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Thanksgiving Memories

I'm not having the best of Thanksgivings.  I spent the majority of today on the couch attempting to finally kick a particularly persistent virus out of my system.  It has gotten the better of me for a week.  On Monday, the doctor said I was just one of the latest victims and to expect a 2 week battle.  He sent me home empty-handed since antibiotics wouldn't help.  I pushed it too hard yesterday with skiing and dinner activities, but today I feel like I'm just about there.  My hope was to rally for both the Montana Tech Men's Basketball game and the Jazz game, but it didn't happen.  So I'm watching the Jazz and Kings on TV while Terry and Christian are at the game.  It takes a lot for me to miss a basketball game and although I'm bummed, it was definitely the right decision.  I wish my cold was the main reason for my Thanksgiving attitude, but we also learned on Wednesday that Christian has to do another series of chemo treatments since his scans weren't cancer-free.  So many emotions, but Christian probably said it best with this picture he posted on Wednesday night.

This is the 2nd Thanksgiving in 4 years where we've spent the day with close friends and had a wonderful time but an unwanted guest named lymphoma has been present.  Joe has been cancer-free for years and we'll be saying the same of Christian on future Thanksgivings, but neither of them or their families should have to deal with it in the first place.  I am very thankful that we live a few miles from world class care at the Huntsman Cancer Institute and we all are here to help.
Young healthy guys are not supposed to get cancer.  Especially 2 of 3!
Thinking about these past Thanksgivings, my mind wandered down memory lane.  Most were wonderful and whether the time was spent with family, friends, or alone, it is a good time to stop and be grateful for all the things and people in our lives.

My first memories of Thanksgiving were growing up in Anaconda with family miles away in Colorado and Kansas.  In our small town, it was uncommon not to have lots of family living nearby.  There were a few other families like us that were essentially alone so we joined forces and celebrated Thanksgiving together.  If I remember correctly, we rotated between homes and each family brought dishes to honor their own traditions.  I also remember having to try at least a spoonful of everything and my favorite dish was mashed potatoes.  I'm sure if there was snow, I skied all morning, which is a tradition Terry and I have carried forward.
Italy Thanksgiving 2000

Once in college, my Thanksgiving memories are all about basketball games.  Our season started in November and the long weekend usually involved a tournament or at least a couple games.  Depending on our location, I would bring home teammates for a quick meal with my family or we would eat as a team on the road.

I don't remember the Thanksgivings between college and meeting Terry.  I know I never signed up to host dinner or cook a turkey, but I'm sure I flew home to Montana or was invited to celebrate with co-workers or friends.  In 2000, I flew my parents and brother to Italy where I was living/working and they had a week's vacation while I worked on an SAP Go-Live.  I'm sure they ate pizza on Thanksgiving and then on my one day off, we drove to Pisa and Cinque Terre for pesto and sightseeing.  Terry had just proposed in October and it was the last Thanksgiving with just the 4 of us.

The following year I was a married woman and we had a new home in Boise and were host to Terry's family and others including Sharon and Rob.  I don't remember the details but I'm sure Sharon helped us get edible food on the table.  My memory of that night is both of us drunk, exhausted, and sitting on the dining room floor after everyone left, talking about the possibility of a move to Montana.  We moved in February and spent the 2002 holiday in Helena with my parents.  Then just a few months later, we moved to Park City.
Boise Thanksgiving - we even had name tags!
I'm not sure which year, but it was one of the 1st couple in Utah that we spent Thanksgiving alone and had an amazing time.  We skied powder all day then Terry made a heaping plate of nachos.  We were really starting to realize how great it was to be in a resort town during the holidays.  In 2006, we spent a couple days at Brian Head skiing and celebrating my nephew Charlie's first Thanksgiving.
Charlie's 1st Thanksgiving - with Emily and her parents
We moved into our current home in 2007, and I officially offered to host Thanksgiving for my family.  I went overboard on the menu, but with Mom and Emily's help we got everything cooked and even saved the ham.  The weather was nice enough that Terry went for a bike ride, which has also become a tradition.
Terry giving me the "it's a good thing you didn't burn the ham" look
We stayed home again the following year since Terry had just had knee surgery and were invited to Kelly's parents for dinner.  Joe had been diagnosed and was starting treatments.  He, Kelly, and I had also started a vegan diet as his doctor had recommended.  Kelly's Mom was awesome and made both traditional and vegan dishes.  We felt like a part of the family and had a nice time.  The best memory from that day was Kelly's announcement that JB was on the way!

For 2009, we drove to Montana and celebrated for several days with my family and friends.  It was so much fun to spend quality time with Annette and her family, the Kellers, and of course both my nephews!  My youngest nephew has many food allergies, so my Mom made a couple Henry & Jenny friendly dishes but otherwise had a large traditional dinner.  We took part in the Turkey Trot, the Christmas Tree Lighting, and other activities around Helena.  Gina was even in town and we had time for a trail run.
Turkey Trot Capes - Me, Annette, and the kids
The following Thanksgiving, we were blessed with snow.  Terry's family planned to drive from Idaho and Montana to spend the weekend at our house and were delayed until Thursday due to storms then had to leave Saturday to avoid another system.  I wasn't cooking, mainly because my arm was in a sling from shoulder surgery but also because his family preferred traditional dinner and had certain dishes in mind that weren't vegan.  We had a very late dinner and my main memory is doing dishes with Terry at midnight after everyone else had gone to bed.  On Friday, there was a shopping group and a skiing group and then we all met for nachos at a pub.
Terry and his family at PCMR
Last year, we stayed at home and had Thanksgiving for Two.  We really enjoyed ourselves and planned to do the same this year unless something came up.  Terry was still deciding on his menu item, but was leaning toward another lasagna.  After Christian learned about the scans, they had to cancel their California trip, so we decided to have Thanksgiving together.  We spent the morning skiing with the girls and then watched football and ate an amazing meal.  Corrie planned the menu and ended up making almost everything and it was all delicious.  I made a few experimental vegan dishes and Terry took care of apps and dessert.  After a busy day, the adults weren't too far behind the girls when it came to bedtime.
2012 Thanksgiving - casual and comfortable (we all wore our pajamas)
So even though there have been better Thanksgivings, we all made the best of it and had a wonderful time just enjoying each other's company and being thankful for a great friendship.  We'll likely ski a few more times this weekend and Terry still owes everyone a slice of his famous lasagna he's promised to cook.  I'm already looking forward to Thanksgiving 2013 when we can toast good health and that f'in lymphoma is long gone.


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