Not technically Thanksgiving, and not one I was present for
(my dad's the young man just left of center in the back),
but definitely just like Thanksgiving when I was a child...
When I first got married in my late 20s, our first Thanksgiving almost didn't happen; my husband was hospitalized less than 2 weeks earlier with severe pancreatitis and very nearly died. Another year, he took me over the road (he was a trucker), and we spent Thanksgiving at a cheap diner somewhere near Normal - Illinois that is... LOL! Others were spent either at his parents' tiny apartment, which was packed full to overflowing with aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and even great grandchildren, or at my mom's with family and close friends.
In recent years, the face of my family has changed, and now I spend my Thanksgiving with gaggle of giggling gift-children and my beautiful girlfriend, as we have an early feast at her mom and dad's with her brother and sister and their families, and then a second meal at my mom's with aunts and uncles, new friends and people who have been in our lives for decades.
Thanksgiving 2004 at Jacqueline's mom's
Over the years, the faces around me may have changed, the places may have been minutes or hours away, and the food on the table may have been turkey with all the trimmings or a poorly made BBQ pork sandwich and fries, but the one tradition that has remained constant has been that I have surrounded myself with the people that I call my family, whether by blood or marriage, time or emotion.