A Holiday Story called The Best Thanksgiving Ever!
**This story is actually a mixture of many wonderful Thanksgivings at the cabin in Illinois. My reflection on why I wrote this holiday story is at the end. Enjoy**
My family and I were going to “The Cabin” again! I was so happy because we hadn’t been there in 2 years! We were driving there and I was eating Chex Mix, my favorite road trip snack food.
dogs make me happy
“Mama,” I asked, “are Acona and Remington going to be there?”. “They’ll be there,” she said. YAY! Akona is Aunt Debbie and Uncle Todd’s black lab dog with hazel eyes and Remington, Remy for short, is Aunt Becky and Uncle John’s chocolate lab dog. He has big brown eyes and is the size of a mini pony. Seriously, I don’t know what’s wrong with that dog, it’s huge. I love dogs and don’t have one, yet, so this made me very happy!
“We’re almost there,” said Dad, “we have to drive up the hill and through the forest a bit.” So, I got on my shoes and looked out the window. We were surrounded by trees with frost all over. After almost hitting a tree due to the huge slippery hill, we made it!
I gasped..there it is. The beautiful, long, dark-colored cabin with a pond and boathouse in the back, surrounded by trees. I’m so excited and happy.
“Remy, Akona!” I yelled. I jumped out of the car and immediately ran towards them. The snow was hard to run in, but it had been a long time since I had seen them, so I didn’t care. Once I reached them, I hugged them so much but did not kiss them because they were wet.
“What have you two been up to?” I asked. As dogs do, they barked and just tried to pull me inside. I walked back to the car and got my stuff and followed the dogs inside. As you walk in, there’s a big entryway for coats, boots, hunting stuff, like bows and treestands, and there’s lots of camouflage.
On the left is a door to a suite with its own kitchen, bathroom, living room and bedroom. To the right, is the door which leads into a long hallway with 6 other bedrooms and a bathroom at the end of this long hallway. We go to the right and pick out our bedroom. The left side is for my Aunt Debbie and Uncle Todd. It’s their cabin so we allow it.
Each room has a name, which is so cool. I only remember Sweet Cherry and Brown Hazelnut. Our family was in the Sweet Cherry room.
“Kinley! Brecken! You got so big!” Ryann yelled. The whole gang appeared in our bedroom! Ryann, Kaley, Aunt Becky and Uncle John. Kendall, Sydney, Aunt Debie, Uncle Todd.
Everyone was there… hugging, kissing, and barking (the dogs). My family quickly unpacked and met them downstairs.
the best kitchen ever
When you walked downstairs, there was a huge kitchen on the left! There were 2 stoves, 2 dishwashers and on the counter was always lots of food! Chips, dips, cereal, dog food, cookies, cake, jugs of water, eggnog, and lots of other snacks were always out for everyone! The counter was gigantic and we hung out there a lot. On the right side were a huge couch, some recliner chairs, and a flat-screen tv.
Did I mention this was a hunting cabin so there were a lot of stuffed dead animals? It used to creep me out the first year but I got used to it. I would even dress them up a little.
Across from the kitchen are sliders that lead out to a lake and a hill. It’s like a basement but the upstairs only has bedrooms and a bathroom so it’s really the main floor. “Cannonball!” yelled Brecken and jumped on the couch.
I was sitting on the fireplace, which had already been built up to roaring fire and Akona came running over. We both jumped on the couch and I snuggled with him. Soon, it was time to go to bed but Akona and Remy were all hyped up and chasing each other.
tomorrow we’ll go for a long walk, boys.
We went to bed.
The next morning I woke up and it was Thanksgiving! I heard people downstairs making breakfast so I went downstairs. Just to let you know, my littlest cousin is 15 years old, so Brecken and I are the youngest. My cousins love on us all the time and always pay lots of attention to us. It’s great! I sat between Ryann and Kendall to eat.
“Do you have the list of jobs?” I asked Ryann.
“No, Aunt Becky does,” she said. “Well. do you know who I’m with and what I’m doing?”
“Yes, you are with me and we’re doing croissants,” Ryann told me. Yay! and I hugged her. Then, I ate my Honey Nut Cheerios.
Each person has a buddy and a job to get ready for Thanksgiving. Last year, I was with Aunt Becky and daddy doing the turkey, Yuck! I did not want that job again.
Did you know that when you have to do the turkey, you have to stick your hand up its butt? No, thanks.
Ry got done with her Frosted mini-wheats and she and I went to go get dressed.
Brecken was just getting up and climbing down the ladder of one of the bunk beds when I walked in. I got dressed and started off towards the bathroom. I was halfway down the long hallway when I slipped on my butt. Laughter echoed in the long hall. It was Brecken laughing at me. Giggling with her, I carefully walked to the bathroom. I brushed my teeth and hair and went to meet Ryann who was getting ready to walk the dogs.
