Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day, an American holiday that originated in this nation’s early years. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday for a number of reasons.

It was always a big holiday at home when I was growing up and continued to be a big holiday as long as my Mama and Daddy were alive. Sometimes it was just the three of us for dinner and sometimes we would host family and friends. It was always a cozy, unhurried holiday. All we did was prepare a big meal and eat. There were no presents to buy or no parties to attend. While dressing up was not required, it was always understood that you didn’t go to the table looking like something the cat drug in. A nice sweater, pants, and shoes was the standard wardrobe. For most of my adult life, I had the day after Thanksgiving off, so I didn’t have to rush back from Cullman to be at work in Birmingham the next day.

Except for the years from 1994 to 2006 and a few times when it was played on Thanksgiving Day or on the Friday after Thanksgiving, the Iron Bowl, the annual college football game between the University of Alabama and Auburn University took place on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Up until 1989, the game was played at Birmingham’s Legion Field and the tickets were divided equally between Alabama and Auburn. Beginning in 1989, the series changed to a home/away series with the first game of this nature was played in Auburn. Until 2000, Alabama continued to play the game when it was the home team at Legion Field. Alabama now plays the game at its home stadium, Bryant Denny Stadium, when Alabama is the home team. So, in addition to Thanksgiving Day, the Thanksgiving weekend also meant the Iron Bowl and it still does. This combination makes the whole weekend very special to most of us residing in the state of Alabama.

Now that Mama and Daddy are gone, I have made new traditions and will be having Thanksgiving dinner at the house of some friends. Because the Iron Bowl will be held this year at Bryant Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, I will be attending.

Of course, Thanksgiving is a special time to give thanks for all the God has given us. It can also be a time of sadness because death and sickness don’t take a break. This year a friend of mine and his family is having a wonderful Thanksgiving. They have welcomed a great granddaughter into the world and my friend’s daughter has just found out that her cancer is in remission. What a joyous celebration they are going to have.

On the other end of the spectrum, I was shocked to find out about the death of a young woman who I considered an acquaintance. She was way too young to die and is leaving behind a one year old child. Needless to say, this Thanksgiving and many to come will not be celebratory for her family and close friends.

Of course, I miss Mama and Daddy and long for our past Happy Thanksgivings, but I do enjoy the new traditions that I have made and look forward to tomorrow when I can be with friends.

So, tomorrow’s Thanksgiving! Forget that diet, eat until you are miserable! I intend to. And it’s not too early to get in a ROLL TIDE!