Happy Anniversary, You Turkey!


Thirty-one years ago my husband and I decided to tie the knot on Thanksgiving. In a different country.

Back then the term “destination wedding” had not been invented. We just wanted to do something different that involved snorkeling at the reception. So, we found a Bahamian out-island that could accommodate our friends and family and enough Boston Whalers to traverse our guests from reef to reef after the ceremony. It was grand. Memorable. Unconventional. And it set the stage for the next 30 years of marriage.

Two years after our Caribbean caper, my husband decided to pursue his doctorate in psychology in Michigan (we lived in Florida). I didn’t go with him. I wished him well and made sure he had plenty of warm winter clothes. It worked for us; I was fully entrenched as a marketing specialist for the most popular computer company in the world, and he was channeling Jimmy Buffet as a graduate assistant.

We became geographic jitterbugs.

We moved to the Carolinas. We moved back to Florida. Sometimes without jobs, more often with jobs we didn’t like. Given the choice, we always celebrated our anniversary over Thanksgiving. We’ve been known to leave the mashed potatoes and turkey on the table and jet off to New Orleans. We were foot-loose and fancy free; the turkey a symbol of our romantic wanderlust.

But, we were also growing older.

Somewhere in the back of our minds we could hear a biological clock ticking—or maybe those were sleigh bells—so we took that as a sign to buy more horses and moved on out to the country. Our friends in the city thought we were either crazy or cool—depending on their tolerance for horse manure and flies—amid the 20 plus animals that called our farm home, none of which were human children. So, we got to thinking, “What would Thanksgiving be like with children?”

Not just anyone’s children. Ours.

In our true non-conformal style, we took off to New York City the following year to see the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.  The next day we started the IVF procedure—on our 15th anniversary. Truth be known, we had been trying to get pregnant—here and there—so IVF wasn’t a totally unexpected next step. Our fertility specialist looked kindly on us as an “aging” couple that was intent on becoming the oldest parents in the carpool. I was 47; my husband 49. I was worried that when I was 65 my child would be in high school. The good doctor advised me that I was going to be 65 someday anyway.


Because having just one baby would be far too ordinary, we had twins. For twelve years, we forfeited all hopes for a romantic anniversary getaway and acquiesced to hours in the kitchen preparing a complete Thanksgiving dinner. It was an over-rated experience. Peas were thrown, gravy was spilled and turkey legs were frequently found in the mouth of our overweight welsh corgi who had taken up residence underneath the table. And that was just last year.

This year we are going back to our old ways. Can someone pick up two “older adults”  and their teenage children from the San Francisco airport on Thanksgiving Day?  

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A native of Michigan, journalism grad of the University of Colorado at Boulder, and recent escapee of Florida, Julie made her plans to move to Colorado Springs nearly 30 years ago after repeatedly visiting her college roommate’s hometown to do her laundry. She succeeded in 2012, bringing her twin boys, four dogs, six cats, a horse and her husband in a cross-country trip that rivaled The Fast and The Furious. Her past work includes an eight-year stint as the Dining Editor and features writer for Tampa Bay Illustrated, numerous corporate writing gigs and a recent feature in Colorado Collective. In her free time, she forces her family to hike slot canyons in Utah.


  1. Julie and Michael- wishing you the best on 31st anniversary. Thank you for including us to Exuma celebrating this very memorable occasion!

    Paul and Karen Fate

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