Since moving away from Michigan back in the fall of 2014, I’ve weirdly looked forward to the football games that come with Thanksgiving Day because of a combination of things.
My first Thanksgiving away from family and friends in Montana, I’m not sure what I even ate that day, but the fact that the Detroit Lions were on TV felt like my own slice of home, even being 22 hours from the people that I had spent every Thanksgiving in my life with up to that point.
Even as bad as the Lions have been and currently are, it’s my own version of comfort food to turn them on as the first game on Thanksgiving before inevitably getting upset and their ineptitude, then keeping an eye on the game as the food comes out.
With living all over the country before venturing back to Alabama (my wife and all her family are from Alabama), Thanksgiving and football provided some of the strangest memories of my wife and I’s relationship.
The one that always stands out is the year in Texas where we were invited to a co-worker’s house for a big potluck Thanksgiving. Only for my wife to wake up that morning with what turned out to be the Norovirus, and eventually needing a trip to the hospital for an IV after she became dehydrated. She cried that day, not because we were in the hospital, but because of the food she couldn’t have. There was no turkey dinner that year, but there we were in the hospital room together, watching the Lions beat the Minnesota Vikings on a last second field goal, a rare win for them. Again, I’m not even sure what we ended up having for dinner that Thanksgiving.
While my wife and I lived in Montana, and later Texas, we were so far from all of our friends and family that we made our own Thanksgiving tradition. Since we couldn’t go home, we would go on vacation to a city we hadn’t visited just to have that time together. It saw us take trips to Spokane, Washington for a concert and a hockey game. Oklahoma City for restaurants we didn’t have in Texas, and an NBA game. Maybe not the most glamourous or famous of destinations, but it was our little thing to celebrate the season if we couldn’t be home.
But since moving to Alabama that tradition has fallen by the wayside, as this will mark the third straight year we’ve packed up and headed down to Troy to visit my wife’s family.
That’s not to complain either, because as most of your reading can relate, my mother in law is a classic southern woman who above all else, learned to cook a feast for an army and how to host her family at the holidays. And while there might be foods I never had up north (my wife still laughs about the time she had my try pig tail), it’s still comforting to know that no matter what we eat, or where we were, that I could look over at the TV and see the Lions on TV, even as bad as they always are. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!