It’s been somewhat difficult to distill this years Thanksgiving experience into coherent thoughts and string them all together into a blog post. If you’ll indulge me a little and put up with a few left turns and a little bad grammar, we’ll get through this!

turkeyThis year Jake and I decided to spend the holiday with friends here in North Carolina rather than trek to Alabama or Virginia, as is the norm. Up in Rougemont a friend of ours hosts at his house and many more friends come from as far away as Colorado and California for the weekend. This year there were 22 of us under one roof, three turkeys, and a salted ham. The food was delicious and the time spent with friends catching up and joking around was as refreshing as it was desperately needed. Staying home this year also allowed us to spend some time at the Center—which is important around holidays as we almost always get short staffed this time of year.


Thursday morning was spent at home relishing in the freedom of a weekday morning not at work: sleeping in and playing games. Shortly after lunch we drove up to Rougemont to join in the fury of cooking and merriment at the house there. The food, it bears repeating, was absolutely amazing. Everyone brought or made their own dish to share with the group and helped prepare what was left to be made. Of the three turkeys we had to feed everyone the deep fried turkey was my favourite. I’ve never had deep fried turkey before, but I must say it is, by far, the best turkey I’ve ever had. Between that and the sweet potato casserole, I was in heaven.

freyaFriday morning was similar to Thursday, for me at least. Jake had to work out at the Center, but I elected to work the day after Christmas so I could sleep in on Friday this year. Around 3 o’clock I rode back up to Rougemont to find that everyone was out and about (read: touring A Southern Season with our host), so I took a nap on the couch while I waited for them to return. Later that evening Jake joined us after his tours were over and we all enjoyed homemade Gyro and played Cards Against Humanity and Powergrid. We imbibed the locally produced Krupnikas and some very fine red wine. And then, once safely sober, traveled back home to get a good night of sleep before our usual all-day Saturday “shift” at the Center.

Because of the cold we had a lot of folks decide to stay home for their scheduled tours and this afforded us a little more flexibility Saturday morning. I took this opportunity to get out one of my cameras, an old Nikon D50, and fill out a few SD cards with portraits of our residents. Usually I focus on our wolf pack, because I spend most of my time with them as part of their socialization and care team, but this time I decided to frame up some of our feline residents and managed to frame a few compositions I’m really happy with of some of our tigers.

pawOn Sunday Jake and I joined a couple of our friends for the Carolina Hurricanes hockey game at PNC arena. Which lead to me chugging a Cookout style 1/2 lbs burger in under a minute so that I wouldn’t have to throw it away in order to enter the stadium. Let me tell you something: that hurt. But I didn’t waste the money or the food and saved myself from spending money on any of the overpriced arena food or drinks. So I guess that’s a win. Nevermind that I felt sick for nearly all of first and most of second period.

Now having said all that, Thanksgiving is a weird holiday for me—as it should be for anyone. Apologies if this sounds pretentious, but I have my reservations about celebrating a holiday seemingly built off a celebration of friendship with a group of people that European settlers betrayed, enslaved, raped, and murdered. And if that’s not enough to turn your stomach, the reality of the “holiday” is that the whole thing is a disturbing celebration of pridegluttony, and avarice. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about good food but shoveling it in until you’ve got to undo your belt while feeling good about a institutional lie is as disgusting as humanity gets. It’s not impossible, or even difficult, to have a Thanksgiving meal with moderation. But, why not just have some friends and/family over for an evening without the Thanksgiving bullshit?

All in all it was a beautiful four day weekend. And while I have my reservations about what Thanksgiving is and its history here in the US, I certainly appreciate the opportunity to come together with friends and enjoy each other’s company. In the most succinct and direct terms, I love my friends, family, and the animals I work with. Thanks for reading.