The Thanksgiving Archive
The earliest celebration of this event by persons that still partake was when Sam, Mimi andBen Mitchell visited Ellen and Durb Curlee in Grand Forks North Dakota in 1968. No doubt this led to Durb's early (but Honorable) retirement from what some claim was his only job ever i.e. the Air Force. The following year Phil, Gretchen, Dagmar and Jacob Cooley, having recently returned from 4 years of travel in Australia, Asia, Africa, and Europe, visited Eddie Lang at his home in Louisville Kentucky. Eddie posed the possibility of establishing an annual Thanksgiving celebration but he also suggested Valentines Day, Halloween and the fourth of July as alternative possibilities.
The earliest record of our Thanksgiving celebration occurred in the early 1970's. A single group picture documents that event. One of us estimates the date as 1973.
The actual record of a group celebration began in 1975 when the Curlees, the Mitchells, the Schwabes, the Cooley's the Lang-Mullins and some friends of the Curlee's from Minnesota met at the Curlee farm in Missouri. There is a single picture taken by Sam of the event that year. The following year the same group less the Minnesota contingent met at a Kentucky State Park located near Pineville.
One noteworthy event that occurred prior to this meeting happened in 1972 when Sam Mitchell bought his first camera. Sam's Thanksgiving group photos has become the definitive record of the annual event.
The 1976 event was great fun. It was organized by Eddie who was his most outrageous ever that year. It was suggested at that time, that this could become an annual event with the location rotating among different Kentucky, North Carolina, and Missouri sites and for a while this actualy happened.
After 1976 there are three years where there is no photographic evidence of a group event: 1981, 1983, and 1984. However, in 1983 Eddie Lang and Phil Cooley, at the time both single, and some friends and family got together for an event in Southport North Carolina. This activity was notable because it was the same year as the U.S. invasion of Grenada, because Eddie and Phil vacationed in Grenada shortly after the invasion. This permitted a date to bedetermined for the 1983 event without any specific photographic evidence.
The material that follows describes each Thanksgiving event for every year that an event was held. The discussion for each year provides a description of the location, a set of photographs, a list of people that attended the event, and a series of paragraphs that describe noteworthy happenings that occured during the event. I am soliciting paragraphs from everyone that attended that remembers something about that year that was significant to them. I have included some examples to demonstrate that profundity is not the emphasis.