Area families share Thanksgiving traditions, recipes

Freedom New Mexico: Liliana Castillo Clovis resident Lori Robbins moves a fresh batch of pork tamales from the pot to a platter Friday at her home in south Clovis.

Alisa Boswell

Thanksgiving is the time of year treasured for memories of holiday traditions and family legacies.

With this in mind, Freedom New Mexico decided to get together with local Clovis and Portales mothers of all ages for holiday memories, suggestions, and best of all, recipes.

Kala Adair, 32 and a mother of three, said four generations worth of her family now come to her house every year for Thanksgiving, where they eat turkey, play games and watch football.

“One of the things we look forward to is Thanksgiving time,” said Adair. “It’s the act of loving my family by serving things they love. That makes it special for me.”

Lori Robbins, 30, also a mother of three, hosts a Thanksgiving dinner for her family of five and her sister and parents.

Robbins said her family always has pecan pie every year then after dinner, they make tamales and freeze them for Christmas. Robbins said this is a tradition started by her grandmother.

“I think it’s just become really special how me and my husband and our kids have started our own traditions and having Thanksgiving at our house,” said Robbins. “It’s neat how it’s transitioned into it being at our house. It works for me, because I love being a hostess.”

Marilyn Hartle, 52, a mother of three and a grandmother of four with another on the way, said her main tradition for every holiday is a tablecloth she uses for every holiday meal. Everyone who attends signs their name to the table cloth and those who are too young to sign leave hand imprints.

Hartle said she has become more relaxed about holiday preparations in the last few years due to a battle with cancer.

“It made me aware that it’s more important to spend time with my family than to get up and hurry up with the cooking and cleaning,” said Hartle. “Having cancer changes your priorities.”

Hartle said all of her children and grandchildren live locally and still come to her house every year along with her in-laws, adding great-grandparents to the mix.

Evelyn Wright, 88, a mother of two, grandmother of nine and great-grandmother of two, said one thing her family has always used every year is cornbread dressing, which is “an old southern tradition.”

She said they crumble leftover cornbread in the turkey juice to use as a sauce for food.

“We always give thanks to God for a fruitful year and the family always comes in,” said Wright, tears in her eyes. “What is means for me is being thankful for my family.”

Ardis Fish, 84, a mother of two, grandmother of three, great-grandmother of four and great-great-grandmother of five, said her family rotates houses every year for Thanksgiving. This year, she will be hosting a small dinner for herself, her son and his wife and two more.

“For years, I used to invite elderly people who were alone for Thanksgiving, but now I’ve gotten too old for that,” said Fish with a laugh. “I definitely think it’s (Thanksgiving) for family and friends. I definitely don’t like to see people by themselves for it.”