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Thanksgiving And Family

by Dan Gunderson

As we are just a day away from Thanksgiving, my second favorite holiday, I am continuously drawn back to the memories of Thanksgiving from my childhood. I am not sure if many of you shared in the same experiences, but I know my cousins might appreciate some of these.

Here are my top five favorite memories from the Thanksgiving holiday. And no, one of them is not shopping the day after Thanksgiving or the day of Thanksgiving. Gross.

5) Sitting at the kids table.

Raise your hands if your family was so big, you had to put the kids at a separate table. Ours was in this predicament but my situation was unique. On my mom’s side of the family, I was the second youngest cousin by a long shot.

On my father’s side, I was the youngest. It wasn’t that no one wanted to associate with me. It was just that I was that annoying little cousin who thought he deserved attention. I can imagine my cousins in their family car on the way to Thanksgiving saying, “No. I don’t want to sit at the same table as him. Why don’t you sit with him mom?”

4) The sleeping relative.

There is always one relative you know will be out before dessert. Ours was usually Craig on my father’s side. Craig is a bachelor but is such an ingrained part of our family that we couldn’t imagine any holiday without him.

His post-meal routine usually includes comments on the game on television, followed by the sneak attack nap. No one sees it coming but about five minutes in, we look over at Craig and the guy is out like a light. Someday, I hope to be as great at napping as he is.

3) The cousin you rarely see.

I had cousins on either side of my family I rarely saw just because they lived so far away. Thanksgiving is usually the easiest time for our family to get together because there is no added baggage of having to bring presents like at Christmas. The “to-do” list usually includes bring wine, food and beer. Oh, and more wine.

Around the second week of November, I would start asking my mom if we were going to see Cousin Ben or Colin or Coleman. All these cousins are several years older than me but that didn’t matter. I wanted to see them because they seemed way cooler than all the other cousins I had to see every week. No offense to my other cousins. I am sure they didn’t find me all that cool either.

2) Lefse.

Could my family be any more Norwegian? We had one our extended family members, Tom, bring homemade lefse to our holiday feasts. We eat our lefse by spreading butter on it and then burying it in sugar. Not sure there is any other way to eat it.

In any case, it became an eating contest between cousins. Who could finish the most lefse. My cousins Evan, Kyle and Paul battled in an epic raise. I sat with Kyle and Evan as they downed one right after another. Somewhere in the teens is where they ended up. Paul beat them, but barely.

Years later, it was revealed Paul had lied about the whole thing. He was at a separate table and every time Evan or Kyle would shout out a number, he would shout out one higher. I don’t think Evan and Kyle have spoken to Paul since.

1) Family

As I get older, and I know that me being only 24-years-old is not exactly old, I realize how much I appreciate my family. Sometimes, in the hustle and bustle of life, I forget this. I think that maybe we all do. That is why I am thankful for this holiday.

It is an opportunity to just be in the presences of family. I am going to eat too much, take a nap on the couch while watching a football game. I am going to make sure take home the leftover food and eat it for the next several days.

And, of course, I am going to be thankful that I have the family I do. Have a happy Thanksgiving everybody.

You can follow Daniel "Pinto" Gunderson on Twitter at @pintoKFGO or friend him on Facebook. You can hear him on his weekly podcast show on kfgo.com, 740thefan.com or on iTunes called “The Pinto and White Shadow Show.” Pinto is a radio producer within the Midwest Communications-Fargo company.