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Cookie cutter Thanksgiving?

It's not the bird, it's the people, that make Thanksgiving special

It's not the bird, it's the people, that make Thanksgiving special

November 26, 2002|by Chris Copley

chrisc@herald-mail.com

Jacob Weaver is 11, lives in Waynesboro, Pa., and on Thursday his family will get together for a Thanksgiving feast.

"We have a regular Thanksgiving," Jacob says. "We have a lot of turkey, yams, mashed potatoes, green beans."

Thanksgiving Day is different at the house of Larry Harkcom, 20, of Chambersburg, Pa.

"Usually, there's minimal family time for Thanksgiving - maybe breakfast together," Harkcom says. "Then my sister and I drive to her friend's house in Virginia. It's about three hours away, so I spend a lot of Thanksgiving in the car. I play with her cats while she drives."

Harkcom says it's not that his family is boring, but he and his sister have come to enjoy spending the holiday together.

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"We've done this for the past four years," he says. "We both have this urge to go."

There's more than one way to celebrate Thanksgiving, according to area youth who interrupted holiday shopping at Valley Mall in Hagerstown to talk about their Turkey Day traditions. The traditional Thanksgiving dinner with family is typical, they say, but it takes different forms.

Robby Dobler, 21, of Chambersburg, and his brothers have two families to visit on the holiday - and two dinners to eat.

"We go to my mom's and her husband's the night before and have Thanksgiving dinner for lunch," he says. "Then we go with my dad and his girlfriend to a country restaurant. My dad understands we're full from the other meal, so it's not a real feast."

Dobler says he appreciates the chance to be with his family.

"I'm a little older," he says. "I'm not planning on sticking around this area. So it's good to be with family. I see the importance."

Family connections brought Jason Smith to Hagerstown this year. But he won't be with his family on Thanksgiving.

"My family is from down south. I came up here to see my kids. They live up here," says Smith, 23. "What I do on Thanksgiving - it depends. I'm usually chilling with my friends. I kick back and relax."

Many families do gather and share a big turkey dinner. It's traditional, it's homey it's and not necessarily boring. Georgette Wolfe and Krystal Kennedy, both 19 and living in Frederick, Md., say they like getting together with their families. And also gathering around the TV.

"Normally we get up and watch the parades," Kennedy says. "We watch 'Miracle on 34th Street,' all the Christmas movies."

She says it's a bit different being with her family now that she's older and living on her own.

"I like going home. Now, I'm considered an adult. I get allowed into conversations," she says. "They don't treat me like a kid."

Wolfe says her family is important to her. And Thanksgiving is a time to cherish family in good moments and bad.

"I still love going home. It's quality time with the family, even if they're fighting," she says.

Appreciating family members may not be important for younger teens, but they still like holiday traditions. Keith Newman, 15, of Breezewood, Pa., compares his family's Thanksgiving dinner to a famous work of art.

"We go to gramma's. We eat at a big, long table like in 'The Last Supper.' We have, like, 20 people," he says. "She makes everything homemade - nothing store-bought. She kills the turkey, makes the bread - everything."

Very little is homemade for Thanksgiving at Jacob Weaver's house. Store-bought is fine. The tradition he looks forward to is not the meal but the family time that comes later.

"We usually sit down and talk, adults and kids together," he says. "We talk about everything. It's not boring."

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