CHICAGO >> As Americans prepared to gather Thursday for Thanksgiving turkey, football and togetherness, many planned to avoid talk of the rancorous election between Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Sitting on their suitcases at a departure lounge at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Sharyn Ioffe and her brother Saul Ioffe said there’s a good chance politics will intervene this Thanksgiving when they arrive home in New York.
“I’m pretty anxious about it,” said Sharyn Ioffe, 27, who supported Clinton, while others in her family sided with Trump. “I’m still very emotional about the election. I know you have to try and understand the other side. But I’m not there yet.”
She said her strategy would be simple: change the subject.
“I won’t bring it up. But if someone else does, I’ll say I don’t want to discuss it,” she said.
Americans took to the roads, air and railways Wednesday for what is expected to be the busiest Thanksgiving travel period in almost a decade. Almost 49 million people are expected to travel 50 miles or more between Wednesday and Sunday, the most since 2007, because of lower gas prices and an improving economy, according to AAA.
The weather appeared to be cooperating for the most part, with no significant issues in the majority of the country, the National Weather Service said.
The National Weather Service issued winter weather advisories for parts of northern Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan as well as western and central Montana and central Idaho, New York and Pennsylvania for Wednesday night. A winter storm warning was in effect for parts of northwest Washington state, with heavy snow expected through Thanksgiving Day.
Lines of cars, taxi cabs and buses dropping travelers off and picking others up at O’Hare terminals grew longer by early evening. Crowds grew steadily inside, too, as travelers pulled suitcases into departure terminals decked out with giants wreathes. A light, cold rain fell outside, but most flights as of evening were listed on big boards as “on time.”
Elizabeth Thompson said she couldn’t wait to leave the big city behind and decompress over the Thanksgiving holiday at her grandmother’s house in rural south-central Indiana. But first she had to get there.
On Wednesday, Thompson, 23, missed her Amtrak train from Chicago to Galesburg, Illinois, where she’d planned to catch a ride with a family member the rest of the way to Edinburgh, Indiana.
“It’s just where we go to unplug and escape,” said Thompson, who was deciding whether to wait several hours for the next train or hop on a bus and get going.
And a big part of the plan is banning election talk.
“My mother specifically said, ‘We’re not going to talk about it,’” for her grandmother’s sake, Thompson said. Although nobody in her family supported President-elect Trump, “my grandmother is sick of hearing about it.”