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Editor's Letter




My earliest Thanksgiving memories are set in Newport, Tennessee, where generations of both sides of my family lived starting shortly after the Revolutionary War. My parents and I moved to Loudon when I was six months old, but Newport was where we went for holidays. When we recently buried an aunt, it struck me that I have no living relatives in Cocke County for the first time in centuries.

Childhood Thanksgivings with grandparents, aunts, uncles and tons of cousins were big, noisy gatherings that ended with the ceremonial drawing of names for Christmas. Next came Thanksgivings with friends, or, as Jess C. Scott phrased it, “the family you choose.”

I loved tagging along with college friends to their family Thanksgivings and observing their traditions. I once spent the holiday in McDermott, Ohio, a tiny township where I am pretty sure I dined with half the town prior to watching Ohio State play Michigan.

This year I’m especially remembering Thanksgivings with my friends Barry and Leslie who in 1987 adopted me and Liz, just a baby at the time, for the first of many Thanksgivings spent with them. The cost of admission: one pecan pie for Barry to supplement Leslie’s pumpkin pies. So, there began a tradition: Once a year, on the fourth Thursday in November, I followed my grandmother’s handwritten recipe which began with “measure out a tea cup of dark Karo Syrup” and ended with “plunge a silver knife into the center to see if it’s done.” Also once a year, sometime between Halloween and the fourth Wednesday in November, I retrieved the pie plate I left the previous year.

The moral of this Thanksgiving tale is that if you invite me to bring a pie, you may have to store the pie plate for up to 364 days.

Gay

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