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. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your amazing family. Thankful for your words, your generosity of spirit, and your connection and care of this beautiful world and the living things in it. Love to you and your family.

  2. padrefansx4 says:

    Wishing your lovely family a blessed Thanksgiving.

  3. Gwynneth says:

    Wishing you all blessings on this Thanksgiving day

  4. Jill & Hannah says:

    Loren, Susie, & Hannah,

    May you be able to enjoy this Holiday and be blessed!!! I appreciate you sharing your walk with us. Although, we can never, ever know what it is like to walk in your shoes ~ know that we walk alongside you during this time!

    Jill & Hannah Parvin

    PS: Based on stories that my late husband told about his Grandma “ringing” a chicken…I can only imagine how your guests were “educated”! LOL 😀

  5. Anonymous says:

    What a beautiful tradition and story, thank you for sharing it with us. May your day be filled with love and laughter…Happy Thanksgiving Nancarrow family ❤ and may God Bless you the miracle of complete recovery.

  6. Bruce King says:

    Great story Loren. Thanks for sharing. Have a great Thanksgiving!!!

  7. I know Robert misses your “turkey party” too. But it will always be one of those really cool memories (educating & entertaining) for everyone involved. Wishing you and the family a blessed & relaxing Thanksgiving this year…. so you can save up your energy to do the turkey party next year! 😉

  8. Anonymous says:

    Wishing you and yours a great Thanknukah. I miss you and all of your gardening advise. Nobody knows what the future brings, Loren. So, keep well and joyful. Sending you and your family the best.

  9. Trish says:


    I love reading your writtings. Sharing your memories and thoughts is so generous. I feel like I am getting a peek into a nice country family. My thought and heart will be with you as the new year passes. I wish you happy trails and a strong body!

    Trish Hausman

  10. Sheri says:

    Best wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving. Thank you for all you have given to us (and continue to give)

  11. Dawn says:

    I am always glad to hear others repeat my Thanksgiving mantra that it is people not food that is important. Matters not whether the people are related by blood, by friendship or as in the case of my parents who ran a restaurant/bar and always invited travelers to share our meal with us. I may not have been crazy about the drinking but the message it actually gave will always remain with me. Have a peaceful and blessed holiday.

    Dawn & Paul

  12. audreywilmot says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to Loren and the whole family.., I have never eaten a range free free fee free free turkey
    That is sad I know
    Have a wonderful day live in the moment
    Hugs always

  13. Clark Broekema says:

    Happy Thanksgiviukkah! Blessings to you and your precious family. We can be thankful for what we’ve been given, even if it’s through the pain of our current suffering. As always, thanks for your encouragement.


  14. On the Path says:

    Happy Thanksgiving! Much love and many blessings and prayers to you and your family!

  15. Julianne Mulvany says:

    To a wonderful man and his beautiful family, Happy Thanksgiving. My prayers go out to you daily, hoping that you return to good health very soon.

  16. Monica Pendleton, RN says:

    Beautifully said, Loren, simply beautiful. Blessed to be here, thankful for each day.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Wishing you and your family a beautiful day and all the days to come…Thank you and your family for sharing so much with so many other families who love and admire you. We are blessed to have you in our lives. Thank you…

  18. Kathy Schietinger says:

    God Bless you and your’s. Have a blessed Thanksgiving, and keep up the fight.

  19. Jacqueline Riedel says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your beautiful family Loren xoxo

  20. Diane Middleton says:

    Dear Loren, Hope you have a blessed Thanksgiving. you are in my thoughts and prayers..God bless you and your beautiful family. love and prayers, Diane Middleton

  21. Patti Newton says:

    Hanna, reading your post I am reminded how much I love this country lifestyle. In fact, your dad and mom (I believe she was his fiancé at the time) looked at our place here in Elfin Forest when it was for sale over 25 years ago. They passed it up but we’ve been here since. While talking with some neighbors last summer at the annual July 4th picnic and parade (a lot like Mayberry RFD!) As we talked I was suddenly struck by the nature of our conversation. We discussed septic tanks, roof rats, rattlesnakes, bobcats, coyote, horse manure management, landfills, compost, earthworms, beehives… you name it! It was then I realized we are not like other people…and I am so thankful for that! You, dear Hanna, and your family, are not like other people either, and I am grateful for that too!

  22. Jeanie Caldwell says:

    Have a wonderful family day Thanksgiving. God bless America.

