Readers share their Turkey Day tales
(CNN) -- As Americans prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, we asked readers to send us their Turkey Day travel tales and thoughts on this special holiday. Here are some of their submissions. Some responses have been edited for clarity and length.Deb, Mankato, Minnesota: For my Thanksgiving turkey I am traveling to my hometown of Fairmont, Minnesota. Now it may be just 60 miles from me, but this is one of the most difficult journeys of my lifetime. You see, it will be the last Thanksgiving I will ever be able to spend with my mother. [She was] diagnosed in August with terminal, untreatable pancreatic cancer that has metastasized.
The days she has left with us are few. ... So this Thanksgiving, though terribly bittersweet, I am especially thankful for being granted another day to be with this remarkable woman that I love with all my heart.David Batterson, Albuquerque, New Mexico: I'm "traveling" out my front door and over to my next-door neighbors' house for dinner. Now that's how I like to travel over the holidays!Patricia Fabricius, Afton, New York: At midnight I will leave my job as a medical transcriptionist. Thanksgiving will be only minutes old when I reach my car, turn around and look at the hospital I have just left. In awe of my blessings, I will thank God for the job I have and will raise my hands in prayer for all of the patients in need of comfort and [for the] staff doing their best to make sad situations better. I will go nowhere on Thanksgiving Day. After years of travel, getting caught up in the holiday rush, I have come to understand the old cliche: "There's no place like home for the holidays." That's right where I'll be: home. How blessed I feel. How humbly grateful I am. Page, Clovis, New Mexico: My story is not so much how far will I go, as how far have I come.
I am [in the] military and just got back from a tour in Iraq this past June. This holiday season is a special one: This will be the first holiday that I actually know and can feel the meaning of "Thanksgiving." Never before have I been so thankful to be alive and have my family's unconditional love. I am very thankful to be an American during these trying times. There are many things to be thankful for as Americans. However, I think they are all felt more by the folks coming back from Iraq. Let's keep them in our prayers. So, where will I be going for Thanksgiving? Nowhere in particular. I will be spending the day with a few members of my military family, gathered around a home-cooked meal and swapping war stories. But trust me, this one is like no other!Brian Skrainka, M.D., Simpsonville, South Carolina: I won't be traveling this Thanksgiving. Instead, I will be working in the Emergency Trauma Center in Greenville, South Carolina. I am bringing my turkey and my ham with me to work. For all you travelers out there, please drive carefully so our staff can share in having a safe Thanksgiving.L.L.P., Reedsburg, Wisconsin: We are not traveling, but playing host. We started with great anticipation of seven house guests for four days, coming by car and by air. Then, the exchange student was sent home (6), then our nephew was called up to active duty (5), so his mom, dad and sister opted to spend the holiday near his base (4, 3, 2), then an uncle accepted another invitation closer to home (1).
Our last hope was [my] ,mother-in-law, but her flight was canceled (0). Now there's no company coming to eat the enormous free-range turkey that has just finished defrosting. I see many casseroles in our future.Larry C., Aloha, Oregon: I'll drive to the pizza take-and-bake, then to the wine store for a nice merlot. The cats enjoy pizza crust, and I'll relax in decadence with my alternative dinner.Becky, Dothan, Alabama: Due to weather, [I] had to drive to Atlanta last night to pick up my daughter. She was stranded in the Atlanta [Georgia] airport and was not expected to get out of there for 36 hours. [I] haven't had any sleep for 48 hours, but everyone is happy and healthy and we have a lot to be thankful for. Sleep is highly overrated anyway.Carter Jones, Brownsville, Tennessee: [I am] going to Key West, Florida, to bake my turkey in sun.Hal Snyder, Eagan, Minnesota: On Thanksgiving Day my wife and I will celebrate with her family in Minneapolis, Minnesota. On Friday morning, we will fly to Houston, Texas, to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family.
Upon arrival in Houston, we will meet my parents and brother and immediately get in the car and drive three hours to my grandmother's house for a late Thanksgiving lunch (or early Thanksgiving dinner). That evening, we will drive back to Houston. The next day, we'll have Thanksgiving lunch with my parents and brother at their home in Houston. That evening, my wife and I will fly back to Minneapolis. A very quick and tiring trip, but one we always look forward to and wouldn't miss for anything!Hayley Ailey, Milwaukee, Wisconsin: My Mom and Dad run a floral shop in Sussex, Wisconsin. With the snow flying, they make the floral deliveries driving the family SUV. My Mom, Lauri, works fast with loving care to provide each special family an arrangement that they will cherish. I load the flowers into the truck and safely drive through the heavy holiday traffic. We all love our work and deal with the traffic in the spirit of the holidays. Happy holidays to all and bless our troops abroad.Bryan Kostors, Culver City, California: This year my girlfriend and I are celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday by ourselves, as both our families are at least as far away as Washington State. So the plan ... is for the two of us [to spend] Thanksgiving camping in Death Valley.
A departure time of 4:30 in the morning should hopefully keep us from some of the traffic and secure us a decent campsite, although I can't be certain. ... Beyond the freeway lies the vast expanse of the Mojave Desert. ... If we make it to our camp spot in one piece, I'll definitely be thankful for the sunny weather this part of the country is having this Thanksgiving. ...
Beyond atmospheric concerns, there's the culinary challenge of making our Thanksgiving feast with only a two-burner, gas camp stove and a cast-iron skillet over a hot campfire. With the success of our holiday depending on so many variables, there are many chances for failure, but I really shouldn't complain. Death Valley is an amazing place, and celebrating with the woman I love in its vast seclusion and quiet, natural beauty will be an unforgettable experience. Mitch Crow, Des Moines, Iowa: I am going home to the Australian Outback to visit my grandmother, [whom] I haven't seen in 49 years. She is going to celebrate her 104th birthday on the day after Thanksgiving. I am supposed to bring the turkey -- imagine that!