The Tradition of No Traditions

A soldier cuts into a pumpkin pie during a Thanksgiving meal.
A soldier cuts into a pumpkin pie during a Thanksgiving meal at Camp Aachen on Grafenwohr Training Area, Germany, Nov. 22, 2018. (Army National Guard/Craig Norton)

My husband is deployed and I'm too pregnant to travel comfortably these days. I wasn't sure what I'd be doing for Thanksgiving. I talked to one of my husband's friends, a single soldier who is deploying in a few days. He didn't have time to get home and back before deployment, so his father was flying out to see him off. He said they'd probably have to eat at Country Kitchen or something.

We decided to do a tiny Thanksgiving together: a nine pound bird, just a few easy sides and a store-bought pie. A nice meal to see a soldier off before he deploys, and something to keep me feeling like it's Thanksgiving and not just another boring day.

I don't think I've ever celebrated Thanksgiving the same way in the Army. One year we hosted six people. Another year my husband was gone and I went to a friend's house. One year we made a turkey for just the two of us. And only once were we able to go home and have Thanksgiving dinner with my husband's extended family.

But I like having the tradition of having no traditions. In its own way, that has become the "consistency" we appreciate. Every year is a surprise and there is no comparison to previous years. We never celebrate with the same people, the same food, or the same location.

This year I am hosting a single soldier and his father. What are you doing today?

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