Thanksgiving Traditions

Thanksgiving is a very important holiday in our house. Each year we have begun preparing for it in May — that’s when the baby turkeys (poults) would arrive on our front doorstep — usually 25 to 30 of them (that’s just enough baby turkeys and WAY too many adult turkeys). Between May and November, the family farm became a turkey playground, where the males strutted their big fanned tails for the females and a chorus of turkey gobbling could be heard acres away. Every year a couple of turkeys picked me out as their friend and would crawl on my lap whenever I sat in the garden. These select few would become our “presidential pardon” turkeys — always nicknamed “Lucky.”

As a society, we’ve become separated from our food. As a family, we tried to bring it back home (in a humane way). So when November rolled around, we’d host a gathering of friends to catch and prepare our Thanksgiving feasts. Guests would leave educated (albeit a little freaked out) and with an organic, free range, hormone-free, cage-free, additive-free Thanksgiving turkey.

This year, the turkey is store bought, as are the potatoes and the green beans. But more than ever, we’re reminded that Thanksgiving is not all about the feast — it’s about family and tradition.

I’m not sure what life holds for me in the months ahead — but for this Thanksgiving, I’ll be with the most important people in my life and I have plenty of reasons to be thankful.



Loren, 2005



Hannah Jane Nancarrow is a San Diego State University alumni, with a B.A. in journalism and new media. After graduating in 2011, Hannah worked in local T.V. news before her dad was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Hannah managed and contributed to her dad’s incredibly popular blog ( and social media platforms before he passed away, after 11 months of bravely battling and blogging. The diagnosis was a catalyst for her own writing and for following each whim and dream. Today, Hannah writes her own blog and has been a keynote speaker at San Diego Women's Week, Relay for Life, and a top fundraiser for cancer-related causes throughout San Diego. Hannah also has a passion for health and fitness, since losing 75 pounds in 2011. She earned her Spinning® and group fitness instructor certifications, and teaches weekly cycle classes in Encinitas, California. Hannah also earned her real estate license and works in the family business, Nancarrow Realty Group, in North County San Diego.

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81 comments on “Thanksgiving Traditions
  1. donna says:

    Always nice to read Loren stories. I miss him so much from sharing so much about his family and beautiful flowers

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  18. Anonymous says:

    Hey Loren and family, wishing you peace and strength. My prayers are with you. anonymous

  19. Heidi says:

    One of my favorite memories I have of my parents was (we lived in Ramona) when we also killed a turkey and then my mother would work on taking all the feathers off of it! I miss doing that.

  20. Nenette Popiela-West says:

    I have always look forward to reading anything about you and your family. I hope you have many more memorable Thanksgiving days to come. I also hope you are not in any kind of pain and that the medications they have given you is working. Thank you for showing all of us how to live in spite of all adversities. This year has been horrible for your entire family but you are still here and the next years will be much better. We learned so much from all of you. Please know that I wish all of you well ALWAYS!

  21. lizbrown619 says:

    I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving surrounded by your family. Sending you lots of healing energy and well wishes.

  22. Susan McAndrews says:

    Dear Hannah, Bob and I have followed your family’s journey and continue to hold positive thoughts in our hearts for each of you. You were very little when we invited your dad for his first Thanksgiving organic Turkey preparation. We typically raised at least a dozen turkeys and would share them with our friends and family. We have some fun pictures of Loren partaking in the tradition. Prior to moving last spring, we dropped some darling pictures of you, your brother, mom and dad (before Britta was born) off at your mom’s office. Hope you were all able to enjoy. I just found the Thanksgiving pictures and will send them as well.

    Susan McAndrews

  23. Linda Garnica says:

    I have a good feeling that you will share many more wonderful years and treasured moments with your beautiful family Loren. You are loved!!!

  24. Susan R. Wise says:

    Thanks dear Loren, for your Thanksgiving post! Julian & I always enjoy to the “max” making/creating our Happy Thanksgiving meal. Always have at least one dear friend who joins us for the specialness of the day! This year, we had a visit from our dear friend/neighbor, Lena Prunty, 95 yrs. young! She arrived at 1:15 p.m., driven here by granddaughter, Terri. I served the 1st slice of my Creamy Strawberry Pie + slice of a new creation: Banana Black Walnut Cake, and Lena called these morsels, “my lunch!” She is a true treasure, is very sound of mind and able, at will, to relate some of the most hair-raising, amazing stories of her youth in San Jose and about her born in Sicily parents!! We hope this years Happy Thanksgiving was warm, cozy, sunny, blue-sky, joyous kind of Nancarrow family celebration!! I’m sending along my daily prayers + Julian joins me in sending our warm, sincere best wishes and hopes for the Nancarrow family future!! Love, Hugs & Prayers, Susan & Julian Wise

  25. says:

    I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. My teacher Thay says all the conditions are present for us to be happy. I’m not so sure about that. Tears are running down my cheeks as I write this.

    I do know I have many things to be grateful for, as we all do. I am so grateful for all knowledge and wisdom that Loren has shared with us over the years. And your family has shown us how to live. Much love and many gratitudes, Debbie Westcott

    Sent from my iPhone


  26. sharon frank says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and sentiments throughout your illness. You and your family show me how to face anything life presents in an honorable and admirable way. How are you feeling now?

  27. Chuck Buck says:

    Wishing this wonderful and courageous family a wonderful Thanksgiving

  28. Joyce Ward says:

    Wishing all of you a blessed Thanksgiving, along with blessings every single day. I love your vision for the Scripps Healing Garden. It is so Loren. Without having met the kids, I love all of you. Joyce & Arlo (Woof!)

  29. J Walsh says:

    Happy Thanksgiving Loren and family. Although we’ve left North County SD for Michigan, we continue to be inspired by your journey! #staystrongloren

  30. Anonymous says:

    We wish you and your family all the best today and the upcoming Christmas Holiday/New Year. Our thoughts and prayers are with you every day. Continue your brave battle against this cruel disease. FYI, we will be making a donation for your beautiful garden at UCSD after the first of the year. Cheers, Greg & Donna

  31. Susan Taylor says:

    Wishing you Loren and your exquisite family a peaceful loving Thanksgiving.. xoxoxoxo

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