Thanksgiving in the Year of COVID-19

     Traditionally we split holidays with the Alaska grandparents. We do Thanksgiving, so this week would ordinarily bring feverish grocery shopping, planning and cooking for meals beyond turkey day, bed making, toy arranging, and ferry schedule coordinating. I love arrivals – that blissful moment of sighting one family or the other in the festive crowd disembarking the ferry – I’ll miss that.

     And the little moments, when easy companionship happens amid holiday bustle, will be absent this year – making pies or reading books with children, a chance for an extra walk at evening with a willing son, laughing with Sweet B’s parents while wrestling the bird and trimmings, Mr. Carson arriving with a platter of colorful roasted vegetables, and last year, a poolside chat with Mrs. Hughes while kids squealed in the water. This distanced holiday provides no opportunity to plop down and annoy a visiting grownup child sitting quietly by the fire with his book. And the isolation of 2020 presents a real void when the video call ends, and the rest of the weekend looms.

     But I think we can make that call and meal together celebratory – if not like the old days. As my old friend, who lives here and is a psychologist, would say I’ve been “somewhat directive” (seems a polite and professional term for bossy) – asking that the Zoom meeting be set up, suggesting maybe we could do vegan meals, sending boxes north and south to the grandchildren that contained possible table decorations (shopping in my linen drawers and realizing the chances were slim of 16 people at a big table again), candles (can you have a candlelit meal on Zoom?), and paperwhite bulbs for December.

I loved the N.Y. Times’s Style Editor, Vanessa Friedman’s, recent Open Thread Newsletter. She intends to dress up for the electronic event, and writes: “When the news around us gets worse and worse, dressing is a way to use the external to find a note of grace for the internal. That’s worth a bit of celebration.”

 The “thankfuls” of the children around the table are always the best, and I’m curious to see what they make of this year. Sweet Brother won’t speak out, but his birth at top of mind. The young parents always warm my heart with their love for each other and their children. I’m hoping for a better performance than in the past, when I have mostly grown tearful and inarticulate. When the video goes dark, I’ll be glad the families are cozy together in their foursomes. And from this reimagined Thanksgiving, we get safety and the hope that next year we will be together again. Not small things.

     And there is still much to be grateful for – health, those connection-saving video platforms(!), vaccines coming, state officials standing up to the president’s despicable attack on democracy, and a new administration!

And I add a heartfelt thank you dear readers. I have much gratitude for all of you – your comments and caring keep me going. I wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving in this temporary incarnation!

6 thoughts on “Thanksgiving in the Year of COVID-19

  1. For the past 5 or 6 years we have not seen our daughter and her family on Thanksgiving because they spent the holiday with our son-in-law’s family. But this year they won’t travel, and because we’re in a strict bubble with them, we will be able to celebrate together. We will surely be missing all the people who can’t join us, but I’ll be grateful for the chaos and warmth of family. I love your turkey, by the way, and I am reminded with pleasure of all the turkeys we used to make with our paper and crayons in the old days of elementary school crafts. I probably still have one somewhere! xoxo

    • Well there you go – a happy rearrangement for your family! And that turkey really belongs to a Thanksgiving napkin – part of the divided stash – changed times! You could dig out one of those turkeys for your table!

  2. You paint lovely word pictures, as well as watercolors. I hope the Zoom event went well. We, who usually host anywhere from 8 to 16 or so on Thanksgiving had a quiet but delicious celebration for five on Saturday. Not the same but still An Event.

    • An Event- that’s a good way to put it – Zoom was not the same but An Event also. I continue to be envious of those of you with grandchildren in a shared bubble. Sweet B said recently (on video) -“ you look so close but I can’t touch you!”
      Thank you Vicki for your kind words about words and pictures!

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