I am a big fan of Thanksgiving.
My family is one of those that has traditions for almost every holiday. However, no holiday has more traditions than Thanksgiving.
For almost all of my life, we leave the Metroplex and travel to Tyler, Texas to a camp called Pine Cove. It is a family camp that offers a break from the world with no television, no computers and no running water. OK, there is running water and electricity, but other than that it is a refuge hidden in the woods of East Texas.
It is hard to believe that I am happy about a lack of television because it is one of my favorite things in the world. But there is usually nothing good on anyway, so it is easier to pry me away from my couch. I also get to play board games with my family — something rare in the days of movies, television and texting.
There are several families who travel to Pine Cove for Thanksgiving and we have developed friendships with many of them. We can find out about each other’s year and who is going to school, who is getting married and who is having a baby.
We also get to stuff our faces full of great food. The great thing about going to a camp for Thanksgiving is the amount of food. They are trying to feed a lot of people and they are always preparing more food than they actually need. That means I can get seconds — and 110ths. That works well for me.
We have always had a tradition of going into Tyler, finding the local bookstore and picking out a book. Everyone is allowed to pick one book and my father pays for them. Every year, however, I manage to find the one book my dad doesn’t want to pay for. It might be because he thinks it looks “weird” or “stupid” or say “that’s not a book, its a coloring book and you are married.”
Dads. They say the darndest things.
One of the best parts of the weekend is when we all start to travel back home. We always stop on Interstate 20 at a little Christmas tree farm and pick out which one will go home with us. Now, we cut down three trees for the three households — my parents, my brother and myself. In past years, however, it was just one tree and three saws.
Yes, that’s right, we cut down our own tree. In the past, the guys would trade off on cutting duties while everyone else critiqued them or told them to pull up their pants. Somehow, for about three years, every time the tree would finally give would be when I was on the opposite side saying, “Just a little more, you’re almost there.”
Then the tree would fall on my head.
Luckily, the tree was not that big, I am a pretty tough guy and there isn’t much in my head. Now, the tradition is for me to stand by the tree when it is about to fall and we take a photo mocking my past injuries. We then get hot chocolate, strap our trees to our cars and head home.
I can’t wait to do it again this year and years down the road, when I’ve got kids of my own to throw trees onto.
Luke Harris is the editor of the Burleson Star. The doctors said the only effect from the tree falling on him would be slight memory loss — he thinks. Something like that. He can be reached at www.burlesonstar.net.