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Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving is...

Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving is bittersweet – missing loved ones but loving the memories

By: Courtney Ingle - November 20, 2023

In this series, Magnolia Tribune staff and contributors reflect on what they are thankful for and supply some last-minute recipes for the home cook preparing for Thanksgiving dinner.

My favorite thing about Thanksgiving is how it represents change throughout life.

Families come together every year for Thanksgiving. The tradition is so set in stone for so long that when there’s a loss, the family is left with an empty chair, a void, and even a lack of desire to celebrate. But eventually, the holiday celebration continues, just in a different way.

My father’s favorite holiday was Thanksgiving. “My family, food, football, and fun,” he’d list as the ingredients of a perfect Thanksgiving. It was true, too. There was always a game on, the family gathered with their favorite Thanksgiving recipes, and if Daddy was present, there was fun.

He once told me his motto was “Be serious about having fun.”  While I’ve adopted my Daddy’s quick wit, I miss his wildly inappropriate comedic timing, his comments about the insane amount of leftovers, and how he’d say, “This is the best movie ever made,” about every movie we watched on Thanksgiving night.

There’s also an unfillable chair on my husband’s side of the family. On Thanksgiving Day, Papaw was either in the pasture or the barn, fiddling around with everything and nothing. But when Mamaw gave the signal to call everyone in, Papaw came in, had us all hold hands, and he’d pray as if He were standing directly in front of God. It never failed that when Papaw prayed, I’d get a little teary-eyed at the gentle and respectful tone that flowed from an otherwise loud (and stubborn) man. Nowadays, Thanksgiving and Christmas are combined into one with my husband’s family to give us maximum time together since all of my husband’s siblings have married and started their own families and traditions. Whoever is called to pray over the meal is one unlucky person because I’ll always pipe up about how it wasn’t the same as Papaw’s sincere prayers. 

Joy comes with these memories, even though there is a tinge of sadness. But to see the legacy of these two great men is remarkable. There are a ton of grandkids (five grandchildren each for my Daddy and my husband’s Papaw, with the latter also having six great-grandchildren). The kids are all healthy, happy, and wild in the best ways. I look forward to seeing how our families continue to change shape and develop new traditions over time.

When I reflect on Thanksgiving and how it has changed over time, I am in awe of how it represents the changes we face in life. We’re faced with a trial, a challenge, a loss— then we adapt and overcome. We’re forced to change directions; we’re pulled and pushed in different directions—but then we find a new routine and continue. We don’t forget those along the way; though we miss them, we’re thankful to have even had them, even if for a short time.

This Thanksgiving, I desire that everyone see this perspective and take a second to take a few mental snapshots. Give thanks for what we have around us, reflect fondly on what we’ve loved and lost along the way, and embrace the newness that comes ahead. 

Divinely Loaded Deviled Eggs

The Thanksgiving spread was always done for me. What happened in the kitchen was none of my business, and I happily skipped breakfast to prepare myself for the onslaught of indulgence later in the day. I wasn’t counting calories– but in my young mind, I was saving room for more of my mom’s cheesy broccoli and rice casserole. 

But when the holiday season 2014 rolled around, I was no longer a newlywed who had to travel for Thanksgiving. My husband and I lived right down the road from my family, and I was ready for the real test of adulthood; I was set to graduate from bringing paper products to an actual dish to the family Thanksgiving feast. 

I don’t even have the original recipe anymore, but I know that when I stumbled upon a deviled egg recipe that looked “extra,” I was all in. 

You love everything about a baked potato, right? The bacon. The onion. The stick-to-your-bones richness? Take all that and apply those godly principles to deviled eggs. 

Here’s how I started having to bring that dish at every gathering. 


  • 12 boiled eggs 
  • Garlic powder 
  • Dried Chives
  • Bacon Bits
  • Mayo 
  • Salt 
  • Pepper

You will not find measurements here. I’m not a seamstress, and I’m not in construction. No need to measure anything here.

Cut your boiled eggs in half and throw the yolks into a mixing bowl. Break your yolks down with a fork. You want a fine, crumby texture. The smoother, the better.

Add the dried chives, bacon bits, and mayo to the yolks, stirring after each ingredient. Eyeball and taste it until you get the flavor and consistency you like. Incorporate everything well. 

Add a conservative amount of garlic powder to the egg mixture, then taste. It’s easy to overpower your taste buds with too much garlic powder. Add salt and pepper to taste once you’ve reached peak garlickiness.

NOTE: I don’t add salt at all.  The bacon brings just the right amount of salt. The only time I’ve ever added salt was when the store only had low-sodium bacon bits on the shelf. 

Spoon the egg mixture into the egg whites. It’s less messy if you use a piping bag, but isn’t the mess part of the fun? 

Top with more chives for garnish if you’re fancy that way. 

You’ll get plenty of practice with this recipe—once you bring this, it will be your assigned dish until you retire from the kitchen. I’ve had to cook up two dozen eggs (48 pieces) for larger family gatherings, and I’ve never had more than 3-4 pieces left to take home. Even that one person who turns their nose up at deviled eggs (ahem, my husband) will enjoy this divine twist. 

About the Author(s)
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Courtney Ingle

Courtney Ingle is a veteran journalist with more than a decade's worth of experience in print, radio, and digital media. Courtney brings her talents to bear at Magnolia Tribune to cover family-centered education and to elevate those unique aspects of Mississippi culture.