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Starting a new family thanksgiving tradition

Published: Monday, Nov. 26, 2012 12:01 p.m. CDT

My parents divorced when I was 5 years old. And, as a result, every holiday I can remember was spent scurrying from one family event to another, barely sticking around long enough to catch my breath before I was off to the next one.

When I left home for the Navy, I hoped those days would come to end. Little did I know the hustle, bustle and constant travel were probably the most “normal” part of my formative years.

My first Thanksgiving away from home was spent in boot camp. I wasn’t far enough along in my training to qualify for the USO’s “Adopt-a-Sailor” program, but I got to take part in it a few weeks later for Christmas.

That will be a fun story I’ll share in a few weeks, I promise.

But once I got out on my own, I always made a point to take in a pair of sailors every Thanksgiving as my way of “paying it forward” to future shipmates. But, once I came home from the service, I went right back into the family “tradition.”

And, once Sharla and I were married, the traveling really got interesting. At the time, we lived in Sheldon, in the far northwest corner of the state, which was about a six-hour drive from Pella, where most of her family lives.

Even when we lived in central Iowa, it seemed as though we were always constantly on the move. So, this year, we decided to do our own thing.

We had Thanksgiving dinner at home, just Sharla, the kids and me. And I have to say, it was one of the most enjoyable ever.

If you’re reading this, thank a teacher. If you’re reading this in English, thank a soldier, sailor, airman or Marine.

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