By Chris Stephens–

Thanksgiving was created from English traditions from back around the Protestant Reformation. It is a special day that we can gather with our loved ones and reap the blessings from the past year. With hectic schedules, Thanksgiving allows a reprieve for many to take a day and soak it all in. You can appreciate the little things in your life that went unnoticed when they first happened.

Thanksgiving is a holiday that has always been special to me for several reasons, as I’m sure it is to many of you as well. Thanksgiving is the only day that I look forward to in the month of November, because November is a generally gloomy month with not much to look forward to. Thanksgiving is special to me because of what I like to call the three F’s: family, food and football.

I have quite a few extended family members that live out of town, and often Thanksgiving is the only time I’m able to see them. It is always refreshing to rekindle those missing relationships, even if it is only on Thanksgiving and the day after. I never know if I will see them again, because tomorrow is not promised to anyone. I’m always amazed at what my younger cousins are doing academically and athletically. It’s nice to be able to give them advice over dinner on how to handle pressing situations in high school, because I’ve been in their shoes, I’ve been down that road before. When my extended out of town family members see my family members who live in town, it’s a joy to watch the interactions between all of them. I understand that these experiences last a lifetime, because of the infrequency that they happen.

Food is special to me and my waist line because there are not many things better than a Thanksgiving meal. In my family, everyone makes and brings a dish to the dinner. Since my elder family members make all of the traditional dishes, I volunteered to be one of the dessert makers. I generally stick to brownies, cookies, pies and cheesecake, but every now and then I’ll get adventurous and look up a recipe for something different. My family has everything at Thanksgiving dinner: turkey and gravy, ham, stuffing, mac and cheese, sweet potatoes, green beans, corn pudding, et cetera. With all of this delicious food around, it’s very challenging to just have one serving of everything. That being said, I’m not ashamed to admit that I usually have three plates of Thanksgiving dinner. I do usually wait a sufficient amount of time between plates two and three just to make sure that I don’t go into a total food coma.

Football completes this very special day for me, because I honestly can’t picture Thanksgiving without the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys. The NFL has been playing on Thanksgiving since the league’s inception in 1920. Since 2006 there has been a third game on Thanksgiving night that features two other random teams. Football is synonymous with Thanksgiving. Usually during half time of the Lions game, some of my family members and I go outside and throw the football around and just relish the time spent together.

Thanksgiving means a variety of things to many people, and this is what Thanksgiving means to me. This holiday will always have a very special place in my heart.