by Nate Hosie
As the holiday season begins each year, millions of Americans put their busy lives on hold to come together and celebrate their thankfulness, a time to reconnect with family and experience the traditions that have endured for generations. We take off early from school and work, endure the packed airports and crowded highways filled with travelers, and work to craft that perfect dish for arguably the most important meal of the year. We loosen up our arms and relive the glory of our high school football years in backyards and quiet streets, navigate through uncomfortable conversations with distant relatives, and fight to stay awake long enough to watch the endings of the annual Turkey Day football games.
Thanksgiving is rooted in American tradition. For hunters, the connections to Thanksgiving are undeniable. We ply our skills in the field to bring home food for the table – the earliest Thanksgiving feasts flourished with the fruits of a successful hunt. We come together with our hunting partners – family and friends, reuniting to participate in our pastime, and cherishing the opportunity to pass down the tradition to our young ones. We travel far and wide to get to our favorite hunting spots, hoping to find the perfect opportunity to bring home a holiday prize.
Simply put, Thanksgiving and hunting go together like Turkey and gravy.
Growing up in Montdale, Pennsylvania, Thanksgiving was more than a time that old friends and family members were in town – it also meant rifle season was right around the corner. As far back as I can remember, I’ve spent every opening day of deer season hunting with my family. From back when I was a little boy going out with my grandpa to now spending that precious time in the woods with my wife, it has been and will always will be a Hosie family tradition.
Traditions in itself are something my family and I hold close to. Aside from being around one another, playing football with friends and eating as much as our bodies can consume, the tradition of spending time together outdoors and prepping for an upcoming hunt is what we do.
My family’s hunting roots run deep, making an impact not only me but on my entire family. Ever since I turned 12 years old and was deemed old enough to go hunting with my dad and grandpa, I couldn’t wait for my turn to be able to take someone hunting for the first time.
This year, I finally get my chance. My cousins have finally reached the legal hunting age, and I can’t wait to take them out for their first hunting experience. In fact, I might be more excited it about then they are.
Since rifle hunting season (in Pennsylvania) doesn’t officially begin until the Monday following the holiday, my day will start with my wife’s family followed by a quick visit to my aunt’s (where I’ll consume more food) before heading to my mom’s, with a final stop at my dad’s, where I plan to eat my last bit of food of the day and spend the evening watching football. Family and food – I couldn’t ask for more.
Despite how hectic my Thanksgivings tend to be, I’m constantly reminded of how blessed I am. I look forward to getting back to my roots and where I am from, taking a break from the stresses of work and travel, and reflecting on all I have waiting for me back home. In other words, cherishing the spirit of Thanksgiving is in every way like cherishing the traditions of hunting, stepping away from the fast-paced freight train of every day life and slowing down to remember what’s truly important in our lives: loved ones, companionship, traditions, passion and being thankful for what we have.
Whether I’m surrounded by family at the dinner table or parked beside family in the hunting blind, the feeling of graciousness is the same. There’s simply is no better time to be a Hosie than at Thanksgiving, wherever I am.
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