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Comfort in never-changing traditions

It's crazy how things can change so much, but yet stay the same. My life has been changing so much I can hardly keep track of it, but there is always those basic necessities that don't change, those little things that are the same year after year.

Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite times of the year: My birthday is only a week off, the holiday season is starting, the air smells of delicious home-cooked food that brings with it that feeling of comfort, and radio stations become mixed with Christmas carols.

One thing that never changes is my family's Thanksgiving traditions. My dad and I have the tradition of traveling eight hours south, to my Aunt Sara's in Des Moines, Iowa.

My grandpa (my dad's father) comes with us every year, and pretty much everyone on his side of the family meets there.

It's funny because about every four years the reunion moves more and more to the south. It started in Northfield Minn., moved to Owatonna, Minn., and eventually made it all the way to Des Moines.

The feeling of togetherness at these reunions is the best. My family isn't necessarily that close, but we are this one time of year.

On Thanksgiving, we pretty much sit around all day and watch football (I never said our traditions were Pilgrim) eventually the time comes to eat, and then afterwards we get the card games started.

Basically we play anything from Yahtzee, to Euchre, or even "Golf," (a card game that for some reason I'm always extremely lucky at when I play).

Every year something tends to go unexpectedly wrong as well. Unfortunately for me, last year was my turn. I woke up the day after Thanksgiving and tripped and fell down the stairs. My toe jammed right in to the wall at the bottom of the stairway, and turned into a black and blue grape.

I got to spend my Black Friday at the clinic in West Des Moines getting X-rays done (extremely painfully) on my toe. It wasn't broken, but it was sprained pretty badly.

This year (disappointingly) I don't get to join my family in Des Moines. It's weird to not even be able to do something I've done every year thus far, but I'm not taking it lightly.

Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude, and I'm grateful for the last 16 Thanksgivings I've gotten to spend with my family. I'm thankful for having that family, and more importantly, I'm thankful for life, and that I've gotten to enjoy the good times, and to be able to recognize that.

Jonah Bowe is a junior at Detroit Lakes High School.