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By John R. Nieb
Since the first Thanksgiving in 1621, holiday traditions have been passed down and some have changed. Granby families each have their own special traditions.
Arleen O’Meara celebrates Thanksgiving with her husband, Lawrence, her three children and two grandsons. O’Meara’s celebration is held at her house or one of her children’s houses. They cook and serve traditional Thanksgiving fare of turkey and all the fixings. O’Meara’s daughter makes the pies, one of her daughters-in-law makes big batches of cookies, and the other daughter-in-law makes cheesecake and the green bean casserole. O’Meara said that every year, her husband, Lawrence says grace. Then, they all dig into the food. “We all enjoy a low-keyed, laid-back kind of day,” O’Meara said. Mary McCorison said that some of her traditions have either changed or been modified over the years. Her family still gathers at her home built by her late husband’s father and his father in 1928. In years past, she planned, prepared and served the dinner. However, McCorison is now 81, and her children, their spouses and her grandchildren have taken on the preparations for the holiday they have celebrated together for 51 years.
The family dinner menu features the traditional turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, assorted winter vegetables, tossed salad, and her favorite fruit salad made with her mother’s recipe. It’s made with fruit cocktail and fresh fruit such as bananas, apples and oranges. Real whipped cream is stirred in and the salad is topped with the cream and maraschino cherries and served with the meal. Desert includes Congo bars that her son-in-law has modified because her granddaughter is a diabetic. Pie and homemade fudge complete the menu. After dinner, the family sometimes takes a walk, plays games, or takes naps. Football was the sport of the day when McCorison’s late husband was alive. Shelley Nieb has hosted Thanksgiving for 30 years for her family and her late husband’s family. Along with Nieb’s mother, two children, sister, brothers-in-law and sister-in-law, her family Thanksgiving also includes all of her nieces and their significant others.
As host for the event, her responsibilities include preparing the house, setting the table and cooking the food, which includes the turkey, stuffing, potatoes, gravy, vegetables, and cranberry sauce. Everyone pitches in with side dishes, appetizers and multiple types of pies for dessert. Nieb says that her sausage stuffing and apple and pecan pie are her favorite holiday foods. There is an annual after dinnerbefore dessert walk. Throughout the day, the television is turned on and off to check the football scores. Susan Brinegar, shared that her family’s annual Thanksgiving traditions include monkey bread for breakfast, watching Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, tossing a football outside and having dinner with her family.
“If we are home, I do the cooking,” Brinegar said. “I do the side dishes as well as the turkey.” Her husband Jack’s job is to pick up the pies from Lost Acres Orchard. The family dinner includes turkey with sage-sausage stuffing, candied carrots and lime gelatin salad. Brinegar said that the family laughs at the lime gelatin salad because nobody ever eats it, but it is a tradition— so it’s on the table. “The parade, football and dinner as a family have been my whole life,” Brinegar said. “Sometimes it is the extended clan, sometimes just us.” For the past two years, the Brinegars have gone to a friend’s house for Thanksgiving where the tradition is that they wear pajamas, and each year has a theme. It was super heroes two years ago and last year it was movies. The Brinegars chose Star Wars and wore appropriate pajamas.
“So much fun to be cozy and comfortable,” Brinegar said. The friends have glass votives or ornaments for guests to inscribe with what they are thankful for and taken them bnhome as a reminder of your gifts in life. There is also an all-day cribbage tournament that people love. “We are building new traditions that our children will know and carry forward as well,” Brinegar said. Every year, Daniel Conley celebrates Thanksgiving at maternal grandparents’ home. Conley has followed this tradition for most of his life. Conley has the responsibility of clearing the table at his family’s Thanksgiving.
The food is the traditional menu and many different types of pie, including pumpkin and apple. Conley’s favorite Thanksgiving foods are the turkey and stuffing, and his favorite dessert is key lime pie. After dinner he and his family hang out, play cards, and watch football. Conley said his favorite Thanksgiving traditions are the turkey and watching football.
David Hollm said that his families’ Thanksgiving tradition is bringing the generations together for an old-fashioned get-together. His favorite Thanksgiving foods are the turkey and his mother’s homemade stuffing. Since he loves Thanksgiving so much, his family serves a Thanksgiving lunch for his birthday on July 23. “My favorite part about Thanksgiving is having all the family in the area come together,” Hollm said. “It’s important to see and be with family.”