Hello Friends and Family,

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Thanksgiving Traditions

It seems that everyone has their favorite Thanksgiving traditions. For some it is Aunt Edna's Pumpkin Pie. For others, it's Mom's turkey with oyster dressing. And for still others it is the snacks and beverages that accompany the football games on TV.

For several years, I have been amused by John Madden's love of the turducken. For those who don't know, a turducken is a chicken inside a duck inside a turkey — or so they say. Being of a skeptical mind, I did a bit more research online and discovered that there are turduckens living in the wild.

I suspect a conspiracy of some radical animal rights group which is trying to get folks to eat faux turducken and thus avoid extinction of the few remaining wild turduckens..

But not everyone has to be camped in front of a TV watching football. When I first moved to California in the mid-1970s, I lived in Los Gatos. Today, Californians know Los Gatos as that pricey community with the expensive shopping on the way to Santa Cruz. When I lived there it was more of a real community — a small town that used to be far from the urban centers of San Jose and Santa Clara — but one which has since been engulfed by the sprawl of bedroom communities.

In those days, Thanksgiving meant the annual high school football game between Los Gatos and Campbell. The amazing thing was that everyone from Los Gatos (and I assume many from Campbell) showed up to watch the same — whether or not they had kids in either school. It was a community thing — a time when everyone joined together to strengthen those community ties. I lived only a mile from the school so it was an easy stroll — and with normally decent weather — it was great to get outside and watch those kids play so hard. Unfortunately, the annual game had to be discontinued. It seemed that the powers that be determined that all high school football games had to be played prior to Thanksgiving so they could schedule the playoffs. I don't know. Seemed like a net loss to me.

Years later, I was living in Santa Cruz and discovered another community that didn't rely on TV for their Thanksgiving football fix. Friends there scheduled an annual Turkey Bowl football game on the beach. They and a large number of their friends brought their campers or camping trailers to the beach. The touch football game was all in fun and helped build the appetite for the feast that was to follow. Not only had everyone brought their campers but they brought food — potluck style.

Last year, you may recall that Thanksgiving day was my final day on Maui — at the end of my post-retirement "wish-I could-live-on-Maui-but-cannot-afford-to-thus-four-weeks-will-have-to-do" vacation. Thanksgiving dinner at Mama's Fish House — that was very fine. Now that's a tradition that I would love to repeat.

Speaking of Maui brings back memories of another Thanksgiving — 1984 — when I was living on Maui. I was invited to dinner at the home of my friends Larry and Darlene (who now live on Lana‘i). I offered to bring something and Darlene suggested a side dish. So I told her I would bring Baked Pineapple, a dish whose recipe came from my late Aunt Betty Mae. It was a casserole-type dish that I really enjoy and which is relatively easy to make. Darlene was racking her brain to figure out how I was going to bake a pineapple — but was delighted with the result.

For anyone who might be interested, you can link to the recipe by clicking here.

A more recent tradition for me is playing golf on Thanksgiving. As most of you know, almost nothing is open on Thanksgiving day — except for movie theaters and golf courses. I missed playing last year (see above) but resumed my tradition this year on the Cattail course at the Whirlwind. It is a beautiful, well-maintained course with wonderful vistas of South Mountain.

And the greens are perfect.

Wild Horse Pass Resort is located on the Gila River Indian Reservation. There is also quite a bit of water including little streams shown here — complete with (what else but) cattails.

It is a marvelous resort with a Sheraton Hotel, an award-winning restaurant, equestrian center, hiking trails, Rawhide (Old West town that I wrote about previously) and a luxurious spa — much of it interconnected with waterways and boats to take you to your on-resort destination.

A long-standing tradition for me is eating Thanksgiving dinner at a restaurant — this year at The Top of the Rock at the Buttes Resort not far from our home. It is a fine dining restaurant and for Thanksgiving features a limited menu which allows the staff to go all out for the best food and preparation they can muster — and as one would expect, the meal was excellent.


As we prepared to enter the restaurant, I noted the crescent moon hanging above a cactus, itself decorated with hundreds of miniature lights.

As the sun set, the lights came on all over Phoenix. The Top of the Rock is situated on the top of a butte with a breathtaking panoramic view of the Valley of the Sun. The Buttes Resort also goes all out decorating with miniature lights wrapped around the trees and cactus on the grounds. It becomes a fairyland that delights even us older kids.

I hope your Thanksgiving was equally enjoyable — and that you were able to spend time with friends and loved ones.

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com