By TODD GOTTULA
KEARNEY – It’s safe to say Katherine Moen’s dad isn’t a big fan of the classic board game Clue.
When Katherine was about 10, her mom, Sandy, started a new tradition of playing games as a family.
So, Moen and her four brothers joined their parents for Clue, “which as you know isn’t the most fast-paced game in the world,” said the UNK assistant professor of psychology.
After just one round, Moen’s dad, Kent, was ready for something else.
“Dad said, ‘How about we all just guess and get this over with,’” laughed Moen. “Then he pulled out a deck of cards and taught all of us how to play poker using pennies to bet with.”
Each Thanksgiving after, the Bowers family gathered at their home in Pierre, South Dakota, where the poker games evolved. “One year grandpa taught us how to play Texas Hold ‘em, using matches to bet with,” said Moen.
We asked Moen what she’s most thankful for this Thanksgiving. From Stove Top stuffing and country music to her favorite place on the UNK campus, here are some of the things she is most thankful for:
Thanksgiving tradition – In recent years, when I was in grad school, we got together with friends. Last year we went up to my dad’s farm in South Dakota. But this year is going to be different. I’m going to just stay home with my husband and daughter. We’ll watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and then go buy a real Christmas tree and put it up. That’s something we always do over Thanksgiving.
Food – I’m so thankful for stuffing, but it has to be Stove Top stuffing. I’ve never had a homemade stuffing that I’ve liked. It must be that subtle cardboard flavor that makes it for me. I just love it. My second favorite is cranberry sauce. Now, that has to be homemade. I don’t want that gelatinous cylinder that comes out of a can.
Music – I’m most thankful for country music. I grew up working on the family farm, and the tractor I drove had exactly one radio station, and it was country. Now that I’ve moved away from home, country music makes me really sentimental. It reminds me of family and life back on the family farm. Keith Urban is probably my favorite, specifically his stuff from the mid- to late 2000s.
Television show – I’ve been watching “Grey’s Anatomy” the longest. I don’t even really like it anymore, but I’ve dedicated like 17 years of my life to it and can’t seem to stop watching. I’m 100% to the point where I so want it to end, but I’m so invested I can’t stop.
Person – My 3-year-old daughter, Clara. She has had her whole world turned upside down with COVID, and she consistently is the happiest kid and so friendly to people. She is a really good example of staying positive and finding little things to appreciate when the whole world is a mess.
Place on campus – Our family loves the new Cope Fountain. As soon as it opened last spring, we started taking Clara there. She treated it like her own splash pad and would run through it like a giant sprinkler. We went there several times this summer. She’s still grasping the concept that it’s not on right now and we can’t go to the sprinkler. Anytime I’m on campus and see it, I just smile and think of her.
Piece of advice – My go-to advice, especially this year, is give yourself and the people around you some grace. Students and faculty are tired, everybody is stressed out, and I think people don’t give themselves enough credit for how much is going on. It’s important to take care of ourselves and realize there is a pandemic going on. It’s normal to feel stress. With everything happening in the world, we all deserve to give each other some grace and practice self-care.
UNK colleague – I’m so appreciative of Krista Forrest, my department chair. She is phenomenal about checking in, asking how I’m doing and if I need help with anything. She is just so accommodating and wonderful. She’s the first person I turn to for advice when I have any challenges. She is just an awesome colleague.
Favorite way to give back and help others – This time of year I try to send individual emails to all of my students. Just check in, ask them how things are going, remind them of any missing assignments and let them know I’m here to help. Especially in bigger classes, some students think they can disappear and nobody will notice. I think it fits with Thanksgiving in that it shows students I care about them as people, not just as another name in the grade book. I’m also trying to reach out and text colleagues and connect with other people I maybe haven’t talked to in a while or lost contact with.