By Charlotte Underwood

LAFOLLETTE, TN (WLAF) – I’m thankful for Thanksgiving in the South.  For those who don’t know, I had been living out in Iowa for the last several years and between you and me; I have had enough casseroles and snow on Thanksgiving day to last me a lifetime. There’s nothing that beats Thanksgiving here in the mountains of East Tennessee; the food, the people and usually even the weather are a sight for sore eyes.

Publisher’s note – This story from Charlotte is republished from the 2019 Thanksgiving season.

Things are different for the holidays here in Campbell County; sure there’s all the usual turkey day fixings on everyone’s plate, but at my family’s house there’s usually something that somebody ‘shot or caught’ served up along side it. Venison roast or wild hog and the gravy; well gravy is an art form down here you see, its own perfect food group. Nobody does gravy like we do around these parts.  And oh my, sweet potato pie; better than pumpkin to me, but I like that too! Most of the vegetables are canned and were grown in my mom’s garden. Mason jars of corn, Moss Ivey beans, even canned green tomatoes get brought out and fried. And we put bacon or ham in all of it! These are the kind of food memories that you never forget.

Other memories come in the form of family and friends; gathered around telling stories from younger years. Some of the chairs at the table are sadly empty now, but during the holidays, memories of those who have gone on live amongst us in the stories. I’m thankful for this and for the many more memories that I get the chance to make with my loved ones. I’m thankful to be home here in Campbell County and back at work at WLAF.  So whatever you’re thankful for this Thanksgiving, don’t forget to pass the gravy and the sweet potato pie my way!

A few fun Thanksgiving facts from the internet:

-About 46 million turkeys are cooked for the holiday each year. According to the National Turkey Federation, 88-percent of Americans eat turkey for the holiday.

-A typical Thanksgiving dinner could range anywhere from 2,000 up to 3,000 calories for the one meal.

– Each year, the president pardons a turkey. This tradition was started by George H.W. Bush in 1989.

– The Butterball Turkey Talk Line answers almost 100,000 calls each season, so if you need a little help in knowing how to cook the bird, help is only a phone call away.

– According to the American Pie Council,  50 million pumpkin pies are consumed on Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving from WLAF! (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 11/29/2019-6AM-REPUBLISHED 11/25/2021-6AM))