  23. Kelly says:

    We are THANKFUL for YOU and your transparency. You are letting “strangers” in to your life during this time of struggle. I admire you and your beautiful family so much. Thank you to YOU, Loren and have the best “store bought” Thanksgiving ever….with your family. ❤️

  24. Anonymous says:

    Much love to you, Loren, and to your family. Thanks for making this a better world for all of us, one new tradition at a time. Happy Thanksgiving! ❤ ~Margaret

  25. Eileen Brennan says:

    Loren… never knew you had that tradition! for a guy who grew up in trumbull connecticut i am really impressed. Through your posts I have learned what an amazing, really amazing family, you have. You did good my fellow connecticutian! love you, eileen b.

  26. Ana Hui says:

    Your strength and positive attitude is an inspiration to all! May God continue to heal you and grant you good health for many, many years. May you and your family have a warm, joyful, and blessed Thanksgiving! Thank you for what you’ve given the community of San Diego, we are grateful!

  27. Kathy says:

    Much love to you…and to your family! We only spoke directly one time, but that experienced deepened and amplified the impression I had of you from many yrs on Ch 10. Blessings and joy!! Kathy

  28. Margee Frey says:

    Your spirit constantly amazes me. Thank you for this post, and may you enjoy this Thanksgiving with family and friends.

  29. Anonymous says:

  30. Kat O says:

    Have a blessed Thanksgiving Loren and family. Love and prayers coming your way, as always. Enjoy your day.

  31. Marilyn says:

    You are all so courageous. Bountiful blessings for you all.

  32. Anita Lawrence says:

    God bless you and your family this Thanskgiving and always. Miracles can & do happen & I am praying for one for you.

  33. I am thankful for you and for your family who have so openly shared of your spirit, woes, lives and hopes.Thank you for always being an example of what being human really should be. Enjoy your holiday.

  34. Jody says:

    Loren, you are in my prayers, I wish you and your family a Thanksgiving like non before. We are all thankful for you. God Bless you and your family.

  35. Enjoy the day! You are one lucky family to have such love and support! Happy Thanksgiving!

  36. Cindy Traisi says:

    Thinking of you and your family with love- Cindy and Chuck Traisi

  37. Anonymous says:

    May the Lord Bless you and your family and Thanksgiving and every day thereafter. You are a wonderful, courageous family.

  38. Debbie Bitker says:

    Doing the same here. Fresh & Easy is cooking everything this year. I have a Tofurky for me. Makes if easier and more enjoyable now that grandkids are around.

    Enjoy your Thanksgiving, Nancarrows. We love you all. ❤

  39. Linda Tegarden says:

    Mr. Nancarrow….Everybody is thankful that YOU got to be here, which is the greatest gift! I am taking my own advice which is to enjoy it like no other day, the embodiment of all our hopes, wishes,dreams and miracles.

  40. Andy Casillas Hein says:

    This day will be extra special, for all of us. That we still have Loren in our lives and he’s showing us what courage is all about on a daily basis. Thanks to you for sharing this life changing experience. Blessings all around your table.

  41. Linda Gloria says:

    Loren, I wish you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving, I pray for many more. With love & respect
    Linda Gloria

  42. Beverly Larsen says:

    Love and prayers are being sent to you and your wonderful family.

  43. Sofia says:

    Happy Thanksgiving from Uruguay to your family in San Diego…praying for your restored health. God is full of surprises….get ready! You have so much to give yet…you’ve inspired too many in an awesome way!!! Bless you Loren

  44. Anonymous says:

    Loren, we wish you and your family the BEST Thanksgiving and best HOLIDAY season ever, you deserve it !!!

    Lisa and Ken

  45. Lyn Allred says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, Loren. We all love you and are sending all good thoughts your way.
    Lyn and Jim

  46. Cheryl Pronchick says:

    Happy Thanksgiving, Loren! You’ve made my day by posting; I’ve been missing you, probably like a lot of other people. Your lovely family keeps in touch, and we’re all thankful for that. Take care!

  47. Christine says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to the Nancarrow family! With love, from your neighbors down the street 🙂

  48. Anonymous says:

    HAPPY THANKSGIVING to the beautiful Nancarrow family! Much love, Diane, Marty, Brendon, and Connor

  49. Alva Stricker says:

    God Bless You and your Beautiful Family Loren…

    Sent from my iPhone


  50. Jackie Owens says:

    Loren, May you and your family have a wonder ful Thanksgiving. With prayers for you and the family that your treatments solve your medical problems and Next Thanksgiving you will definitely be CANCER FREE and back to work again. We miss you. BLessings. Jackie

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