Finding the meaning of Thanksgiving


This past Thanksgiving, I welcomed the opportunity to go up to the cottage and see my family. Since starting university, I have become grateful for these times to talk and catch up with family and friends, something that I didn’t appreciate years ago.  
Thanksgiving gives us the opportunity to go back home and remember those precious moments to help us refuel for the midterms and essays that lay ahead.
As I walked in the door of my family’s cottage, the sweet smells of apple and pumpkin pie warming in the oven tantalized my nose; I could already taste the gravy made from turkey fat that was bubbling on the stove next to a fresh pot of mashed potatoes.  
There are many things that never change at Thanksgiving, and I welcome these traditions. Without fail, it hails every Thanksgiving at my cottage, so I now make sure to pack a warm coat.

Cards will, without a doubt, be brought out for this serious card-playing family.

Nearly everyone has a post-turkey nap, with my uncle Brian and my dad teeth and cheek for the loudest person snoring.   

Two years ago, there occurred a Thanksgiving memory that we will never forget. My dad’s family was celebrating the holiday at the family cottage.

My cousin Reilly, after many complaints at the table about the gravy, convinced my cousin Kyle to try it, who believed, like the rest of us, that he just didn’t like his special gluten-free gravy.   
To our surprise, it was in fact salad dressing he and my dad had both drenched their food in. He went up to replace his plate, yet my dad quietly ate unaware of this mix-up because he didn’t want to offend my grandma. Every Thanksgiving since, we always bring up this funny memory and remind them both to take the gravy. 
What is the meaning of Thanksgiving? We all know that Thanksgiving originated from the pilgrims, but for students it means a time to fill your face with home-cooked meals, something that runs slim back at school. It can also mean spending a fun time with extended family or being forced to endure a complete nightmare.  

There are those Thanksgiving moments that make you just smile and throw your head back and laugh, knowing all too well that love them or hate them, this is your family.  

Long ago, my dad started to wave his hands in excitement, which he loves to do as he shares his stories from the “good old days.” This time, it was the famous pie story where my great grandmother had once exclaimed, when pie was being cut into multiple slices, that it should only be cut into two.  

This is a story my entire family has already heard a million times before, so much so that my sister Emily finishes the story with my great grandmother’s memorable phrase, “Don’t cut the pie into eight pieces because I can only eat two!”  

As the cousins leave the cafeteria-long line of people with our overflowing plates in hand, we all assemble at our all too familiar “kids’ table,” something that will not grow old with age.  
After dinner is done, the cousins relax only momentarily for when we hear those tidbits of conversations about sex out of our parents’ mouths, we know it’s time to go play cards and board games. It can be a little reassuring knowing it’s only the full glasses of red and white wine talking, joking and howling with laughter at this point.

While Thanksgiving appears to be all about the food, I think the food fosters an environment where family and friends can reconnect to remember why they are so lucky to have one another.

While I eat my turkey leftovers for the next couple of days, I will reflect on the moments of bonding, sarcasm, alcohol and laughter that occurred with my family during my Thanksgiving weekend.

Serving the Waterloo campus, The Cord seeks to provide students with relevant, up to date stories. We’re always interested in having more volunteer writers, photographers and graphic designers.