I don’t really remember many specifics about Thanksgiving day football games involving the Lions or the Cowboys when I was growing up during the 1980’s, but some of my fondest memories are of Thanskgiving Day Football. I came from a large family with four uncles and fourteen cousins, so Thanksgiving was an event, and my grandparents had a yard the size of a football field to the west side of the house. Bordered by the large garden on the far side (a source of hard work in the summer months picking okra and snapping green beans), and the picnic table and large swing on the near side, it provided plenty of room. The end nearest the front of the house had a long row of tall hedges to provide a boundary, our version of “between the hedges”. You had to be careful of the woodpile off to one corner of that endzone. The other end was bordered by Winner Road and the backside of my grandfather’s sign shop.
It provided plenty of room for deep passes and runs across the field. Two hand touch was the rule, though inevitably, the adults would try a little too hard. I’m pretty sure I added a grass stain to every pair of jeans ever worn on Thanksgiving, and I was lucky if that was the worst of it–a few times it was a hole in the knee of those new jeans I was quickly growing out of anyway.
Thanksgiving was large meals of turkey, corn, sweet potatoes, green beans, stuffing and hot rolls at the crowded kid tables, which were basically low card tables set up in the back room right next to the laundry machine. After the late afternoon football was done and darkness set in, it was watching the Plaza lighting ceremony, and then playing Trivial Pursuit or dominoes or cards at the kitchen table while Texas and Texas A&M or some other college game of note was on in the living room.
Be thankful for what you have, and enjoy your time this year, whatever your traditions may be. Football is just the backdrop. It would be nice if the Lions actually gave us a competitive game for the first time in a while, but even if they don’t, get outside and make some memories. Just remember, you’re not twelve anymore, so don’t overdo it, old man. And I hate to tell you, but that grass stain is probably not coming out.
[photo via Getty]