Fireside tales: Thanksgiving

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Croissants and Manhunts

Margaret Jennings, a senior English major, is the youngest of ten children in her family, but not every one of her siblings spends Thanksgiving day at her parents’ house in Connecticut. This year, the Jennings house had twenty-three occupants for Thanksgiving Day, including fifteen nieces and nephews. One famous Jennings Tradition is a game of Russian Roulette with croissants. Jennings’s brother, Patrick, started this tradition one year when he made some sweet “croissants,” chocolate croissants and some spicy mystery croissants. “Dad gets annoyed every year because he just wants a plain croissant,” Jennings shared, “He should have thought of that before he had ten kids.”

Jennings’s sister, Katie (UD alumna, class of ‘22), was nicknamed “the Beast” by her siblings, an unexplainable family quirk that led to quite the yearly sport. The Jennings all attend Mass together on the morning of Thanksgiving, but one year, when Jennings was only eight, her siblings decided to take a separate car from their parents on the way home. After taking a few random turns down some back roads, the Jennings siblings came across a hunting path. Katie got an earlier start, taking off into the woods, and all of the siblings chased after her in what became the yearly “Beast hunt.” Whoever catches the Beast wins, but it’s also a race back to the car. This tradition continues today, after thirteen years, but Jennings herself has yet to catch the Beast.

The Thanksgiving Smorgasbord

Tiên Bui, a senior studio art major, is the first generation American-born in a Vietnamese household. Her mother started celebrating Thanksgiving in Ohio with her cousins shortly after emigrating to the U.S. from Vietnam.

Bui spends her Thanksgiving day between her mom’s extended family and her dad’s extended family, and the entire day sounds like a smorgasbord of various delicacies. “We eat a mix of Vietnamese food and American food because my Vietnamese grandma cooks,” Bui shared, “but my other family members also contribute some dishes.” For this Thanksgiving, Bui’s family had egg rolls and Vietnamese wedding soup, as well as lasagna, macaroni and cheese, lobster and lamb. In the past, Bui remembers having pho and mashed potatoes, too, but it seems this family knows the right way to eat, no matter the variation.

Cousin Chaos

Claire Seelig, a senior English major, always spends Thanksgiving at her great aunt and uncle’s ranch, the “404,” out in Stephenville, Texas. Up to seventy family members attend on Thanksgiving day, but those who choose to stay the night have to find a place to bunker down. “There is rarely a bed unoccupied,” Seelig shared, “some years we have more heads than beds and the boys have to camp outside!”

The cousins often adventure throughout the ranch during this time, going hunting and skeet shooting and driving ATVs together (which has led to a couple of accidents and stories for Seelig). One of the most memorable cousin incidents, though, was the building of Fort Beandip in the woods and the cousin court and chaos that ensued.

With so many people in town, Seelig’s family must make multiple turkeys before crowding around together, old and young, to share with their loved ones what they’re most thankful for.

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