A Bliss Family Thanksgiving

Cuyler Bliss, Staff Writer

My thanksgiving for as long as I can remember has been the same five days in all 16 years of my life. On
day one, Saturday, my family and I pack up all our belongings and head down to my family ranch. The
two-hour drive is easy as I have gotten over it but when I was younger the drive felt like the longest time
in my entire life. My parents used to make us play I-spy or the silent game to help us stay busy. Now that
I am 16, I drive one of the vehicles down which makes the hours fly by. Once arriving at my ranch my
small family goes and sets up all our bags and extra things in our room that was dedicated to us when
my grandparents built the house. After that we get started on small chores to prepare for the rest of the
Bliss family coming down. This could include but not limited to grocery shopping, fueling up all the
four wheelers, checking the property for damage, and preparing rooms.

Day two is when the fun begins. My first uncle and his family arrive always early in the morning with
some type of breakfast for everyone and we eat together. After breakfast and cleaning up we head to
the local church and have Sunday mass to pray for a good safe week with no issues. Post-church,
my second and third uncle come down and we help them settle in and begin meal prepping for the

Day three is one of the slower days in the week. Everyone is trying to get used to staying in a house with
35 other family members. Breakfast is always a giant pancake-fest where all the grandchildren put
together and try their hardest not to destroy the kitchen. Then after breakfast we spend the rest of the
day enjoying all our land. We take all our buggies out and go for rides, we feed the cows treats and just
enjoy the natural property we own.

Day four is a blur. All of the wives go to town and buy absolutely anything and everything they need for
Thanksgiving, which is tomorrow. The husbands take all of the children down to the Peace River. We spend
all day there swimming, looking for shark teeth, fishing and enjoying the giant river. We get back to the
Branch house around midafternoon and snack until dinner. Dinner is always hamburgers and pulled pork
sandwiches. This is also the night we start the great fire pit out back. It is tradition to keep the fire
running up until everyone has left. My family and I stay up late by the fire talking about everything on
our minds and clearing away all the bad thoughts.

Day five is the Bliss Family Thanksgiving Day. Which is by far the most stressful thing of my entire year.
My mom and aunts wake up at 5am to start making a meal for everyone. Once everyone is awake and
moving, the women banish everyone away from the house and especially the kitchen so they can focus
on preparing food for almost 40 people. My job during this time is making pies. I make cherry, apple,
pumpkin, pecan, and peach pies for everyone. I start around 9 am and I do not finish till we feast. Every
year we eat around 5:30 and we start with opening prayer said by my grandfather, and we thank God for
all his blessings have provided us with and then we eat, every year we make two turkeys, about 12 different
casseroles and so many odd dishes I cannot remember them. But we enjoy our time dearly. After eating
we all rest and slowly start to clean up. We end the night by going hunting from dusk till dawn trying to
see who can get the biggest boar or any other animal we encounter.