Thanksgiving: More than just a holiday
December 8, 2016
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Blueprints and seating charts line the tables, and the itinerary for the week is emailed out to the entire family a month in advance. Junior Megan LaMendola and her family load up their Honda Odyssey minivan with snacks, games, and people in preparation for the annual eleven hour trek to Columbus, Ohio.
“My family has a major get-together every year to celebrate Thanksgiving. My cousins and my aunt and uncle live in Columbus, and we have been going up there for the holidays ever since we moved to Arkansas when I was three. We will be staying at their house for the week. My family and I are part of the original clan,” LaMendola said.
This is no small gathering. On average, there are 30 to 35 family members in attendance each year. These members range in age from nine months old to 102 years old, and the large number of people allows for massive group games and activities.
“We play games in big groups such as Tripoli and Scattergories, and this year we may even go to an NHL hockey game. We also have ping pong and football tournaments with up to 20 players. When I was younger, my cousins and I put on a hockey tournament for the adults at a small hockey rink they built at their house,” LaMendola said.
After all of the fun and games, LaMendola spends time eating and talking with family members that she only gets to see once a year.
“Over the years we have had family come from California, Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, New Jersey, New York, Florida, and Alabama. We normally have to cook two turkeys because there are so many people. We also have creamed corn, two types of stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, potato casserole, and rolls,” LaMendola said.
When the week comes to a close, LaMendola finds herself having to say goodbye to her family members. Her immediate family leaves at midnight in order to maximize the time spent with together, and they drive all through the night to get back home. LaMendola refers to Columbus, Ohio, as “the best place on earth to spend Thanksgiving break.”
“It is very hard to leave my family, and I go into a mini depression for a little while after it is over. The trip is so fun, but it is always so sad when it is over. I am always looking forward to the next year when I get to see all of my family members again,” LaMendola said.