Some would say it's the greatest time of the year. Fall is in full swing, football season is at its peak and college students are heading back home. Students can hardly focus on school because of the thought of the delicious Thanksgiving meal that is near. For one student, Thanksgiving is more than just a fabulous meal. It is a time for a family of 25 (that's only one side) to come together and celebrate being a family.
Tricia Barton, a Huntsville native, says she loves being a part of a large family. Holidays are extra special and is a time for family members to all meet in one place and spend time together.
"My family is my everything," she said. "I don't think people even understand how close we all are."
Every Thanksgiving her immediate family all gathers at her home in Huntsville. Her brother Jay, 27, and sister Sarah, 25, all come in from out of town to join. Her father Lee, is well known through out the family for being a food connoisseur. He makes his famous corn casserole dish every year, which is Barton's absolute favorite.
Along with the corn casserole dish that her father makes, her mother makes another special dish that has been in the family for over 40 years. It's called "Pop's Jello" and is something her great grandfather used to make. The dish was made every Thanksgiving her mother had growing up.
"I love that we still have Pop's jello," Barton said, "It's a great way to keep him close to us."
After feasting in Huntsville, the Barton family travels to Atlanta where Tricia's father was raised. Her father is one of four brothers and each brother has three or more children.
"My family is crazy. We are so loud and every time we meet up for the holidays it is full of laughter," Barton said.
During the Thanksgiving feast, they continue on a tradition they have done for many years. They go around the table and each person has to list three things that they are thankful for. It may be a stereotypical but for this family it may take them a full hour.
Relaxing and watching football games on television occurs after the big meal.
"Thats my favorite part," Barton said. "I love catching up and spending quality time with all my cousins."
For Barton, Thanksgiving is extremely special. Her family is her life and Thanksgiving is the perfect time for her family to reconnect and celebrate. The true meaning of Thanksgiving is not overlooked in the Barton family. Although the food is probably to die for, her family reconnecting is what Thanksgiving is really all about.
It really is the greatest time of the year. It's a time to stop stressing, stop the worrying and just relax. Relaxing with the ones that makes life worth living for is what makes this holiday extra special.