Lots of guests and traditionWith a roaster more than 100 years old, one Jamestown woman will prepare a Thanksgiving meal for 50 or so people Thursday. It’s a tradition that’s been in the family for about 40 years.
With a roaster more than 100 years old, one Jamestown woman will prepare a Thanksgiving meal for 50 or so people Thursday. It’s a tradition that’s been in the family for about 40 years.
Sharon and Don Caine hosted Thanksgiving at their house in James-town for the first time 40 years ago when the home was a central location for Don’s five brothers and sisters.
“It’s awesomely fun,” Sharon said. “It’s my favorite holiday.”
The meal has since has grown with the generations. Some of whom could sit at the children’s table 40 years ago now have grown children of their own. In fact, the youngest, Kendahl, 8 months, is the daughter of a couple whose very engagement began at the family gathering three years ago.
Relatives travel from each coast and everywhere in between for the two turkeys, ham, 30 pounds of potatoes and the 13 pies Sharon makes herself.
“The menu has been exactly the same forever,” she said.
It includes a traditional Thanksgiving meal as well as sandwiches from Thanksgiving leftovers Thursday evening and turkey and dumpling soup on Friday.
Guests arrive at the home in southeast Jamestown and gather in the basement, which is furnished with tables, some of which are borrowed but all are set with real silverware and dishes as well as a centerpiece of fall décor. One of the permanent tables at the Caine household is a billiards-turned-buffet table in which guests serve themselves.
“It’s amazing how they all crowd in here,” Don said.
One of the guests is Lorna Williams of Fargo. Williams’ son, Dale, is married to Sharon and Don’s daughter, Susan.
Williams attended her first Caine Thanksgiving three years ago and looks forward to the crowd again this year. The number attending is one of the biggest Williams said she has experienced. She said she enjoys the duets she and Sharon have shared as well as when the Caines’ grandchildren sing.
“I just don’t want to miss it now,” Williams said.
To prepare the meal, Sharon uses a roaster Don’s grandmother, Rosie Dietrich, gifted her as well as frying pans she received from her mother and mother-in-law. Sharon also bakes her pies beforehand, freezing the fruit-filled pastries until the day of the big meal. Sharon said she formulates most of the feast herself, but Don’s sisters help out with salads and, instead of baking them herself like she used to, Sharon orders the buns these days.
All this from the woman who said she feared her husband would find out she couldn’t cook.
“When we were first married, I couldn’t even make Jell-o,” Sharon said.
Sharon, whose brother spent his time in the kitchen and later became a professional chef, said she kept busy playing the piano as a child.
Her guests keep busy too, watching football games on the big-screen TV after eating and helping clean up.
“I haven’t done dishes for years now,” Sharon said, saying her family is quick to pitch in.
Sharon said preparations begin a few weeks before the holiday. After so many years, she said she’s grown more efficient. Groceries, for example, aren’t bought all at once like in the past. Now, she purchases a few at a time.
The day and the weeks prior are busy, Sharon said, but some of her favorite of the year.
“I get tired, but it’s just that smile tired,” she said.
Sun reporter Katie Ryan-Anderson can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by email at kryan-anderson@ jamestownsun.com