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This Thanksgiving Day will be precisely the way we always celebrate, and paradoxically unique in the annals of the Quinn Family.
Our plans began several weeks ago when we realized that the large group of people we ordinarily invite for the Thanksgiving meal were mostly holed up in their homes. (We live in a 55+ community.) They venture out occasionally, but have been socializing mainly in small groups. So, anticipating their reluctance to come over today, I was “uninviting” them; I realize some might still have wanted to come, but most would have been uncomfortable with the presence of so many people. (We were uneasy about it ourselves.)
Yet I also wanted to cook the usual and complete Thanksgiving dinner. Jerry and I enjoy cooking together and make several dishes in advance. I made an awesome cranberry sauce (and wouldn’t think of serving the yucky cranberry sauce from a can that John Yoo likes so much). I also loved making my mom’s stuffing with matzah; I poignantly remember how she and I would cook together with lots of laughter thrown in. Jerry was in charge of the mashed potatoes, free of lumps, and the gravy and pumpkin pie. Today I will also be making green beans, sans mushroom soup. We shuffled back and forth in the kitchen, jumping in to wash a spoon or stir a pot for each other as needed.
Meanwhile, we decided to limit our guest list to my husband’s brother and his wife.
But it was not to be. His brother, who suffers periodic sinus infections (and no one is allowed in our house when they are ill due to my husband’s chronic lung problems), called Tuesday night to say he was “fighting something.” I suspect he was struggling more with his fear of exposure to any lurking Covid germs in our house, but of course, we were understanding and wished him well.
Since our next-door neighbors had canceled their plans with a relative who decided to have a houseful of people, we invited them over Wednesday, and they were happy to accept. They are fun and sunny folks, so we expect we will have a lovely meal together.
Oh, did I mention our friends who will be dropping by? When we uninvited everyone, we invited people to stop by for a “take-out” meal just before we’d be sitting down. My dear friend and her husband took us up on our offer and will be coming by with old take-out boxes that she likes to save, packing up their portions and taking them home. Although it feels very odd, I know they wouldn’t have wanted to stay. Her husband has had bouts of two virulent cancers and his body is still recovering—too much risk to go much of anywhere. So we will load them up with food, share virtual hugs, and send them on their way.
* * * * *
It would be easy for me to grouse about my frustration of having to bow to the COVID gods and compromise this Thanksgiving Day, but I refuse to give in. My husband and I have shared the joy of putting the meal together; we have allowed his brother to make his own choices about this special day; we have given the gift of our cooking to a dear friend and her husband. And we have opened our table to neighbors/friends who would otherwise have been alone on this special day.
We all have much to be thankful for. We are healthy. We are alive.
And we will be together, in heart and soul.Published in