I hooked the leash and we went outside into the fresh, crisp, clean air. We walked up the hill, around the pond, and walked back. We worked up quite a sweat so we took showers and changed.
Afterwards, I put on my Thanksgiving dress to help cook. It has a turkey on it, of course, with brown, red, yellow, black, orange, and purple in the background. I put on my white tights and headed downstairs to help start cooking. and We also had on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Everyone else was already busy cooking, mixing, baking, and laughing. Boy, can my family laugh! It’s one of my favorite things about my family. We laugh with each other and at each other all the time. We tease and make fun of each other and laugh about it. It’s no big deal because we love each other.
Kendall and Sydney were on decoration duty, Aunt Becky and Daddy were giggling hysterically cleaning out the turkey and making butt jokes, Aunt Debbie and Kaley were peeling potatoes, Uncle John and Todd were making pies (apple and pumpkin), my mom was making the green bean casserole (because no one else does it right, according to her) and Ry and I were rolling out the croissants. There was also sweet potato pie already done and South Dakota Corn going in the crockpot.
As we were folding the croissants, we heard a CRASH. The turkey fell to the ground out of the hands of Aunt Beck and Daddy. Those two were staring at each other laughing so Ryann and I went over and picked it. They cleaned it off and threw it in the oven. It ended up being awesome.
When preparations were done, the 3 boys went off hunting and us 9 girls snuggled on the couch to watch A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. I quickly grabbed one of Kaley’s fuzzy blankets (they’re the best) and laid with mom and Ryann.
We watch all the Charlie Brown holiday movies!. My favorite is the Halloween one but they’re all great. They’re more like shows instead of movies because they’re super short, I wish they were longer.
I ended up falling asleep but quickly woke when I heard the word, “Phase 10”. I shot right up, zoomed to the kitchen, and got in the game. We played lots of games, card games, and always had a puzzle going. Twister was the best!
After Charlie Brown, the parade, games and naps, the Detroit Lions game started. Not only was the game on now but there was lots of yelling. See, the Lions play every Thanksgiving and the Lions lose every Thanksgiving. Yet, my family keeps believing that they are going to win and they look forward to it each year. We wear our jerseys and cheer them on.
One year, 2 of my cousins wore their Packer jerseys. I was okay with that because I love Aaron. We all love Aaron.
As expected, at halftime the Lions were already down but that’s okay BECAUSE at Halftime…WE EAT!
I will never forget that wonderful smell of the wood-burning fireplace and all the smells from the food cooking. Can a smell make you feel safe, happy and loved?
Dinner was ready and we were starving! This is weird because we had been eating snacks and appetizers all day. Anyway, we all sat down, said prayers, and did our traditional go around the table and say what we’re thankful for. Mine’s always the same- I’m thankful that we’re all together for Thanksgiving.
After prayers, I hit up the mashed potatoes first! It’s what I mostly eat at Thanksgiving. I don’t really care for turkey, no offense Aunt Becky, and Daddy. As we were eating, we all of a sudden heard Sydney scream, “Who ate all the turkey?” Everyone looked around with strange looks on their faces because how could we be out of turkey? We ALWAYS have leftovers.
And then we noticed in the corner….the dogs. “Nooooo! BAD DOGS!” everyone yelled. Remy and Akona had stolen the turkey from the counter and quietly went into the corner, where we couldn’t see them and they feasted. The dogs took off running after we yelled at them and we were out of turkey.
When we looked at what was left, everyone busted out laughing. It’s just like my family to laugh through a disaster.
After dinner, after dessert, and after the Lions lost, we all sat down and watched the Wizard of Oz.
One by one, someone sneaks off, goes upstairs and goes to sleep. After all, it’s been a long day.
The next few days consisted of football, eating, hunting (not me), more eating, walks, and snuggles. This is on repeat until we all have to go back to our daily lives, which is Saturday.
We got up and it was time to go. It’s super sad. We packed up our stuff, threw it in our cars, and said our goodbyes. Lastly, I said goodbye to the cabin, “See ya next year!” But next year never came…
***This isn’t an exciting story but IT IS one that’s special to me. I remember looking around the room at one point and thinking of how much I deeply love these people, how they love each other, and how happy I am. So many hugs, snuggles and laughs over those weeks together throughout the years. So much time enjoying each other, I thought it would last forever.
But, things change, life gets busy and we no longer have the cabin. It makes me very sad. Not because of the cabin itself, although it was super cool, but because we all don’t get together at Thanksgiving anymore. A few of us here and there but not all of us. My family is everything.
As much as it hurts to look back, I am grateful for those times and how happy I felt. I may have been little but I remember everything about those Thanksgivings. They are my most cherished memories.
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