When it comes to Thanksgiving dinner, most would consider the roasted turkey as the centerpiece of the table. Served with a variety of traditional sides that range from mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, and cranberry sauce to not so traditional sides like red curry mashed potatoes, or fall harvest roasted pear and kale salad. Depending on what part of the country you are from, there is always a delicious array of the most festive foods.
Have you ever wondered why we serve turkey, or pumpkin pie? Here is a breakdown of why we eat what we eat on Thanksgiving.
Although the first Thanksgiving celebration in 1621 by the Pilgrims of Plymouth did not mention eating turkey, they did mention wild fowl for the meal, which could have been ducks or geese. It was not until later that Americans started incorporating wild turkey into their meal. By 1863 Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday and the turkey in all its scrumptious splendor, gained traction as it’s centerpiece.
Long before Stove Top stuffing was introduced in 1972, the practice of stuffing fowl with onions and herbs before roasting was more common. Because stoves were not widely available until the 18th century, birds were roasted over an open fire on a skewer. This made it difficult to cook side dishes, as a result they would place day old bread into the turkey. The juices would rehydrate the bread creating a delicious side dish while also preventing the bread from going to waste.
Potatoes were introduced to North America shortly after 1621, but they did not become part of America’s agricultural society until 1719. Before potatoes, people would eat other plant roots, such as turnips. No one really knows how they became a modern Thanksgiving tradition.
Indigenous to New England, cranberries were most certainly consumed in one form or another prior to the first Thanksgiving. Because sugar was a rare luxury and there were insufficient sugar stores, the method of
preparing the cranberries boiled with sugar, was not discovered until the late 17th century. By 1800, cranberry sauce made its way to most Thanksgiving menus.
The origin of the pumpkin pie dates all the way back to 1621 when the early American settlers of Plimoth Plantation settled in southern New England. They would hollow out the shell, add milk, honey and spices and then bake it in hot ash. In 1651, Francois Pierre la Varenne, a famous French chef added the pumpkin pie that included the pastry to his cookbook. It was then called Tourte of Pumpkin. By the 1670’s recipes for a “pumpion” pie had appeared in several cookbooks favorited by the Queen. By 1796, the pumpkin pie became an American tradition and recipes were added to the first American cookbook written and published in America by Amelia Simmons. It is now an American tradition and served in many American households as well as all over the world.
Thanksgiving dinner is the largest eating event in the United States. People eat more on Thanksgiving than any other day of the year. So, whether you go for the sweet potato casserole, macaroni and cheese or bacon infused Brussel sprouts, be sure to always save some room for the pumpkin pie!
Beginning his lengthy career at Airways Freight back in the early 1800’s, Kevin Willyard is one of the original employees of Airways! Starting in October of 1988, after Airways moved locations, he has been an integral part of our Trade Show Division, and currently holds the world record for attending the most Trade Shows for any employee at Airways!
Born and partly raised in Houston, Texas, Kevin and his family moved to Winslow, Arkansas when he was fourteen. Having family in the area made the transition easier. He went from living the big city life with a population of over four million to settling in to a very small town of only 267 people.
As a kid, Kevin loved being outdoors and spend a lot of time riding bikes, go carts and motorcycles. He enjoyed going to work with his father who drove backhoes and bulldozers. He also loved fishing, hunting and exploring the woods.
While in high school, Kevin worked part-time at his parent’s grocery store in Winslow. After graduating, He attended college in Dallas and Austin, Texas. Following the move back to Northwest Arkansas in 1988, he began working for Arkansas Western Gas Company doing maintenance. After hearing about an opening at Airways, Kevin was interviewed by Dale Caudle himself, who hired him on the spot. He continued working at both places for five years until his travel schedule started to become too much.
Kevin began his employment at Airways in the Night Operations department. After skipping around to a few different departments, he finally settled into the Trade Show Department and has been travelling to trade shows representing Airways for the past 25 years!
Married to his best friend and wife, Carrie, Kevin has two children. His daughter, Kara (who also works Airways) and his adopted son, Luke. During his time home, he loves to spend it with his family. He’s an avid Razorback fan and enjoys watching whatever sport might be going on. He also likes to spend time with family on the lake.
Being one of the most genuine guys you will ever meet, Kevin is described by his co-workers as an all-around good guy. He is witty, admirable, and respected by his colleagues. Being one of only a hand-full of employees that have passed the 30-year mark, he is a part of our foundation and an exemplary representative of Airways Freight.
“When I was a fairly-new hire, my first tradeshow to attend was with Kevin- we were at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. I quickly learned that handling a tradeshow move out is a tremendous amount of work, but that anytime you work with Kevin you are bound to enjoy it. He is a true veteran of the industry and an all-around good guy, I cannot imagine Airways without him.” – Craig Luttrell
“Working with Kevin is one of my travel highlights. He is such a knowledgeable asset to Airways. He was my mentor and the first person who had faith in me. He was the first person to take me to a trade show and he taught me so much! While on show-site he is always just a phone call away for any questions I might have. He is one of the nicest people I know, and I have never heard anyone say different. And we both order the exact same cocktails so it makes things easier for ordering lol…” – Mandy Wood
“Kevin is by far the most calm, unflappable guy Airways has ever had working trade shows on-site. Which is a good thing, because he’s probably worked more of them than all of us combined. He’s a genuinely good human being too that I’m proud to call a colleague and a friend. Thirty years later he’s the same as he ever was, and that’s pretty great!” – Hal Poole
Hired in December of 2006, Calvin Garretson began working for Airways Freight in the Night Operations department and eventually transitioned to become an Account Manager in the International Commercial Air department with emphasis on Dangerous Goods and Aerospace shipments. His job is to ensure compliance and safe transport of paints, resins, aerosols, and other related aircraft components, that are being shipped overseas. Calvin’s main priority is to assure that all hazardous materials are transported in the safest manner possible, aboard both cargo and passenger flights.
