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University » Articles » Give Thanks

Give Thanks
by Greg Hicks

At one time, there were no Thanksgiving Day Parades. The semi-annual Lions vs. Packers game was still a few years away (although John Madden was probably at the first Thanksgiving along with a less than sober Pat Summerall), and the Thanksgiving Day Sale papers didn’t quiet circulate yet.  However, the early patrons of the first Thanksgiving Feasts managed just fine—they gave thanks for God’s plentiful givings to them for that year. Let’s take a few minutes to examine the modern Thanksgiving Day happenings and you’ll quickly see what I am referring to.

Brad Gains shows off his "tom-a-hawk" chop as the hunters shoot their bows and discuss the afternoon's hunt as they wait for Thanksgiving lunch to be served.

Brad Gains shows off his "tom-a-hawk" chop as the hunters shoot their bows and discuss the afternoon's hunt as they wait for Thanksgiving lunch to be served.

It starts bright and early Thanksgiving Day morning. Grandmothers and Mothers are busy preparing the mid-day meals that the family will partake in ever so enthusiastically all day long, Grandfathers and Dads are calmly drinking coffee and discussing where they will hunt that morning and who will bring home the largest buck, and the children are in bed dreaming of watching Pinky-Dinky-Doo give her handlers fits as they try to skirt her down the streets of New York in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I know from first-hand experience that the Thanksgiving Day hunt is a pressure-filled event because one always wants to bring home a deer bigger than any other, and heaven forbid if you come home empty handed. That story usually ends with, “I saw one, but I didn’t feel like gettin’ dirty before lunch so I let him walk. I’ll get ‘em this afternoon,”—a blatant lie, nonetheless, especially when everyone else knows sleeping in the stand is the real reason for blame.


Terry Hicks prepares to deep fry a turkey for Thanksgiving. This dish is quickly becoming a standard in Louisiana Thanksgivings.

As everyone files in at the selected grandparents’ house, the smell of Cajun rice and bread pudding fills their noses. In our family, it’s usually Mom’s sweet potato soufflé, whipped so smooth it looks like orange pudding topped with brown sugar and pecans, which gets my taste buds working into overdrive. Turkey is a mainstay for Thanksgiving, and in Louisiana there’s only one way to cook it—deep fried! A fried turkey is quiet possibly the largest, best-kept culinary secret outside of the State of Louisiana to hit since pickled quail eggs. While some “heart healthy” people frown upon such a succulent meal, it still makes a baked Turkey seem like trying to eat a rubber boot. As the turkey, Cajun rice, sweet potato soufflé’, and other family favorites fill empty spaces in your midsections, take time to fully enjoy the setting. Watch grandparents show their grandkids the new dentures they just received, gaze at Dad as he butchers the last of the turkey breast, listen to Mom as she tells him he’s making a mess, and watch out for Uncle Leroy sneaking a piece of pecan pie while his wife Alma spreads the gossip she heard the day before at the beauty shop. Times like these will make memories that will last a lifetime.

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