For many Americans, Thanksgiving will not be like a Norman Rockwell painting this year.
There will be a lot of empty seats at tables across the country. Some of those seats will always be empty as the pandemic has tragically robbed us of over 250,000 lives so far.
Some will be filled again in a year or two. This pandemic won’t last forever if we can just stay healthy and live to see it through.
There was another pandemic a hundred years ago that had people wearing masks, cancelling events and avoiding others. Those folks probably thought it would last forever but it didn’t.
As we are all complaining about the inconvenience and the lost traditions and the missed opportunities to see family, it’s perhaps helpful to remember three things:
1. There are ways to connect via phone and internet that people didn’t have a century ago.
2. There are people who are alone on every holiday and who know the loneliness of isolation around the holidays all too well.
3. This too shall pass. When it does, perhaps those who are experiencing loneliness this year will think to include others who are always alone when it’s safe to do so.
Personally, I’ve never been a big fan of the way we celebrate Thanksgiving as it’s mostly about gorging on food, watching football and taking naps. At least that’s how it seems and I don’t especially enjoy any of those things. If I had my way, I’d pack a sandwich and spend the day in nature where I feel most alive.
Of course, after we eat, on the very day we gather to express our thanks many run out to see how much cheap stuff they can buy.
A lot of retailers will be closed this Thanksgiving, opting to open early Friday morning for their Black Friday sales. Although I heard on the radio that Rural King is open early on Thanksgiving with ten percent off animal food and other random stuff.
But I digress.
My day will include lunch with my parents and an aunt. I’m back in the work-from-home club and trying hard to avoid crowded places and to limit my exposure to other people. They’re retired and home and doing the same. Maybe we’ll watch a movie or play a board game and just be thankful that we’re together, well fed and alive.
So maybe it’s not a Norman Rockwell holiday but we have to live in the world we wake up in. Let’s try to make it as safe as possible so we’re all around for happier days when we can all set aside our masks and sit down together without worry.