Born in Ft. Smith, Arkansas, Calvin, and his family spent eight years in Shreveport, Louisiana before moving back to Northwest Arkansas. Having fond memories of his childhood, Calvin grew up hunting, camping, fishing, and trips to his Grandfather’s cabin on the lake. He and his family enjoyed bonfires and cookouts and he would spend time exploring the woods and playing in the water with his cousins.
Calvin has been married for a year to his wife Catherine. He has two children, Ella who is eleven and Ben, nine. He is a huge music fan and he and Catherine love to attend as many concerts and music festivals as they can. He also enjoys spending time with friends and cooking out on the grill.
Something you may not know about Calvin is that he is exceptionally good at trivia and tends to retain a lot of useless information! He also spends a considerable amount of time doing online gaming with friends.
What Calvin loves most about working at Airways is the challenge each day brings. He enjoys working with the friendly and knowledgeable staff and has a great camaraderie with his co-workers. He has the ability to think on his feet and is meticulous in his compliance efforts. We at Airways thank him for his endeavors.
One of our newest employees, Makayla Schultz, started working in the Accounts Receivable Department at Airways in June of this year. With close personal ties to a couple of employees, Makayla heard about the positive work environment that encompassed Airways Freight, and she immediately applied.
Makayla noted that she is very thankful for the opportunity to learn as much as she can and develop long-term workplace skills. She could not ask for a better first experience in the corporate world while narrowing down her career path.
She enjoys working alongside her co-workers and is thrilled with the benefits package that is offered as well as all the daily perks. It’s the little things that make her feel lucky to work at Airways.
After graduating from John Brown University in 2015 as an English major, as well as a Family & Human Services minor, she began working as a dental office assistant in Siloam Springs, while at the same time freelance writing articles for “The Who’s Who in Building and Construction” magazine.
Born in Chandler, Arizona and raised in Tyler, Texas, Makayla was the oldest of three children. When she was not exploring the woods with her siblings, she could be found curling up with a book. After their move to Texas, her parents joined a missionary called Mercy Ships, an organization that helps supply people in developing nations free medical procedures onboard sailing hospital ships. Her father was in charge of ordering all of the supplies for the ships involved. The experience she had during that time molded her into the person she is today.
When Makayla is not working, she enjoys spending time with her Boyfriend of three years, Will. She likes to spend time with close friends, hiking, cooking, and having game nights. Makayla is also interested in nutrition and yoga. One of her favorite hobbies is running and this past June, she completed a very intense race called The Hobbs 10k Trail Race.
While in college, Makayla took two American Sign Language classes and eventually would like to take additional classes and become involved in Northwest Arkansas’ deaf community.
Something she would love to do more of in the future, is travel. Makayla recently traveled with her circle of friends to Kenya for a wedding. To this day, it was the most amazing experience of her life. She and her friends went on a safari, visited a baby elephant orphanage, and got to hike Mt. Longonot, a dormant volcano. It was her first trip outside of the United States and confirmed her desire to travel.
Labeled as one of the “nicest” guys at Airways Freight, David Sarratt began his career in our Domestic Operations department in June of 2006. Having heard about Airways while working at Taylor Displays as a freight manager, David used to take care of Airways Freight’s large custom trade show booth used for exhibiting. After being referred by another Airways employee, David applied for a position and has been moving freight ever since. One of the things he likes most about working at Airways Freight, is handling shipments from start to finish. Whether it is emailing requests for quotes, entering, dispatching, and tracking freight, David thrives on the intricate details involved.
David was born in Richmond, California, and at the age of 5 he and his family moved “back home” to Arkansas where his Mother had grown up. He has lived in the Northwest Arkansas area ever since. Growing up the baby of the family, as well as being the only boy, David spent a lot of time with his Dad. They did everything together, from hunting, fishing gardening to fixing vehicles and building things. His Father taught him to play catch as well as cribbage and ping pong. During the summer, David would ride along with him on his route for a local vending machine company. He would help, and his Dad gave him as many honey buns a kid could eat as payment!
David and his wife Andrea have been married since 2010. They have four boys, Cody – 17, Noah – 5, Case – 3, and are proud to announce the birth of their fourth son Nyls on August 17th of this year, weighing in at 8 pounds and 10 ounces!
Outside of work, David, and his family like to travel over to Cassville, Missouri to spend time on Mamaw and Papaw’s farm! They also enjoy going to Silver Dollar City on occasion. David also likes to play Baggo and is extremely competitive.
Something you may not know about David is that he used to sing solos with his church choir. David’s most notable accomplishment to this point is going back to school and receiving his BSBIS degree!
He is quiet, productive, supportive, and hardworking. He is beneficial to Domestic Operations, and we are happy to have him on our team.
Airways would like to offer our Congratulations to David and Andrea on the birth of their son Nyls!