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80 people and pink stuff: A not-so-typical Thanksgiving

Not everybody's Thanksgiving are the same. Gina Roth's Thanksgiving often consists of 80 people.
Not everybody's Thanksgiving are the same. Gina Roth's Thanksgiving often consists of 80 people.

I never considered my mom’s side of the family, the Logans, as unconventional. I never thought  Thanksgiving with the Logans was strange. 

When I was little, all I cared about at dinner was scarfing down pink stuff — a whipped cream, strawberry and jello concoction created in the depths of the Midwest — and playing Guitar Hero on my cousin’s PlayStation.

It was my own little tradition, just one in the sea of tradition intertwined with the day.

My Nana’s farm, where my Thanksgiving dinner is held every year, is in a tiny town — not even big enough for a stoplight. Younger me thought I was related to everyone living there because everyone at the church seemed to be an aunt, uncle or cousin.

Every time I visited the farm, my family consumed me, and Thanksgiving was no different. Our gathering was always ginormous. When I was younger, I didn't even grasp how many people were there. They just swarmed around me. 

We would wake up the morning of Thanksgiving, my Nana’s and the surrounding family houses filled to the brim with relatives, to run the “Turkey Ramble.” This is like your average turkey trot, except it’s populated only by people attending the Logan Thanksgiving dinner later that day. 

The racers would start at my great grandmother’s old house and run, or walk, the mile to my nana’s, where shots of Fireball and Irish cream liquor were waiting.

Then it’s time to cook. Every oven in the vicinity was used. My aunt roasted squash at the church. My cousins cooked and mashed the potatoes they had peeled all night before. Someone would mysteriously produce the pink stuff.

Next, we would dress in the stretchiest formal attire we had and head to my great aunt’s, where all of our food, along with assigned seats, would be waiting for us.

I never thought it was weird that we had three different dining room tables with turkeys on each end. I never thought our dessert table with dozens of pies, precariously stacked cakes and chocolate eclairs were out of the ordinary.I didn't even think it was weird that we stood up and sang before we ate every year.

Then I grew up, and people started telling me it was weird. 

“What do you mean you have 80 people at Thanksgiving this year?”

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I didn’t think it was that many.

“What do you mean you eat pink stuff?”

I don't know. It’s delicious. I don't ask questions.

I began to think: “Huh, maybe this is weird.”

But so what if it is? Of course, my college-educated farming family with solar panels and Obama campaign slogans on their barns are a little unconventional. It’s not what most people expect. Why should our Thanksgiving be any different?

So, come November when I’m putting on my Sunday best to sing in a house filled with almost as many people as my high school, a third of whom with names I don't even know, I’m not thinking about how weird my situation is. 

I’m thinking about how excited I am to eat.

Gina Roth is a third-year student majoring in journalism and individualized studies. This is her first year writing for the student. She likes writing stories that make people think.