Food & Drink

Lindsey Wilson College president's Thanksgiving tradition includes a meal for 60

Elise Luckey and her husband, William T. Luckey Jr., president of Lindsey Wilson College, had their work cut out for them Wednesday getting ready for their annual Thanksgiving meal. The Luckeys expect 50-60 guests at their home from the college community.
Elise Luckey and her husband, William T. Luckey Jr., president of Lindsey Wilson College, had their work cut out for them Wednesday getting ready for their annual Thanksgiving meal. The Luckeys expect 50-60 guests at their home from the college community.

Bill and Elise Luckey see it as sort of a Thanksgiving marathon, the week of the year they don't get a lot of sleep.

The Columbia couple is expecting between 50 and 60 guests for their Thanksgiving meal, and that means about two 24-pound turkeys, a whole turkey breast, and two hams.

And that's just the meat.

The occasion is the couple's annual Thanksgiving dinner for Lindsey Wilson College students, mainly foreign, and other members of the college community who would just like a good American meal served with good company.

Bill Luckey is the president of Lindsey Wilson College, a 2,600-student school in Adair County. He is also the stuffing chef — the key stuffing ingredient is Miracle Maize's sweet corn bread mix.

"I spent about three hours shopping last night and still have more to do," he said.

Elise Luckey is the Williamsburg apple pie chef. Also, she said while talking by phone on Tuesday, "I have 70 eggs on slow boil at home right now.

"We will be working all day, tonight and tomorrow," she said.

The couple are also fixing corn pudding, mashed potatoes, noodles, potato salad, mashed potatoes, deviled eggs and pie. They have ordered cheesecake from Carnegie Deli in New York City and have store-bought pumpkin pie.

Married for 27 years, the Luckeys started the massive Thanksgiving celebration in 1998.

They missed 2009 when they accompanied the Adair County High School marching band to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Their three children — 26, 23 and 22 — grew up with this large Thanksgiving celebration and will be home for this year's meal. They take pride in their parents' tradition, said Elise Luckey.

So do the students who have experienced it.

Jose Castro Bracho, a senior from Venezuela, said he appreciates the event because although his home country doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving, he hears about it from his fellow students, many of whom are going home to their own traditions.

"I'm far away from my family, and to have it here is good. So many people don't have a place to go and enjoy that moment."

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