My family is pretty unconventional. While holiday gatherings are important to us, we generally feel that getting together because we want to is far better than getting together because we “have to.” However, we do have a rather unconventional Thanksgiving tradition, one that makes Thanksgiving my favorite holiday.
Growing up, our family had a fairly traditional Thanksgiving feast with my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. However, I’m at that age where things are changing (though a lady never tells). Amongst my siblings, we’re adding to our family with marriages and babies. With marriages, you add in-laws and extended family members, which means a lot of divided time. Once you start factoring in grandbabies, the scheduling gets even more hectic. So, those traditions start changing and making way for new ones.
My parents have owned their own company for almost ten years. They started from scratch (just like SDB!) and built their customer base and reputation solely on hard work, responsiveness, and honesty (just like SDB, again!). Many of their customers are from out of town and, as most locals know, the oilfield never rests. A good portion of their clients weren’t able to make it home to their families for Thanksgiving so, being Mr. and Mrs. Hospitality themselves, my parents decided to invite those “hobo” guests into their home to share our meal. It first started out with a handful of my parents’ customers…in more recent years, the largest meal I can remember cooking for had over 50 people. Our family affectionately refers it as the “stragglers” Thanksgiving.
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Business can be a tricky thing. There runs a fine line between personal and professional in any business dealing. However, one thing I’ve learned from my family is that you should keep your family close. West Texas is built upon relationships. While we may not have the prettiest scenery or the most interesting entertainment, we have good people here. My parents recognized that opening their home and their hearts to their customers, who may have eaten a gas station Thanksgiving dinner otherwise, was important to making them feel at home. These people know they mean something to us. They know they’re family.
When it comes right down to it, my parents don’t invite their customers to Thanksgiving as a ploy or with an ulterior motive…they simply do so out of the goodness of their hearts and in the hope that if someday they were in the same situation, someone would do the same for them. I am so proud of our unconventional Thanksgiving…and even more so, my family.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to start cooking for a crowd! 🙂