Originally created 11/23/04

The newlyweds' Thanksgiving

The flowers and the minister arrived on time, as did the guests and the DJ.

After months of planning, it was the perfect wedding, but there are some things that just can't be prepared for, such as what happens when the honeymoon is over and the holidays begin.

For Courtney and Wade Radtke, of North Augusta, who were wed in March 2003, the oft-feared festivity fiasco occurred before the two exchanged vows.

After volunteering to make a turkey for the family Thanksgiving meal in 2002, Mrs. Radtke said, her unrefined culinary skills were put on display.

"I had always watched the Thanksgiving Day parade; I was never in the kitchen with my mother," she said in her own defense. "I put the salt and pepper on the skin and was massaging it all in. I put it in the oven and I thought, 'You know, I think there's another step.'"

There was, and as soon as her grandmother stopped laughing on the phone, she told her she had to take out the neck and giblets housed inside the turkey.

"I didn't realize there was stuff up inside it," Mrs. Radtke said, explaining that she had to take out the turkey she had placed in the oven minutes earlier in order to correct her mistake. "I had a flashlight and pliers trying to get them out. It totally disgusted me."

Her family and fiance probably thought so, too. They didn't touch her bird.

"After telling everybody the story, nobody even ate it," she said. "I messed up some cabbage once and (Wade) ate it. He's real good, he doesn't complain; but he didn't even eat that turkey. It was bad."

Kimberly and Delvin Evans, of Augusta, won't have to worry about a similar fate this Thanksgiving. The couple will be dividing time between both of their families, and the only dish required is a simple macaroni and cheese, Mrs. Evans said.

"No fears. I've made it before," she said. "I wouldn't even try to do turkey; it might come out kind of dry."

Menu matters aside, the biggest concern most newlyweds face is splitting the time between both sides of the family.

Martinez residents Chad and Brittany Wallace, who were wed July 10, are having to face that head-on.

"With both of us having family in town, it's hard to start new traditions, especially when you already are a part of so many traditions," Mrs. Wallace said. "We're just going to try and balance it between family. And when we have kids, start our own (traditions)."

Sharing the day with two households is rewarding in more ways than just getting double doses of the Thanksgiving spread, said Tracey Jones, of Augusta.

She and husband, Nathan, are planning to eat with his family first and then hers.

"Whatever our families are doing we'll make time to do both of them," she said. "Going to see the other side makes you feel like part of a bigger family."

Although dividing time is definitely not the worst way to spend the holiday, the Evanses, who already spent one Thanksgiving between in-laws, have learned that giving equal time can be a bit daunting.

"It was all right, but I knew it was going to be a long day since we did have to go to both sides," Mrs. Evans said.

"Both sides understand that it has to be that way," Mr. Evans said. "We pretty much said we were going to spend as much time as possible with both families."

It's that resolve that leads to real enjoyment, Mrs. Radtke said, adding that although celebrating the holidays is never easy, couples have a lifetime to work out the kinks.

"When you really come down to it, if the food's great, the family's great, and this time of year, it being so crisp and clean, we're just so thankful to have ourselves and each other and an awesome God who loves us; it puts things in perspective," she said. "Even with all the things like turkey mishaps and dividing the time, it makes it worthwhile."

Reach Kamille Bostick at (706) 823-3223 or kamille.bostick@augustachronicle.com.


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