On Thanksgiving, ‘Gratitude Changes Attitude’


NEW YORK—The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, turkey, cornucopias, family and gratitude are some of the things we think about when we talk about Thanksgiving. We here at VMail Weekend decided to ask some of the optical community to share some of their most memorable Thanksgivings. As you make that trip back home, or relax with that leftover turkey sandwich check out the compilation below, featuring some happy accidents, new and old traditions and of course, moments of gratitude.

 Dori Carlson, OD, Heartland, Eye Care P.C.
“We built a four-season lake cabin in 2014 and now host Thanksgiving at the lake. Our cabin is in northern Minnesota so the weather can be interesting at Thanksgiving time. On our first holiday at the lake the guys stoked up the wood fired sauna and later ‘plunged’ in the hole they had cut in the ice. So, we now include a little “Minnesota Hot Tubbing” to our Thanksgiving tradition. This picture is of my husband, two sons, a friend and his son. Personally I love my oldest son in this photo. He’s just hanging out in the back with his arms up on the ice like it’s no big deal!”  

Susan Ludwick, (center) U.S. Vision Corporation 
“Growing up in the South, Thanksgiving was my favorite: food and family time. My grandmother always hosted and my memories of her and those meals are closely intertwined. She cooked something for most big meals in her iron skillet. If that skillet was out, something fantastic was on the table that day! I was not a fan of traditional pies and pie crust so I always skipped the pumpkin pie. I would double up on skillet cornbread and molasses.

When I moved out on my own, she gave me her cookbook—it was ‘well used’ even then. The first recipe I made from that book was a pumpkin chiffon pie. Every Thanksgiving since, I’ve made two of those. It is light and delicious with pumpkin and spice but is non-traditional. My children had that pie first and it is now their most requested. When my grandmother passed, the one special thing I wanted was her skillet. Well-seasoned, worn and loved, as was she. Thanksgiving was my favorite family time and still is. This Thanksgiving both of my kids are traveling in so we can cook and reminisce. I have much to be thankful for.”

Amy Schneider, Eyes of Faith 
“In 2012, I was struggling most with the chronic pain and fatigue that results from fibromyalgia. I got to a point that I decided to cancel our traditional homemade Thanksgiving feast with extended family that Jim and I host ever year. I was shamed and embarrassed to let my family down, so I swore my family to secrecy, then proceeded to order a complete Thanksgiving meal from Bob Evans. Hello…Turkey-Take-Out!

I truly felt that I had failed them, especially my husband, who loves everything about a home-cooked meal. Looking back, it was a lesson about the true spirit of Thanksgiving: simply being grateful to have a warm meal to share with loved ones. Was it any less of a celebration because the food came from Bob Evans and wasn’t made from scratch in my kitchen? Absolutely not. So my secret is out…homemade or not, Bob Evans Turkey-Take-Out was a perfect Thanksgiving meal. When we are at a low point, that’s when we appreciate and are thankful for the most basic of life’s blessings: family, food and faith. It’s all about perspective—gratitude changes attitude.”

Sara Bonizio, Metro Optics 
“When my parents were engaged, they attended Thanksgiving dinner at my paternal grandparents’ house. My grandfather was a real character, he loved to bust chops (which often led to arguments). They were all talking about the wedding invitation list, which tends to be a bone of contention in most families. They began to raise their voices, and my uncle, who was carving up the turkey in the other room with a very loud electric knife, kept stopping to eavesdrop; everyone kept hearing the knife go on and off, and my grandfather yelled at him to hurry up and finish (and mind his own business). To this day, anytime someone brings out an electric carving knife (or even something that sounds vaguely like it), they recall that particular Thanksgiving.”

Judy Nguyen, OD,
Bella Eyecare Optometry

“I'm the youngest of eight kids in the family, and being the youngest, I'm still seen as the baby. Most years, my brother does the cooking, however, one year I decided to show off my chef skills. I brined the turkey for two days, and cooked the meal all by my lonesome. I spent all day cooking, and let my brother do the carving since he knows how to use the electric carving knife. The meal was well received and since he did the cutting, he got the credit and didn't say anything about me doing the cooking all day! Since they ignored my attempts, now I just bring pie and don't bother slaving away... since it goes unnoticed anyway.”

Julie Kubsch, Specs Around Town 
“Thanksgiving 2007 our son was a freshman at the University of Evansville. He had become friends with fellow student, Nas, from Sofia, Bulgaria. Nas arrived in the states that prior summer and was enjoying all the excitement of the U.S. including the food! Matt brought him home for the Thanksgiving weekend in Normal, Illinois and then we were traveling to family in Milwaukee for Thanksgiving Day.

On Thanksgiving morning, Nas realized he had been enjoying the food of the States a bit too much and his dress pants barely fit him. He didn’t need to dress up much since arriving for college and now that the weather was cooler, he was putting them on for the first time in a few months. With pants barely fitting over his thighs, not to mention unable to zip, he proceeded to Thanksgiving dinner in nylon sport shorts and a dress shirt. Usually you’re stuffed after the Thanksgiving meal but this year we had someone popping out of his pants way before the turkey hit the table.”


Christina Vranich, OD, Fayette Family Vision Care 
“During my third year of optometry school, I volunteered to make Thanksgiving dinner, all by myself, for my family for the very first time! I was so proud to have my menu prepared and my list complete, but still had to make 17 trips to the store.

I thought I remembered that potato skins were good for the garbage disposal, only to remember that it was actually egg shells! I clogged up my kitchen sink in my tiny apartment at the very beginning of my meal prep. Thankfully, I had a friend on speed dial that could help me out before I could even panic. Everything turned out edible and the Vranich family survived another holiday.”


Melanie Denton Dombrowski, OD,
Salisbury Eyecare and Eyewear 
“Our town shuts down in the afternoon of the day before Thanksgiving every year for the Holiday Caravan Parade. Even though my practice is only a year old, it's already become our tradition to close the office and participate in the parade. We put together over 1,000 ‘goodie bags’ last year and our team of four dressed like elves and walked the parade route, handing out candy and treats to the kids on the sidelines. It was crazy. The parade route is several miles long and we practically ran the whole way since the parade is not slow. This year, we are setting up in our parking lot and will hand out hot chocolate and hot cider to those on their way to the parade!”