We’ll have a quiet Thanksgiving this year without a lot of family at our house, and we’ll probably eat at the Holiday Inn. But in thinking about the holiday, I called some people to ask if their Thanksgiving will be traditional — and I was surprised to learn that two people are not at all traditional.

First, there’s Nancy Shaw, of Pembroke.

“In fact, we are probably the most untraditional people you will call, because my family wants barbecue for Thanksgiving,” she said.

Her daughters, who live in Florida, and her sons and their children will all be here at one time or another during the Thanksgiving holiday.

They will start off with the barbecue and all the trimmings, and then they will have a meal of Ferrell’s hamburgers. It will all be topped off with the family getting together at Harper House.

“I don’t know what we’ll do without Harper House when it moves, but we’ll sure miss it,” she said.

Then there is Dr. Bill Rowlett, who is recovering from leg surgery and very excited about Thanksgiving. He and his wife, Marilyn, are expecting about 25 family members, including their children and grandchildren. Their two daughters, who live in Hopkinsville, will do all the cooking. And because the Rowletts have the biggest house, everything will be taken to their house.

“It will be a joyous occasion at our house because Thanksgiving happens to be on my birthday, and I will be 85 years old,” he said. “In addition, it is the first time our family has been together since we celebrated our 60th wedding anniversary. So the real celebration will be on Thanksgiving. It will be a triple celebration — Thanksgiving, my birthday and the celebration of our anniversary.”

Rowlett said he loves all the traditional Thanksgiving food.

“We have the traditional meal with turkey and all the trimmings, but pumpkin pie is my favorite,” he said.”The boys will finish the day with our annual shoot-out.”

Then we talked to Brenda McGee, who is the senior branch manager for Edward Jones.

“I will celebrate it with my family as usual on Thankgiving. All of my aunts and uncles and siblings and their children — and lots and lots of cousins. They will total about 75.”

They come from Indianapolis, Atlanta, Mississippi and other places.

“We usually have it at my parents’ house, but this year we are having it at our aunt’s house. We are very traditional. But we have everything — ham, turkey and anything you want. Unfortunately, sweets are my favorite.”

McGee loves her mother’s sweet potato pie.

“I asked her how she makes it, and she said, ‘a little bit of this and a little bit of that,’” she said.

McGee isn’t sure if her mother can’t remember the recipe or if she just doesn’t want to say what she puts in the pie.

“I like sweet potato pie period, but none as well as my mother’s,” she added.

We also spoke to Mary Jo Selph. She has already started thinking about the cooking for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

“One of our children lives in the North and one lives in the South and one lives here,” she said. “Thanksgiving is the big holiday for our family.”

Cornbread dressing is very popular at the Selph home.

“When I first married, I had always had plain bread dressing. That’s what I grew up with, but when I moved to Hopkinsville, my in-laws had cornbread dressing. I didn’t like it. So I made both — cornbread and plain bread dressing. Then I got smart and made the cornbread and the plain bread all together, and it was real good,” she said. “The pumpkin pie and the dressing are really special to me. I like them.”

Selph also serves turkey — but just the breast.

“I noticed when I cooked a turkey that the dark meat was left behind and all the white meat was gone. So I learned my lesson,” she said.

Selph’s children stay on and off for a three-day holiday, and at some point they always make time for a meal of Mexican food.

We also called Margaret Prim, the executive director of the Pennyroyal Arts Council and a food columnist for the New Era. She has been ill recently, and we wanted to see how she is getting along. As she improves, Prim has been working a few hours a day at the arts council.

“We have always had the traditional Thanksgiving meal. My mom and I cooked it, and our family is disappointed that they can’t have it this time. But Mom and I jumped at the invitation of my dad to take us all to the country club for Thanksgiving. They won’t have my asparagus casserole. They won’t have my oyster dressing. But they will have many of the traditional things, and we will have fun.”

I want to thank Opinion Editor Jennifer P. Brown for her help again with my column. She came to my home Wednesday and typed the column as I dictated it to her.

Also, in my column last week, I listed the incorrect zip code in an address to order the book “Iron Wash Kettles and Peddling Wagons.”

The book can be ordered from Hometown Memories, 2359 Highway 70 Southeast, Suite 112, Hickory, NC 28602. The phone number is 877-491-8802. The book is $39.95, plus $9 for shipping.

Mary D. Ferguson is a staff writer and columnist for the Kentucky New Era. Her column runs every Saturday. She can be reached by telephone at 270-887-3230.

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