Hal Turner and his sister, Melissa Ervin, can’t imagine their childhood— and especially Thanks giving Day—without the 800-acre farm in central South Carolina that’s been in their family for more than 200 years. “We grew up nearby and spent so much time there. My grandparents lived in a big Victorian farmhouse built by our great-grandfather,” Melissa says. “My father and grandfather farmed cotton, corn, and soy beans together.” And when he was old enough, Hal joined the team. “Every day after school, I jumped on my dirt bike, headed to the farm, and got on some piece of equipment and worked,” he says.
But it was Thanksgiving that brought everyone together for play. Aunts, uncles, and cousins converged on the Turner farm every November with heaps of covered dishes, like Hal and Melissa’s mother’s famous pimento cheese, in tow. Meanwhile, their grandmother took care of the mains: turkey, dressing, and biscuits. Hal fondly recalls another Turkey Day tradition. “All our cousins would gather, and we’d play football and have mud clod fights,” he says. “We broke more than a few windows on the house with bad passes.”
Melissa and Hal eventually left for Clemson University—he studied mechanical engineering; she studied architecture. After graduation, neither had any real interest in farming. They both married and had children of their own. Hal started his own contracting business (www.thompsont