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A tale of two Thanksgivings

A fire blazes in the fireplace while family members sit around the television, watching the football game and reminiscing about the good old days. Mom calls from the kitchen that dinner is almost ready and directs everyone into the dining room. The family sits down to a neatly set table, plentifully covered with corn, green beans, cranberry sauce, biscuits and, of course, a plump turkey.

The holiday vacation, one typically associated with family and tradition, will draw many students home today to relax and catch up on schoolwork before final exams begin.

"My plans for Thanksgiving Break are to fly home to see my family and my girlfriend in Rhode Island," second-year College student Walter Geer said. "I'll pretty much watch football, watch the Patriots. If I have extra time, I might go up to New Hampshire or Vermont to ski."

Geer, who hasn't seen his family since he left for school Aug. 26, added that tradition marks every Thanksgiving holiday for him and his family.

The football fan even journeyed to Massachusetts several years ago to see his team, the Patriots, take on the Detroit Lions.

Although he isn't a whiz in the field of fine cuisine, he does know how to chow down.

"I eat, that's it," Geer said. "I love pumpkin pie."

For third-year Engineering student Patty Convery, however, Thanksgiving doesn't include a turkey with all the trimmings.

"I'm not a big fan of Thanksgiving," she said. "I don't like the food."

This year, Convery won't have to worry about sitting at the dinner table surrounded by food she doesn't enjoy.

Instead, she'll spend the long weekend alone in her Charlottesville apartment. "I have a little problem with Thanksgiving this year," she said. "I live in New Jersey, and I got a speeding ticket when I was coming down for Fall Break. I didn't pay it on time, so now my driving privileges are suspended."

Although missing out on Thanksgiving dinner hasn't upset her too much, Convery is disappointed that her loss of driving privileges will cost her a trip to see the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.

"I go to the Macy's Parade every year," she said. "I actually told my friend last night that I'm not going, and she said we were breaking tradition. We've been going every year since high school."

Living just outside of New York, Convery typically takes the subway into the city for the parade.

"It's really fun," she added. "It makes you feel like a little kid again."

Regardless of where they'll spend their Thanksgiving vacations, both Geer and Convery said they have something to be thankful for.

The illness of one of his roommates, specifically, made Geer realize how grateful he is for his health.

"I'm thankful that I'm healthy this year because our roommate is in the hospital," he said.

Convery said she is thankful for the support of her family.

In the spirit of giving thanks, we can all be thankful that Winter Break is just around the corner, and final papers and exams soon will be a distant memory.