This Thankful Tradition by Barbara Gruener

Hello from Barbara at the Corner on Character! Thank you, Maria, for this fun opportunity to share our family traditions. Our Gruener gang has generated quite a few over the past twenty years, but our family favorite has got to be our annual Thanksgiving Trek to the Texas Hill Country.

It started before our youngest son, Joshua, now fourteen and about to be a freshman in high school, was even born. It’s not that I didn’t want to prepare a turkey and all of its fixins, but with a whole week off from school and my extended family in Wisconsin, so very far away, it just seemed like a good time to travel. When the kids were younger, I even went out to buy them matching PJs for the trip each year.

So that first year, 1998, we headed to Kerrville and Fredericksburg. I was expecting Joshua and remember it vividly because we hiked so much that day that I swelled up and we had to cut my wedding ring off. Anyway, the very next year, we found our Thanksgiving retreat home away from home. I’ll never forget bathing the baby in the kitchenette sink. Built on the banks of the Comal River, The Other Place in New Braunfels is perfect for swimming, fishing, tubing, picking up pecans and just plain relaxing.

It’s centrally located in the Texas Hill Country for some fun day trips hiking in places like Enchanted Rock State Park, Pedernales State Park, and Landa Park. Just look at how much fun we’re having! These places have actually been the backdrop for our Christmas card a couple of times.

In addition to spending time together in the great outdoors, this annual trek to God’s Country includes lots of family game time, a movie night out, running in the Turkey Trot in Gruene,, a Thanksgiving Buffet somewhere, Dollar Bowling on Thanksgiving night, the Christmas tree lighting in Wimberly, Boerne or Gruene, and some antique and holiday shopping.

Our much-anticipated Thanksgiving trip typically lasts from the Tuesday or

Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving until Saturday afternoon, when we pack up our memories and head back into Houston.

What are your favorite family traditions?

Thank you Barbara for starting the Summer Series off! You continue to be an inspiration to me, not only as a professional making a difference in the world, but as a mother of three! 🙂 Maria