Jackson County natives reflect on their favorite Thanksgiving memories

Katelyn Waltemyer
Jackson Newspapers
People in Jackson County shared their favorite Thanksgiving memories.

Thanksgiving is a holiday of gathering with loved ones, feasting on delicious foods and giving thanks. Everyone has their own traditions and favorite parts about the holiday. 

There's comfort in knowing that your neighbors are nestled in their homes and celebrating in their own small ways. As a way to reflect on our community this holiday, Jackson Newspapers asked three people to share their most treasured Thanksgiving memories. 

Trudging through the snow

Marsha Humphrey, a Jackson County resident, would always go to her grandparents'  house for Thanksgiving. They lived off a dirt road in Kenna. 

There would always be at least a foot of snow. Sometimes the snow was so deep that Humphrey's cousin would park the car on the dirt road, and carry her on his shoulders to the house. 

Once she got inside, the smell of a home-cooked meal grazed her nose. 

The men would eat first — there wasn't room for anyone else. Once they were finished, the kids would eat and the women would eat last because they served everyone. 

Humphrey remembers when that tradition was thrown out the window. It was the early 70s. 

One of the wives pulled up a chair to eat next to her husband. At first, the men said that she should wait to eat, but she insisted she wanted to eat with her husband. There was some laughter and then everyone at the table carried on. 

As she took a bite of her meal, the tradition died, swallowed by the past. 

Paintballing gone wrong 

Emily Babbitt, a volunteer at the WV Artisan Market, loves paintballing , but she hasn't used a paintball gun at her grandmother's house since she was 12 years old. 

It was Thanksgiving day, she and her cousin were out in the yard just before the turkey was ready. They were bundled up because they were shooting each other with vibrant colors. But then they started using her grandparent's cattle as target practice. 

Babbitt's gun jammed up and misfired onto the side of the house. 

Thud. Thud. 

A burst of pink and green paint covered the siding on the house. Everyone was outside within seconds. 

"That's how paw paw found out that we shot the cattle with paintballs," Babbitt said. "We got into a lot of trouble that day."

There was no hiding at that point. She and her cousin had their paintball guns taken away. As she looked back at the hectic day, she couldn't help but laugh. 

Spending time with loved ones 

George Hampton, of Gay, said Thanksgiving is all about spending time with family. 

One of his sons would always insist on going deer hunting on Thanksgiving. So, begrudgingly, Hampton would suit up in camo and spend part of the day camped out in the woods. 

He didn't always go, but now he looks fondly back on the times that he did. Thanksgiving hasn't been the same since his son died two years ago. 

"It doesn't seem the same anymore," Hampton said. "You never know when one's going to go."

Even though this year will still be different, Hampton is looking forward to spending quality time with his family. 

— Katelyn Waltemyer (she/her) is the General Assignment and Enterprise Reporter for Jackson Newspapers in Jackson County, West Virginia. Have a news tip on local government or education? Or a good feature? You can reach Katelyn at kwaltemyer@jacksonnewspapers.com. Follow her on Twitter @Kate_Waltemyer.