I’ve learned my lesson about Thanksgiving

Reporter Kate Saylors reflects on Thanksgivings away from home.

I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving weekends!

Wednesday marks a year and a half since I first moved here to take the job at the Boundary Creek Times, and about a month later, the Grand Forks Gazette.

Since moving out here, I’ve been home only once: to attend my university graduation (oops, showing my age a little there). Christmas, as you all know, is a very busy time in a small town and an even busier time for a small town reporter. Other long-weekend holidays don’t seem quite worth the plane ticket.

And so, I haven’t been home for a holiday in nearly two years. It’s an odd thing for a recent former university student who used to take every little excuse to come home for a cooked meal and free laundry.

Lucky for me, I’ve always been welcomed into the homes of friends for the holidays, appeasing my mother’s worry that I was eating alone on the holidays.

But thinking about Thanksgiving this year got me thinking about the very first time I didn’t come home for a holiday: Thanksgiving 2012, about six weeks after I had moved into the dorms at university.

A quirk of my high school was that we didn’t hold graduation ceremonies in June; my school opted instead to hold them in October and call it “commencement.” It was a pain in the butt, but it did cut down on the time spent in a sweltering auditorium with the other 499 people I couldn’t stand in my senior class.

In their infinite wisdom, the administrators at my high school had opted not to schedule the ceremony for the Friday afternoon of Thanksgiving weekend, when most students would surely be coming home; no instead they scheduled it for the week after – all the better to have fewer people show up for the free cookies, I suppose.

It was, and still is, very important to my parents that I attend these “life milestone” events with a smile, so I opted not to come home for Thanksgiving and come for the weekend after, so they could see me graduate with cap and gown. Two weekends and two pricey train tickets in a row just seemed like overkill.

I was alone in my dorm for Thanksgiving weekend, which was actually the way I preferred it: I hadn’t had so much space or the shower to myself since moving in with three other 18-year-old girls six weeks before.

As any student with a hint of self-preservation instinct is bound to do, I eschewed the cafeteria turkey and mashed potato product. Instead I went to Walmart and purchased a frozen turkey microwave dinner. I’m not sure why I thought this was better, but it was a different time.

Now, I thought I was being funny: on Sunday evening, I sent a selfie to my mom of me and my boxed “dinner.”

“Happy Thanksgiving!” I captioned it, laughing to myself. Mom will think this is so funny.

Turns out, she did not find it funny.

Shortly thereafter, I got a call from my very sad mother, lamenting that she “had left me alone with a frozen dinner” on Thanksgiving rather than insist I come home. Funny, it was not. I had to talk her out of abandoning turkey on table, getting into the car and driving the six hours to Ottawa to pick me up and bring me home.

Crisis averted and apologies made, we lasted through the week. The following weekend not only did I officially graduate from high school, I also had the best post-Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving dinner that anyone has ever had. Laundry done and fixings for turkey sandwiches in Tupperware, I got back on the train to school happy and full.

So with a couple Thanksgivings passed since my school years, I guess you could say I’ve learned my lesson. These days, the only pictures sent to mom (when I remember) are of full tables surrounded by friends. She much prefers it that way.