Thanksgiving: Combining the Old Traditions with the New Traditions.

Written by Allen Cardenas

Tradition. It wasn't a word that I gave a lot of thought to when I was growing up in the Deep South. I was one of a minority of students whose parents were still married. So I knew with the confidence built on years of routine holidays that on Thanksgiving Day my family would eat lunch at my Father's parents and dinner with my Mother's large Irish clan. It was tradition. I just didn't know it. My first year in college, I made the mistake of exerting my independence and decided to stay with my friends instead of coming home for Thanksgiving. I felt guilt and a sense of disconnection. I also really wanted a big slice of my grandmother's Red Velvet cake.

Four years later I would be reminded of how important those traditions were again. In the span of nine months I lost all four of my grandparents. Thanksgiving suddenly became a “nuclear family” holiday. It was especially hard on my mother who was one of thirteen children. I realized tradition was about slip from my family but my grandmother in her wisdom had entrusted me with her recipe box since we shared a love of cooking. That year we began a new tradition in their honor. It combined my grandmother's classic recipes and college football on HD DVR with every relative invited.