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This layout was the final project for a course at Auburn University in photojournalism.

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  • Bagley FamilyKeeps 30 Year Thanksgiving Tradition Alive

    Thanksgiving Day Becomes Week-Long Holiday Event

    Blake MenkePhotojournalism Layout

    Over the last 30 years the Bagley-Keenan family has upheld a tradition unlike any other. The energetic group, which has grown to a close-knit 32 member clan, gathers every Thanksgiving to celebrate Christmas. The traditions begin on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and continue through lunch on Sunday. Thefive-daygatheringiscenteredaroundfood, family, and laughter and small traditions as unique as the group themselves. Each tradition, both serious and silly, is important to our time together. We all look forward to our exchange of blessings, movie outings, meals and starting

    Christmas earlier than the rest, said Becki Bagley. On Thanksgiving Day, before the turkey and stuffing,thegroupgathersaroundtheChristmastree to exchange blessings for each other. Its our timetoreflectontheblessingswehave,bethankfulfor each other and give thanks to our Lord, said DeRita Burke. The younger generations of the group look forward to continuing the gathering as they grow old and have their own grandkids. As the years pass and the family grows, the traditions will as well. What began as a group of 11 has now tripled without missing a step. Becki Bagley said, The locations may change and so will the circumstances in life. But, our Christmas at Thanksgiving, will always remain on our calendars, written in bold, black Sharpie.

    Tish Bagley displays Christmas decorations for the family to enjoy on Thursday, Nov. 22. The family chooses to spend this time celebrating not just Thanksgiving, but the entire holiday season; and look forward to seeing these heirlooms displayed throughout Bagleys home this time of year.

    Tish Bagley, matriarch of the family, reads How Come Christmas to all the family members in her home on Thursday, Nov. 22. The book she is holding was passed down to her from her father and the story is read each year before the family begins their Thanksgiving Day celebrations.

    Located in Helena, Ala., Buck Creek has become the favored spot for pictures on Thanksgiving afternoon. This waterfall has served as the backdrop for family Christmas pictures for the last 3 years.

    Shawn and Ben Burke wait for their breakfast to be prepared on Friday, Nov. 23. Ben has always enjoyed this time each year he is able to spend with his Uncle Shawn discussing work, friends and maintaining strong bonds that this tradition has created between all members of the family.

    The oldest tradition of the celebration are the annual front-porch traditional and funny family pictures taken on Friday, Nov. 23. Saharh Burke is singled out in this years funny picture for causing the family to retake their classic picture twice due to her eyes being closed in both images.

    The family gathered at Ninos, located in Pelham, Ala., on Wednesday, Nov. 21 for their first family meal of the week-long celebration. Their Wednesday night dinner is usually the first time many of the family members are reunited after months apart making this meal is a cherished tradition.

    Joshua Burke cooks omelets for the family on Friday, Nov. 23. Joshua began this tradition in 2007 and it has served as the breakfast chef ever since.