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Thanksgiving memories

BISMARCK -- When families come together for the holidays, there's sure to be favorite memories and traditions.

We asked you to share some of your favorites and received both humorous and poignant responses:

"Lefse has always been a part of our Thanksgiving tradition. My sisters and I would make it with my grandma on the weekend before Thanksgiving. After grandma died, we made lefse with my mom. My husband did the same with his mom.

When we got married, my husband and I made lefse. He was the turner who tapped the bubbles on the griddle just like I did when I was a little girl. I became the master roller that my grandma and mom had been before. The tradition continued onto my own family. When my daughter started helping, she became the turner/bubble tapper."

-- Deb Egeland,


"After stuffing ourselves with turkey and all the trimmings, it has been a long-standing tradition in our family when we gather every Thanksgiving to play Bunco.

It is a tradition that everyone, especially the kids (and kids at heart), looks forward to every Thanksgiving. It has become synonymous with football, turkey and pumpkin pie. As our family has grown to include grandchildren and great-grandchildren, the number of participants has increased. There may even be four different generations seated at the same table.

Because the game requires you to move around from table to table and change partners frequently, everyone has a chance to be paired up with many different cousins, aunts, uncles, siblings, grandchildren, etc.

My sister Rachel came up with the idea initially and kept it going for many years until it has become such a part of our holiday that we all take it for granted we will play Bunco once the Thanksgiving feast has been cleared away and the dishes done.

And the highlight, of course, is when the prizes are awarded at the end. There are always lots of prizes to choose from. The person with the most points gets to choose first and so on down the line. There have been many years when there were enough prizes for everyone, even if you came in last! Of course, the prizes have all been picked over by then. But there's always a chance to redeem yourself next year!"

-- Renee Loehr,

Moorhead, Minn.

Growing up on a small farm just outside of Douglas, I always made a turkey centerpiece for the table. It was quite simple, but I loved doing it. I took a large potato (one we grew), put two big nails in it for legs, drew and colored a turkey head out of cardboard -- complete with the "red hanky" hanging across its beak. I cut a slot in the potato for the turkey head to stick in it. Next and last step, gather chicken feathers from out in the yard and give that "potato turkey" a big full tail!

-- Clarice Pollert Grubb, Grand Forks

"Thanksgiving 2006 was going to be different, yet memorable. Dad had passed away in April. Mom needed something to fill that holiday weekend. Our plans were to entertain my husband's family that


She arrived the day before Thanksgiving to help with meal preparations. The menu was a traditional Thanksgiving meal: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc., and mom's delicious apple pie.

To make things easier, I decided to make the mashed potatoes a day ahead and warm them in a crock-pot the following day. Mom helped by peeling the 10 pounds of potatoes.

While they were cooking, I ran down to the basement to finish a load of laundry. To my surprise, the laundry floor was wet with 2 inches of water. We mopped the floor and raced back to the kitchen.

As I began mashing the potatoes, they became stickier and stickier. Soon they were the consistency of wallpaper paste. By now, it was 9 p.m. What else could I do but run to the grocery store, buy another 10 pounds of potatoes and start over?

Once again, mom peeled the potatoes. I ran down to the basement again to find the floor flooded for the second time! At this point, we knew it was related to too many potato peels down the garbage disposal. Lesson learned.

Despite the potato mess, mom finished making the apple pies. It was approaching midnight. We were exhausted but satisfied with our efforts. The Thanksgiving meal was a great success, with my husband's family raving over the pies.

It's one of my last memories of mom and me having fun together. She passed away the following November, two weeks before Thanksgiving."

-- Cathy Kuznia,

Grand Forks

"When my family and I lived in Williston, a Thanksgiving tradition was to go to Mass in the morning and to a restaurant for our Thanksgiving meal. We did this for 10 years. My family consists of three. We avoided lots of leftovers, and we wanted to hunt the rest of the day."

-- Helen Volk-Schill,


One of my favorite Thanksgiving stories involves my dog Archie Pete. Archie Pete is a Cairn terrier, which is the same kind of dog that Toto was from the Wizard of Oz.

One Thanksgiving a few years back, I was charged with carving up the turkey.

Due to all the dirty dishes on the counter, I couldn't find a good space to carve the turkey so I decided to use the pull-out cutting board.

As I was carving, I noticed that my pull-out cutting board was not supporting the weight of the bird and it was beginning to droop. The turkey juices were flowing so well that they had created a stream of liquid goodness that was spreading out all over the pull-out cutting board and had formed a waterfall that was cascading over the edge onto the floor below.

I looked down to see what kind of mess I had created on the floor and who should I find catching the juices before they could even hit the floor? Archie Pete!

I can still see him just looking up and opening his mouth and catching all the juicy goodness as it fell. Archie Pete was in heaven. But even Archie Pete struggled to keep up with the flow and the turkey drippings began to fall onto the floor and soak into the top of his little brown head.

We gave Archie a quick bath before going to bed. I guarantee that was one bath Archie Pete didn't mind at all.

Cory Fong,


We would go to my sister's house and bundled the children up and put them in the bobsled. We covered them with straw to keep them warm. There would usually be so much snow that the horses were up to their bellies in snow. They could hardly make it there.

Kenneth and Frieda Watson,


Our family went to church in the morning. We only had mantel light. We didn't have electricity. When making the turkey, we had a coal stove and, to get the turkey done in time for dinner, we put the turkey in at midnight.

Lenora Becker,


One of our Thanksgiving and Christmas traditions is having lefse. When we get going on the lefse grills, we can make about 60 rounds per hour and kids can even help ... I love this tradition. You can't really make lefse alone so it becomes a family/friend project.

Beth Bakke Stenehjem,


Thanksgiving allows our family to reflect on our many blessings and give thanks. Having four sons, Thanksgiving has also been very much about the food ... lots of it. Traditionally, Mr. Schmidt has been responsible for deep frying the bird. We normally pick out a 25-pounder to ensure we have enough for the sandwiches later.

Chuck takes his task to the garage, where he enjoys his routine of garage prep, bird prep and football prep. Throw in a glass of Merlot and a cigar, and he is all set.

Kelly Schmidt,


Finneman is a multimedia reporter for Forum Communications Co.