlady never did replace the stove, so I used it for Christmas and then Easter before I said enough and bought my own stove. 😀


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