“A Crazy Thanksgiving,” Nov. 19, 2019

It’s about to get crazy in here. That’s what my grandson Wiley used to say when the monster truck video he was watching kicked into high gear.

It’s also a good description for what will soon (Lord willing and Cosco doesn’t sell out of turkeys) take place in my life.

And probably in your life, too.

It’s called Thanksgiving, that wonderful holiday when family and friends gather for three important reasons:

(1) To give thanks for a wealth of blessings; (2) To enjoy being with those who are present and remember those who are not; and (3) To stuff themselves tighter than an over-stuffed turkey.

Not necessarily in that order.

It’s my favorite holiday, next to Christmas, because, well, Christmas is hard to beat. But favorite doesn’t mean easiest. Easiest is probably Labor Day when all we do is take a day off from work.

There was a time in my life when Thanksgiving wasn’t crazy at all, before I became the host.

As a child, Thanksgiving took place at my grandparents’ cracker box house, with their nine married daughters and more grandchildren than we could count. There were so many of us we had to eat in shifts — men first, then the kids and finally the women, who would put their feet up and eat and gossip for a while before cleaning up the mess. All I had to do was chase my cousins around the yard and watch the boys try to kill each other with sticks. I loved it.

Then I grew up, married and had babies. But I still didn’t have to host. I just drove 120 miles to my in-law’s house with my husband, three kids and a store-bought pie and sat down to eat. I loved that, too.

After my first husband died of cancer, lots of things changed in my life, including holidays. My kids, who were mostly grown, decided it was time to celebrate Thanksgiving at home.

I did most of the cooking, but nobody complained. We included longtime friends who felt like family and everyone helped. It got a bit crazy at times, with hosting and cooking and trying to figure out which end of a turkey to stuff. But I loved every crazy bit of it.

When I remarried, my new husband and I formed a blended family with our five adult children. Then things starting getting really crazy — and I don’t just mean holidays.

Four of the five kids got married. We had so many big weddings my husband and I kept a separate closet for our wedding clothes. Then the kids started having babies. Eight babies in eight years.

This Thanksgiving will be a bit different. My husband and I moved recently to a much smaller place barely big enough for us, let alone, for 20. So my daughter and her husband, bless them, offered to host (and to do all the cooking!) at their home.

Our out-of-town kids will arrive various days and times. Some will stay with us, others will bed at a rental nearby. Everyone will help, even the little people. The older kids will chase their cousins around the yard. And the babies, Bea and Jonah, will keep us laughing.

My job will change, too. Instead of wrestling a turkey, I’ll simply be thankful for my ever-growing family and my ever-changing life. I will love it.

Two traditions, for me, will remain the same. I’ll make a list of my blessings, all the things for which I’m thankful. The list grows longer every year. And I will set two tables: A long one in my daughter’s dining room for all the friends and loved ones who are with us; and a much longer one in my heart for those who are not.

I’ll set a place at that second table for you, too, and hope that you will set one for me.

Here’s wishing you and yours your most thankful (and least crazy) Thanksgiving ever.


  1. Thank you for the reminder to be thankful; it seems so obvious, but this year I’ll be struggling to make the turkey gravy without my mother helping me. I’m thinking that these first holidays without her I’ll need to be quite purposeful about finding things to be thankful for.

    Blessings to you and yours.

  2. Kate Sciacca says

    There’s something to be said for that smaller house, yes? …. or moving 150 miles away… just far enough that the kids and grands don’t want to trek East but it’s not too tough for us to head west (weather permitting 😜)

    I’ll bring a couple pies and make my stuffing…but the daughter and her sisters-in-law (and SOME of my boys) will do everything else. It will be hosted in “the big house” as we all affectionately call the home our daughter and SIL inherited from his nana…. because… well… it IS big… and holds all 27 of us quite nicely 😀.

    I’ll definitely set a place for you and Papa Mark – and will remember all of you in my prayers of Thanksgiving 🙂. Enjoy it all… and remember — that miracle which says that on Thanksgiving delectable treats somehow lose all their calories… it’s TRUE!!!!! Really, it is!!!

  3. Tomas Jerles says

    Our family has grown by 2 in the last year and a half. Both babies and their parents are coming here for Thanksgiving. Only Todd’s room will be vacant until Christmas. Lots of things change, but never your heart warming stories. Love to you and your family. Wish I could see them!

  4. Happy Thanksgiving! God bless you and your family and friends.

  5. Polly Caudle says

    Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. We will have our family of children, grand children and our 14 month old Graham with us. Every one will be at our Thanksgiving table as we bless our food and tell how thankful we. I enjoy reading your articals and enjoyed seeing you in Winston-Salem last year.

  6. Bobbye Bower says

    You will always have an invitation and a place at our table. All you’ll need to do is relax and regale us with your wonderful stories. Happy Thanksgiving, Sharon.

  7. Kim Thirkell says

    Happy Thanksgiving, Sharon, to you and your family. Your stories touch me so much.

  8. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, Sharon!!!!!

  9. Taska Maybry says

    Thank you for your wonderful written stories. We are all so blessed to have a wonderful family and great friends. Happy Thanksgiving.

  10. When I start getting depressed for whatever reason I read your column and suddenly it’s ok again. I love your family stories and the way you pull it all together. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

  11. Wilma Moore says

    I am so thankful for you. And I’ll set a place for you…

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