Thanksgiving Thoughts

Mary Loftis

Mary Loftis

Thanksgiving has to be my favorite holiday. Food, family and fun is how I look at it. No presents to buy, only grocery ads to consider and real quality time to anticipate…well, after the preparations are done. As I look back at the Thanksgivings I’ve enjoyed, I know I never gave a thought to the herculean efforts the women (mostly) in my family made to make the holiday seem so perfect.

I grew up in a pretty small family. Just my brother and I and our holidays were mainly spent with my Mom’s side of the family at Grandma’s house which gave us two cousins to play with. Ten people total for the holiday. After I married into a larger family with four children, which has become larger and larger over the years, the total we now host, as we live on the family farm, varies from an anticipated 26 this year to 37 last year!

As you can guess we have a LOT to be thankful for and getting this group together is just part of it. With everyone volunteering to help round out the menu we have plenty of food. (Last year we had three nieces all volunteer to bring the green bean casserole!) We did negotiate to add a little more variety to the table.

I can handle cooking the 23 pound turkey…even though it seems like I need to be an All Star Wrestler to get it cleaned and in the roaster, but my least favorite part of the holiday is cleaning. And honestly, it’s not the cleaning that bothers me…it’s the clutter I have to “rearrange” in order to be able to clean. As I was rushing around last weekend trying to do my half day cleaning in 30 minutes, I was considering ways to make the BIG CLEAN before the holiday easier.

Here I am, dusting the surfaces I can see (see above note about clutter) and thinking to myself “You won’t need to dust the high places because the “tall family members” can’t make it this year.”

Now do I call that a “short cut” or what? Of course I’ll probably have all of the shorter family members standing on chairs to check now that I wrote about it!

My husband Steve would add having to clean the machine shed is also in his bottom list of preferred duties. Since many of our activities over the years have included using the shed he has had numerous occasions to dislike this cleaning activity as well.

Rearranging the dining room to get as many, if not all the family in the same room also comes into the preparations. The tall family members need to watch their heads as the light and ceiling fan don’t have a table under them with this arrangement. We always hope the skinny people sit at the big table, as they can’t get out once they get in unless EVERYONE moves! The kids table and little chairs are brought up from the basement to help out with the arrangement too.

After the Thanksgiving prayer there is a Loftis house traffic control method used to get your food. You pick up a plate, come to the kitchen, circle around the counter filling your plate and then head out the back door to go around outside and come in the front door to the dining room.

The post meal festivities are truly the highlight of the holiday. When our kids were little, the guys went out and played football. As the family grew in size and stature, the football field shrank, so we went to other Thanksgiving activities that were safer than running into the big propane tank. We’ve done scavenger hunts, including one using GPS units and lots of clues. A variety of games have been used including Minute to Win It games and last year we even had a Family Talent Show. We are probably looking for an inside activity this year with the colder weather forecast, but it is sure to include fun and laughter.

No matter what the cleaning, re-cleaning, cooking and reheating, Thanksgiving Day comes down to enjoying some special time with our family and truly giving thanks for all the blessings we have received.

I hope your Thanksgiving is also full of genuine thanks giving as well!


Mary Loftis,

Extension Assistant
UNL Extension – Burt County
111 North 13th Street, Suite 6
Tekamah, NE 68061
Phone: (402) 374-2929

Fax: (402) 374-2930


About katcountryhub
I am a graduate of Northeast Community College with a degree in journalism. I am married to Jeff Gilliland. We have two grown children, Justin and Whitney and four grandchildren, Grayce, Grayhm, Charli and Penelope. I will be covering Lyons, Decatur, Bancroft and Rosalie and am hoping to expand my horizons as time progresses!

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